Monthly Archives: April 2012

NHL Playoff Picks – Round Two!

And as we round the corner into Round Two of the NHL playoffs, it’s Kingkielbasa in the lead! So, without further ado, or embarrassment, here we go!

The Results so far (Number of games in the series not included):

First Round Results:
Kingkielbasa53 –     6 right
PB          –     5 right
Beer         –     3 right
Tom Tantrums –     3 right

Eastern Conference

New York (1) vs Washington (7)
Kingkielbasa53 – Well, I have to admit the Eastern Conference is very interesting this year.  Three of the four first round matchups went to seven games.  Ottawa was a tougher matchup for New York then they expected and Washington upset the reigning Stanley Cup champs.  Second round wipes all that clean and I see a Rangers team coming out strong. I think they’ll take a pounding by the biggest team left, but will win this series.  Rangers by 6

Beer – Well – Washington offed Boston, which I didn’t think would happen. New York beat Ottawa (barely) which I did think would happen. Except I thought the number one seed would have had an easier time. Now they get the number seven seed. Just like my co-blogger, I’m thinking that the 1st round is now history and things start fresh. I’m still not sold the Capitals can play well enough consistently to win here. Rangers in 5

PB – Color me shocked! The King is in the lead? How the hell did that happen? Anyway I can admit when I was wrong and Washington v. Boston was a bad call. Hey Boston the “Burned out after winning the cup” excuse is lame!! You got beat deal with it! Washington wanted it more than you Boston!! Anyway this could be a stinker of a series or a great 7 gamer with two or three overtimes. I see my pals are on the Ranger train (not the crazy train with Ozzy). I would normally disagree with them but I cannot. I see the Capitals winning three overtime games in the series and the Rangers wins are blowouts. Rangers in 7

Philadelphia (5) vs New Jersey (6)
Kingkielbasa53 –  Paul Holmgren raised a lot of eyebrows with some of his moves, but man do they seem to be paying off for him.  New Jersey was one shot away from losing in double overtime to Florida. (Sidenote:  I was really rooting to see a Gary Bettman Cup this year too.  FLA vs. PHX)  This one I believe is easy….Philadelphia in 5

Beer – Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia accounted for more goals than the rest of the playoffs combined, I think. Can Philly keep up the torrid pace? I don’t think they can, but I think they can still be good enough to win a hard fought series. Philadelphia in 7

PB – How does Brodeur do it? Well let me rephrase that how do the Devils do it? I actually like this series and I see a hard, physical battle. The Flyers had all the motivation to spank Cindy Crosby well just because he is Cindy. The Devils are well the Devils. I like Elias and Parise to care the load just like Giroux and Jagr for Philly. But I think this will come down to the goalies and lets see if Marty has one more round of magic in him. I do have the depth edge to Philly but I am going to throw caution to the win and say Devils in 6.

Western Conference

St. Louis (2) vs Los Angeles (8)
Kingkielbasa53 – I like this match up.  This might be the best one to watch this round.  I’m not sure if LA beating Vancouver was that surprising as the President’s Cup curse seems to be in full effect.  St. Louis scares me more than LA does at this point though.  St. Louis in 7

Beer – Los Angeles might be the biggest question mark left in the playoffs. Are they really that good? Hot team in the right place at the right time? More importantly, can it be sustained for another round to make one of those magical cinderella runs? No, it can’t. But they’re sure going to give it a good try.  St. Louis in 7

PB – Well this set the table for a defensive series. The West now has four teams that have not won a Stanley Cup in this round. L.A. has a good solid defensive play and one hot goalie. St. Louis is rolling with plenty of grit and determination and two really good goalies. As much as I like Jonathan Quick I just can pick with him this time. This will be the best series in this round. St. Louis in 7

Phoenix (3) vs Nashville (4)
Kingkielbasa53 – The Jets have broken the curse! Errr, wait..never mind.  Phoenix is in the second round…yeah baby!  Unfortunately, I think this is Barry Trotz may finally get the break this year.  The big question will be if they can continue the role with Pekka as they’ve been off for a while and hot goalies can cool off.  I wouldn’t be surprised in Phoenix wins, but I’m going Nashville in 7

Beer – As I said in Five Thoughts earlier today…. “I was suitably impressed by the Preds, and watched none of the Coyotes/Blackhawks, so I’m going with the Predators in six.” So, there it is. Nashville in 6.

PB –  Can the desert handle the fact that they are still playing hockey now? Can the arena handle the warming temps to keep the ice from melting? I guess we will see. I see this as a swan song for the Yotes as they are going to move to China or Peru or somewhere in the next year. The Preds are a scary team and man the goalie is damn good (helps being 6’5”). No surprise in this series for me and man this hurts to say this especially since I picked them to beat the Wings. Nashville in 5.

And there you have it folks. Our picks for the second round. Remember to check out Tom’s picks over on his blog to see how he did, too. If he wins, maybe we’ll buy him a cheeseburger or something.  See you on the other side!

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Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Post Draft” Edition

Howdy folks! And welcome to another coffee fueled edition of Five Thoughts on a Friday. It’s nine o’clock, is six cups of coffee too many to have had already? Anyhow if I start forgetting to put spaces in between words it’s probably because that’s rate stuff is running through my head right now. That being said… let’s see what’s rattling around in Beer’s noggin this morning!

  1. Watching some of the NFL draft last night, my strange mind once again wandered to the types of things only I wonder about. The first round of the NFL draft is great live action theater. The player gets a call from the coach/GM of the team drafting them as the pick is announced on the stage. Out comes the player, on the way out they are given a team hat. They walk out, hug the commissioner, and are given a jersey with their name on the back. Now, that’s all fine and good for the 1st round picks, but how do they keep up later in the draft? Do they have an army of people with sewing machines getting jerseys ready and then sewing them up as the pick is turned in? And why do I wonder about things like this?
  2. Rocker Ted Nugent recently had to have a little sit down with the Secret Service (an organization that has apparently had a few issues of their own lately). Now, I don’t care if you’re off to the right, off to the left, or off the deep end. If you say what he said, you’re going to get a visit. And rightfully so. That being said, Vice President Biden’s plane was recently the victim of a bird strike. Which makes me wonder who the Secret Service is going to talk to about that. If I were Big Bird, I might be a little nervous right now.
  3. Aside from the draft, two NHL game sevens last night. Both ended up being one goal games, with one going into double overtime! Great sports night to be watching more than one television, it was. Second round picks later today, probably. Mine were suitably awful in the first round. Only one game scheduled for tonight. Coyotes vs Predators. I was suitably impressed by the Preds, and watched none of the Coyotes/Blackhawks, so I’m going with the Predators in six.
  4. The new 2013 Shelby 500 details are out, and all I can say is… 662 horsepower??? Are you freaking kidding me? I love it, but this has kicked off a right brain/left brain debate in my head. At what point do we cross the line? I mean, think of the average driver (who thankfully will likely never be behind the wheel of one of these monsters) and their (lack of) driving skills. They’d hopefully only do harm to themselves and (unfortunately) the car in the 30 or fewer seconds it would take them to lose control and wreck.
  5. Giant cannibal shrimp!!! Everybody Panic!! Oh, wait. They’re giant by shrimp standards, but not sea monster sized. Still, it’s a serious invasive species problem. However, I can see a solution here.  They are apparently tasty. If there’s one thing humans have proven over the years is that we are more than capable and willing to eat a species to the brink of extinction. And a tasty shrimp that can reach the size of a lobster? Get me a grill, some garlic butter, and I’ll off about 4 of them for dinner.

Okay folks, that’s a quick five and I’m off! Since we touched on the draft again, and since most fans always think that their team is going to get better with the arrival of newly drafted players (because who wants to think “That guys going to make us much, much worse!).. Hope springs eternal. So in honor of all the hopes now riding on the shoulders of those new draft picks we’ll go with Mr. Blue Sky.

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer

Draft Day!

Really, does any other league do the draft the way the NFL can? My esteemed co-blogger often opines that the NHL trade deadline is a Canadian Holiday. If it is, then the NFL draft is a 4 day weekend holiday.

Now, I know the NBA has done prime time drafts for a while as well – but no one comes close to the scope of the show the NFL puts on. The NHL draft? Forget it. Major league baseball? Too much like hockey. They’re both exciting for hard core fans and draftniks, but you’re mostly dealing with young kids you’ve never heard of unless you really need to get out more often. Add to that the bust rate on those young kids (generally somewhere around 18 years of age). You may hear a name (or read it) and then never see them on your team.Then… there’s the NFL.

Let’s start with one obvious advantage. College Football is huge in the United States. So especially with the high profile players, there is a level of familiarity already. Take this years top pick, Andrew Luck. He’s been a top college quarterback now for what, 2 or 3 years? Been on ESPN, in Sports Illustrated, etc., you get the picture. Then there’s the roster. If everyone from a full draft (7 picks or so), made a team (A highly unlikely scenario) you could possibly replace a good chunk of a team’s 53 man roster. So it’s possible for a team to get better (or worse!) in a hurry. Plus, with all of the coverage, it’s turned into a social event with people holding draft parties for crying out loud!

After all, you have two networks (ESPN and the NFL Network) providing live coverage plus live draft trackers online, radio coverage, not to mention people commenting on the draft on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

So this evening, plop yourself down on the couch, grab the beverage of your choice, order a pizza if you want and settle in for true saturation coverage. And know that your favorite team will get its 15 minutes of fame in the first round. Unless they trade the pick.

Have fun everyone!
-Beer

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Earth Day” Edition

Howdy folks, and welcome to Earth Day Friday. Yep, that’s right. We took the easy way out for naming today’s post. What can I say, we’re being lazy. Still, lazy or not, we have a post to get to. Before we see what it ends up looking like, I need to get one thing out of the way for our buddy PB.

So, let’s see what we have today, shall we?

  1. As I mentioned in the title and the intro, today is Earth Day. Which makes me wonder. What exactly are you supposed to get someone for earth day? Is a bag of top soil appropriate? Or should it be potting soil? Play sand? Clay? Mulch? Why do these types of decisions need to be so stressful, anyways?
  2. As the NHL postseason wears on, my playoff picks are looking as horrible as they always do. And frankly, I can’t say I’m surprised. As strange as it is to say, my interest in a sport I grew up in and around is waning. And watching the three ring circus that this year’s NHL playoffs have become and reading the running commentary on the joke that league discipline has become.. My attention is just being drawn to other things.
  3. Dick Clark passed away this week. And I have to agree with my co-blogger who said it was a big loss. It was, with the passing on Dick Clark another small chunk of Americana has passed on. After all, who grew up in the US and hasn’t watched Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve? (Not to mention the other shows he was on throughout the years). Like this one.
  4. Following up on a Starbucks issue we touched on a few weeks back, it appears Starbucks is going “Bug Free” in their products. Instead switching to a tomato based extract for red coloring. I have to wonder though. Is there a reason their Strawberries and Cream Frappucino can’t use something like STRAWBERRIES for color?
  5. So apparently, when no one was looking the European debt situation got resolved. How do I know this? Because apparently the biggest news out of Europe today is two countries fighting over the same sausage. I’m not kidding folks. This is the Wurst type of fight!
    Slovenia and Austria at odds over sausage.
    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitstaff.

Okay, that’s five folks and I’m ready to cash in the chips! (What’s that? Oh right, that was two weeks ago when the King was filling in. Yes, yes. We did cash them in. Did pretty well, to. What’s that? We’re still typing? Uh-oh…) Uh yeah, sorry folks, got a little distracted there. So as I was saying, that’s five and I’m off to focus on a few other activities. Including deciding on dinner plans to help celebrate yours truly reaching a not so significant milestone (Unless you’re one of the many who thought I’d never make it nearly this long), working out a few last details for an upcoming boondoggle, planning out a brew session or two. Mmmm… beer.As for a clue to the boondoggle? Here you go.

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer

 

Complete useless internet item of this week…

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “No Addition” Edition

Howdy folks! I’m back, after a brief little boondoggle last weekend. And As I looked in from the road, I notice my co-blogger had taken a few shots at me last week. So I was faced with a choice. Be the bigger person and ignore it, or respond to his “addition” of Five Thoughts last week with a few shots of my own this week. I think the title of this weeks post tells you what I decided on. Let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Wow, we really seemed to time the NHL playoff picks post we did this week correctly or something. It generated a lot more traffic than we expected. Why on earth someone searching for “Expert NHL playoff picks 2012” was ever directed to our humble little bastion of silliness is beyond me, though. Still, it had me thinking for a few days. We could do “All Playoff Picks, All the time! Any Sport! Any level!” I can see it now… “Coming up next on The Beerbarrel, St. Andrew’s 4th grade girls soccer tournament picks!  Or maybe not.
  2. Speaking of the NHL playoffs though (Yes, this week’s post is going to be a bit NHL-centric), if there’s one thing I can not stand – it’s the idiots that come out this time of year with some of their “Logic” or “Playoff Truths” or whatever else they call that garbage. One of my favorites that’s made the rounds already this year? “Team X can’t win it all because their goalie has never really won anything in the playoffs” (With “anything” meaning “Won a Stanley Cup”). Here’s a quick story – Once upon a time there was a goalie who “hadn’t won anything” in the playoffs. In fact, he hadn’t even played with the team most of the regular season. Then he became the starting goalie for the playoffs. And the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that year. Patrick Roy? No, although he did pretty much the same thing years later. This goalie’s name? Ken Dryden. If you’re too young or too ignorant to know his place in hockey history, look him up. A good place to start? The hockey hall of fame. So, stop with the nonsense already people! Once upon a time, EVERY goalie who has now “Won it all” hadn’t “Won anything in the playoffs”, until they did.
  3. Now, speaking of hockey, and the NHL playoffs, and the NHL in general…. I do not want to hear another word from the NHL on the subject of “Hits to the head” or “Player Safety”. I’m sorry, you’ve given up that high ground. A defenseman bounces another players head off the boars and glass twice, cracking the player’s helmet in two places in a move resoundingly called “Uncalled for” and “Deliberate” and you give him a tiny little fine (This is a guy in line for an $8M contract and you fine him $25K?? That’s like fining me a nickel!) because you found out the guy who got his head bounced off the boards was okay? No harm, no foul huh? So the next time someone tomahawks their stick over another player’s head? If the player isn’t hurt, it isn’t a penalty? Listen, I’m okay with it just being a fine. I’m okay with you letting a lot of stuff go in the playoffs in keeping with the “It’s the playoffs” reasoning. But, and here’s the thing before I get off my soapbox.. Having done that, please stop all the lip service BS about curbing blows to the head, and player safety and all that crap. A blow to the head, is a blow to the head. It’s bad news and it should be dealt with accordingly. Not based on whether or not someone got seriously injured. You know why? Because the next time it happens and you call to see how the player is? You’re going to be lied to. You’re going to be told he can’t talk right now because he still doesn’t know where he is. And then you’ll base your decision on that, suspend somebody, and your policy will have compromised the competitive spirit of the game. The end.
  4. Boy, I got off on a little rant there, didn’t I? Let’s change gears and move onto something different. One hundred years ago this coming April 15th, the RMS Titanic sank. It was a tiny little boat you may have heard of at some point. To commemorate it, there is a “Titanic Memorial Cruise” following the same route, with the same number of passengers, same menus, etc. Is it just me, or does this seem to land squarely in the “This could end very badly” department? Especially when the cruise had to TURN BACK AROUND due to a medical emergency. Folks, that there may have been what we here at the Beerbarrel like to call… A HINT. Best of luck to you out there.
  5. Lastly, I hope everyone here in the States is ready. Because speaking of April 15th… well, you get a little bit of a break again this year due to the 15th being a Sunday and the 16th being a holiday in Washington DC, but April 17th? You’d better be ready. It’s Tax Day! Blech.

Okay folks, that’s five and I really have behaved myself and not taken too many shots at people. As long as you ignore the first 4 or so items in today’s five thoughts. So, I hope everyone has a great weekend and we’ll see you all again here soon. And remember… Watch out for the Tax Man!

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer

NHL Playoff Picks – 2012

It’s that time folks! We still haven’t learned our lesson (or really recovered from the beating we took picking last year), but we’re back for a third crack at playoff picks! Why do we do it? Well, it’s just that time of year, where things just seem right in the world.  Chips taste better, beer is colder and more tasty and the couch is just so comfy.  NHL Playoff time!!  This year, Beer and The King have decided to do something a little different.  We’ve decided to put our picks up against others.  We’ve challenged a reader and one of our favorite other bloggers to make their picks each round. Our buddy Tom over at Tom Tantrums has his picks up, and our good friend and regular reader PB is joining us here on the Beerbarrel to give his picks as well. When it’s all said and done, we’ll tally up who was right and who was wrong. (Or as the case usually goes, who was the most wrong…)

As the famous Ray Lane use to say.  “Let’s get it up!”
(Beer: For those of you who don’t know… Ray Lane was a Detroit TV sportscaster. And no, I don’t remember him saying that either)

Eastern Conference

New York (1) vs Ottawa (8)
 Kingkielbasa53 – I think this is one of the more boring matchups.  The Rangers do look like a good team, even though Ottawa has gone 3-1 against the Rangers this year.  Plus anyone that has the guts to call out the Pittsburgh team gets my vote.  New York in 6

PB – I have one word to say about this matchup “Lundqvist”. How far the Rangers will go this year is strictly on the back of their goaltender. The Sens have had success this year against the Rangers but the tight checking style that Tortorella has instilled is perfect for the playoffs. New York in 6.

Beer – I could get into a long, involved post about the matchup here, but it really comes down one simple question. Is Bryan Murray still running the Senators? Yes? Okay, New York in 5 then.

Boston (2) vs Washington (7)
Kingkielbasa53 – Wait, is my mancrush still playing?  Man, what a bad year for him.  I don’t see Washington doing anything in this round or any future rounds in the 2012 playoffs.  Boston in 5

PB – Let’s see if the whirling dervish silver tongue devil Tim Thomas has the magic again. Caps have this guy that I think you may have heard of that can score nicknamed Ovie. Even he can’t play and score on every shift to keep them in this series. Chara (Boston)  in 5

Beer – Nice to see the King work in his annual Cam Neely reference. I’m not going to waste time mincing words here though. The Caps, while they have the potential to be very good, have been miserable this season. I see no reason for that to change now. Boston in 6 

Florida (3) vs New Jersey (6)
Kingkielbasa53 – Wait, Florida is still in the league?  Aren’t they moving to Hamilton or something…Just Kidding.  I heard someone referred to them as the worst team to make the playoffs.  I don’t agree with that, but I don’t see them winning.  New Jersey in 6.

PB – Florida in the playoffs? This one should be interesting that’s for sure. Florida is a good team but they are definitely a little over their heads in this matchup. I could see a sweep but  I don’t think that will happen. Broduer/Parise/Elias (That would be New Jersey) in 5.

Beer – Ah, Commissioner Bettman’s  quirky seeding. Thanks to conference seeding across three divisions, you have a team that by point total (92) winning its division and hosting a series against a team that got seeded 6th and racked up 10 more points (102). Still, you want to host a series? You win your division. And Florida did. Given the home ice advantage for Florida, and Marty Brodeur reaching the late stages of a brilliant career for the Devils – I actually see this one as a close one. New Jersey in 7

Pittsburgh (4) vs Philadelphia (5) 
Kingkielbasa53 –  Ahhh, this is the series to watch.  This is what playoff hockey is all about.  Two teams, two coaches, two fanbases that HATE each other.  I’m grabbing some drinks and chips and I’m sitting down to watch this series.  Oh, I guess I better make my pick.  Philadelphia in 7!

PB – This will be like old time hockey for sure. Hard hitting, awesome displays of skill, and maybe a fight between the athletic trainers for good measure. This may get so heated that Mario and Bobby Clarke will strap on the skates and take a whirl around the ice. Just hope that certain players melons will hold up through the entire series. Coin toss says Pittsburgh in 7.

Beer – The battle of the Keystone State! Sure, It’s no Steelers/Eagles, but then again the Flyers would probably have a better shot at beating the Steelers than the Eagles do right now. So who’s it gonna be? How healthy are the Pens, really? How rough and tumble will this series actually be? Pittsburgh seems healthy, they can score, and play good “D”. Pittsburgh in 5.

Western Conference

Vancouver (1) vs Los Angeles (8)
Kingkielbasa53 – As much as I’d like to see Vancouver lose and start the rioting now, I don’t see that happening.  LA has Quick and we know that a hot goalie can win games in the playoffs, but I don’t see that happening here.  Vancouver in 5

PB – Read this week how great an accomplishment for the Canucks to win back to back presidents trophies. Woopty Doo! How many cups does that bring? This boils down to the Kings play really well against the Canucks. After a long playoff run last year and a much hungrier Kings I could see upset but not this time. Vancouver in 6

Beer – If the Canucks lose in the 1st round, would there be riots? I don’t know. I do know the Canucks have won the President’s Trophy again. And I also know that in the past decade, only one team has won the Stanley Cup after winning the President’s Trophy. Vancouver in 7, but I think it’ll take a lot of the steam out of them to do it.  

St. Louis (2) vs San Jose (7)
Kingkielbasa53 – This is one of my favorite match ups this year.  I think that Hitchcock has had his team playing playoff style of hockey all year so far.  The question will be if they can play playoff hockey against another team playing playoff hockey.  I think so.  St. Louis in 7.  Bonus prediction: Roenick will call out Marleau in 4.

PB – “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t touch the puck in play from the bench” – Ryan Clowe. Like Kelly Hrudey said this week on Hockey Night in Canada radio classless moves usually end in a bad way. The Blues are a solid team and will rely on Hitchcock to show them how to win in the playoffs. San Jose’ is more soft than ever and they are playing that way. No Jamie Baker to rescue you this time. St. Louis in 5.

Beer – Wow, PB is still hauling around a little mid nineties Red Wing grief there. You’d have thought a few Stanley Cup Wins would have soothed that over by now. And we’ve got the King giving out bonus predictions! (For the record, I don’t think  anyone can predict Jeremy Roenick comments) Now, for the pick… I lived in Dallas while coach Hitchcock was behind the bench for the Stars and I’ll say this – his teams can play playoff hockey. The question that always comes up, does he have the horses to go all the way, or will they burn out before the race is over as they’ve also done in the past? St. Louis in 7

Phoenix (3) vs Chicago (6)
Kingkielbasa53 – Hmmmm, I’m thinking outside the box on this one.  I see Mike Smith stealing the show here and Phoenix beating the favorite pick of sportswriters.  Phoenix in 7

PB – Crazy thing this NHL of ours. Teams like Chicago confound us as one week they look like no one can beat them and the next the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL could spank them. Phoenix is a solid team and Smith is the x-factor (not stealing a show idea or anything). Land of the rising sun in 6. (Beer – I’m pretty sure he meant “Valley of the sun”. Everyone knows that Phoenix will be moving eventually, but I’ve never heard of anywhere in Japan mentioned as a destination. Although I wouldn’t put it past Mr. Bettman)  
PB – Yes Beer the way Bettman works he may think that Japan would be a good TV market for the NHL. Phoenix in 6

Beer – Another case of a road team with a better record. Chicago would have won the Pacific if they played there, but they don’t so they open on the road. And sad to say, I think I’ve read more reports on the state of the Coyotes franchise this year than I have game recaps. And the Hawks? Well, they sold their souls to the salary cap devil and are now starting to feel the pinch, but they’re still the better team. Hawks in 4. (Somebody queue up Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis for the King if this happens)

Nashville (4) vs Detroit (5)
Kingkielbas53 – Okay, this is the series I didn’t want to write about.  I’m not going to be very popular with my fellow Wing fans, but I’m a little worried about this series.  The Wings always have slumps during the season, the problem is that it usually is in February.  They have only scored 3 goals in the last 3 games.  Nashville really looks like it’s going to make the push this year.  Ugh..so sorry, but Nashville in 6.

PB – I read something this week that said the Red Wings are old and finished. Well I guess that would be true if they had not made the playoffs for 21 seasons in a row! However they do not have the same look of years past and injuries are a problem. Nashville is a solid team and are built eerily similar to the Wings. The Wings are a proud bunch and will fight to the end. I just don’t think this matchup is good for the Wings and it will be a hard one to swallow. Nashville in 7.

Beer – Ah, the Detroit pick. Every year it’s usually a good bet I’ll pick against them in the early rounds, citing some overthought / under reasoned concern I’d come up with. In the meantime, everyone else usually homers up and picks them on faith. Not this year though! There is genuine concern. And let me say this – I am no fan of the move Nashville made to get Radulov in their lineup. I don’t blame Nashville, the rules are what they are – but adding him after the deadline like that (without having to put him through waivers or anything) is crap. That’s a loophole that should get closed. Still, Nashville was a mover at the trade deadline. They loaded up on some good players, mortgaged a bit of the future to win now. Gotta respect that. And they’re a well coached, hard playing team. I like them, but I like the now “as close to healthy as they’re gonna get” Red Wings to steal a barnburner. Detroit in 7.

And there you have it folks. Our picks for the first round. Remember to check out Tom’s picks over on his blog to see how he did, too. If he wins, maybe will buy him a cheeseburger or something.  See you on the other side!