i've never been one to make playoff predictions (cause i go with my heart, and i'm rarely ever right) so while most people are out writing about what team's gonna win/lose and why, here's the random stuff i've been thinking about:
1. CHL semis
if i'd written this last night, like i was going to (but two posts in one day seemed like plenty for this website), then the flames would still have had five guys in contention for the ed chynoweth (aka: WHL) cup. with flames' 2008 second round pick (48th overall), mitch wahl's spokane cheifs getting knocked out in game seven last night, the vancouver giants and flames' third round guy, lance bouma, (78th overall) will continue on to meet mikael backlund (2007 first round/ 24th overall) and the kelowna rockets. [here, i'm actually pulling for the giants, only because bouma wears tomi mäki's #57 when suiting up for the flames...]
on the other side of the bracket, the flames-owned calgary hitmen will take on 2007 fourth round selection (116th overall), defenseman keith aulie.
over in the OHL, the only flames prospect left in the running is 2008 first rounder (25th overall) greg nemisz, who plays with the windsor spitfires... a team which reminds me of back-of-the-bus hazing and the untimely passing of a young captain; and it will always makes me wonder where mickey renaud (RIP) would have ended up this year...
either way, while i don't necessarily agree with sutter giving up a first round selection (plus, plus) for a currently underwhelming and overpaid centreman, his justification wasn't wrong; the future is currently looking fairly rosy in babyflamesville...
2.big body presence v. inexperience
what's starting to get to me is that everyone talks about chicago's youngsters as a 'con', and our size as a 'pro'.... let me lay it down from my perspective: bertuzzi is big and can (theoretically) throw a huge hit. realistically, he's gonna get schooled in a footrace with toews, or lay a beautiful no-look backhand pass onto the stick of patty kane. with no regehr in the lineup, there is little that a very skilled offense will have to deal with (eriksson and vandermeer come swiftly to mind in this capacity) enroute to the net, and unless kipper magically regains 03/04 form, they're scoring 3-4 goals a night minimum. for an offensively challenged team like calgary, that's pretty much a death sentence (but hey, i'll be ECSTATIC if the return of bourque and the shuffling of lines can produce more goals-for).
to presume that this team's skills will dry up because they've never felt pressure like this seems a gross underestimation of what elite players must achieve enroute to the NHL. toews, for example, has won 4 golds in 5 world tournaments (1 of 2 world championships, 2 world juniors, and 1 U-17s) and let's concede there *might* have been some pressure when he scored THREE shootout goals to put away the semis in one of 'em. maybe he's never played an NHL playoff game, but there are plenty of guys in the room who have --and a couple who have won cups. to me, youth means speed, hunger, and exuberance, three things i find often lacking from the flames.
3. sutter speaks
FINALLY somebody writes an article about the sutter cap fiasco. i suppose what it comes down to is a difference in ideologies like the ant and the grasshopper , whereby the moral is "save for a rainy day." i dunno... everything sutter says here seems like a tired excuse... i started writing a bit more on this here but i think i will save it for a future post entitled CSI: capspace. i'm not so great at maths but what i think we have here is a guy using one of my favorite old adages, "IF YOU CAN'T CONVINCE, CONFUSE," and the presumption that the flames faithful will take his words as truth, as they always do...
4. separated at birth
don't get me wrong, i LOVE the guy....
i've been thinking about this for quite awhile and i don't know if it's ever been done before but i'm willing to blaze new ground, here. it's an audio "separated at birth," and after hearing about curtis glencross's interview yesterday, where he says "let's get'er done" (my vote for the team's slogan to be written on ALL playoff signs this year, btw), i couldn't help but think that he sounds pretty much exactly like this guy:
the best comparable glenX interview can be found here... (it's unembedable, for whatever reason.... apologies).
5. maggie the monkey
her picks were calgary, vancouver, columbus, SJ in the west and NJ, boston, NYR & philly. the retiring simian is just slightly better than 50% accurate, historically (40-35) and i would personally agree with EXACLY 50% of her selections (but i won't say which ---though it's 50% in each conference)....
6. duncan's picks
so i just got a text from duncan, who's huge plan to post today has gone down the tubes right along with whatever free time he thought he'd have... ;) it says: "Series winners: SJ, Chi, CBJ, Van; Bos, Was, NJ, Pit" [i can get behind 5 of those 8, fyi] "Second round: SJ, Chi; Bos, Was" [you're losin' me here, duncan...] "Then SJ over Boston in the final. Book it." [consider it booked...]
zat's eet for today.