We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …


It’s a strange feeling.

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For the past ‘what seems like ever’ – the city of Montreal has not had very many grey areas when it comes to Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Or – as they have become know; the eHabs …. ( as in commerce ).

In the media, in the streets, in the pubs and in living rooms all across the world, it has either been ranting over the fact they are good or ( more times than the latter) very, very bad …

Suddenly, it is calm in Montreal. No one really knows what to do. No one really understands this club that takes to la glace these days. They (the team) are looking for an identity. The fans are looking also. What team do they cheer for? Who are these guys that take our money?

Is it the team which appeared almost too easily to beat the New Jersey Devils? A squad which is first in the Eastern Conference. Or – is it the silly bunch of skaters who appeared like deer in the headlights when those noted champions – The Toronto Maple Leafs arrived at Le Centre Bell for what turned into a game of shinny …?

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Marc Bergevin don’t know. Michel Therrien don’t know. The dude who waved hello to Eddy Palchak for sixteen years every morning on his way to work don’t know. They are a team which seem sound. For now …

Something will happen.

What? A betting man who loves the underdog won’t bet on the team winning a Stanley Cup nor will the same man’s hooker girlfriend allow him to bet the other way. An implosion is due. An explosion imminent.

Will the eHabs skate out against The Mighty Bruins and spank the Bostonian’s monkeys with goals and fists? Perhaps the destruction will take place as Michel ( aka Rodney Dangerfield) Therrien loses control of his ‘I have a second chance demeanor’ and tosses P.K Subban into the penalty box with his non – ringed hands. Any hockey man knows a Therrien meltdown is coming. It’s a matter of time.

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Will it be just as the eHabs discover themselves on the crease of victory or will it be just before Tomas Kaberle flings a four million dollar water bottle at Madame Therrien’s son’s French Canadian head? Pressing questions for serious Montreal hockey questions.

The eHabs will find out who they are. The fans will find out as well. Therrien?

Guy Carbonneau can let him in on things once the eHabs stop playing hockey in 2013.

With or without a Stanley Cup ring blocking  his ears …

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Oh – Oh !


The Devils are at it once again. Just ask the Rangers or the Flyers. Heck, call the Panthers …

Other teams sway. The Devils do not. Their system is relentlessly relentless. The Kings are proving to be the same.

Change the sweaters, a difference would not be noticed. Is that Jonathan Brodeur or Marty Quick? Zachary Brown or Ilya Penner? This final is a throwback to the six team league. Tighter than a girl holding a boy’s hand on fright night at the local movie house. Is it boring, fun or perplexing …?

How about all three.

L.A. won the first two games asleep at the wheel. A start to the finals which everyone hoped was final. A snooze fest. A Nightmare at 103 Elm Street, Newark – New Jersey …

Among the bandwagon- ers in L.A., in front of thousands of spectators who would never know the difference between a frozen pogo and a frozen puck; all that changed. A Jersey squad’s system started to work. A system that does not work with defence. A system that does not win with offence. It’s a system that wins with a rope-a-dope stragedy.

Ali would be proud.

The Devils do not attack a la late eighties Oilers. Parise is no Anderson, Elias is no Messier and Kovalchuk is no Gretzky. What they do is attack like a piranha taunting their foes; one bite at a time …

They nibble until the opposition is tired. The Kings are fed up. Errors will start. Like a dog chained too long – freedom is required, freedom is needed. Frustration becomes the Kings’ enemy. Frustration becomes the Devils’ friend.

Combine all this with the Kings’ sense of slippin’ away, the ‘holding the stick’ too tight, the ‘end this now’ mentality – the Devils are steering the Stanley Cup ride. Fitting that game six is in L.A. This way – Brodeur can win on home ice. In front of the fans which love him dearly. A party which may make his decision to retire that much easier – that much more fun.

This way – Martin Brodeur’s kids can tell their friends; “Daddy’s at it once again …”

Top Ten Reasons the Devils will Win the Stanley Cup


L.A. Vs. the Devils of Joisey …

A Stanley Cup party nobody would have predicted back in October unless they were at a party also. A few drinks every minute? Really strange stuff can be heard!

Tomorrow night, Le puck she drop to start the 2012 Final series.

From coast to coast in Canada, the States and the one hockey fan with unbelievable running skills in Indonesia; everyone – it seems, has a prediction.

Devils in five, Kings in six – on and on it goes until the spouses call out ‘dinner is ready’!

There is no doubt between this writer and the hamster with the red, white and blue jersey running in my head; the Devils will win. Here now are the Top Ten reasons why …

10. Jonathan Quick’s penchant for bleached – out, Hollywood- type, B actresses; a distraction.

9. How can L.A. possibly score with all the basketballs Jack Nicholson tosses on the ice?

8. The members of the Phoenix Coyotes bought tickets directly behind the Kings’ bench and to say they are angry is a bit of an understatement.

7. Marcel Dionne’s excitement? A hindrance to the skate sharpening guys …

6. The Kings’ home jerseys were bleached in error. Somehow, the pinkish new ones with the Justin Bieber patches? Not as effective.

5. Wayne Gretzky is in town giving coaching advice …

4. Suddenly … without warning … The Kings realize where they are!

3. Hello? It’s 130 degrees in Los Angeles! That’s not hockey …!?

2. Martin Brodeur and all his freaky voodoo karma is in goals.

And the number one reason the Devils will win the Cup?

1. Marty McSorley is in charge of the Kings’ sticks!

Why the New York Rangers won’t Win the Cup and Rick’s Stanley Cup Final Pick


At the beginning of the playoffs, a giant Stanley Cup was erected in Times Square.

Was it karma that beat New York or was it the relentless Devils? Perhaps – it is the same thing …

Martin Brodeur is near the end of his storied career. The forty year old net minder holds many records. One of which – the shutout record, will not be broken. At least it may not be. Up in the air, high above the skating rink in New Jersey,in the great gondola in the sky, the hockey gods are watching.

And they smile …

The last of a generation of great net minders, Brodeur has earned the karma that was once reserved for ghosts of the old Montreal Forum. Since les Habitants have shrugged their shoulders at their own ghosts by a) not retiring Lemaire and Lapointe’s numbers b) Waiting too long to retire Geoffrion’s and c) turning the sacred legacy of Richard’s team into a money – making machine; the phantoms have found someone to help.

A Montrealer to boot!

In game five against the Rangers, the Devils deserved to win but not the way they did. Has there ever been a display of such poor goaltending displayed this deep in the playoffs? Martin Brodeur was horrible. He stood instead of stooping, he flipped, flopped and flew. The decisions he made injected hope to a Ranger squad that were down and out. An empty net would have done a better job …

The Devils won in overtime after abandoning a three goal lead. They won because the hockey gods deem Brodeur worthy of a helping blocker. A free pass for his years of service. A spectral thank you note from all the dead players, referees, managers and players who made the game great.

That giant Stanley Cup in Times Square did not hurt …

The Finals

It has come to this.

Two teams standing. A pair of battle weary opponents. Rocky versus Apollo Creed.

The Devils are Rocky. The underdogs. The team with so much promise that never showed until recently. The Panthers were the frozen meat hanging in the freezer. The Flyers – Mick’s incessant yelling in the ear. The Rangers? Running up the steps with energy to spare …

Los Angeles is Apollo Creed. They did not start that way until the k.o’s came. Vancouver in the fifth round, really a tko. St.Louis in the fourth – a knockout if ever there was one. Pheonix the same.

Now the teams meet for the heavyweight title of the world. Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup.

On paper, in many people’s eyes, the Kings have won before the puck hits the ice. Another sweep of the playoff dance floor. Problem is the paper is old. Yesterday’s news. The Devils have crumpled it and placed it to the recycle bin. The lid is closed and a wait commences for tomorrow’s paper.

L.A. has the edge in goaltending. Quick quicker than the aged Brodeur. L.A. has tougher defenceman and more depth up front. The Kings have more grit and more experience outside of the crease.

The Devils have karma.

Yo Adrian – Devils in six games!

Rangers Win! So what …?


The Rangers took a 2 – 1 series lead against the Devils this afternoon in New Jersey with a 3 – 0 victory. By no means does this mean anything in the big scheme of things …

The Eastern Conference is a tight place. Every team is almost the same as every other team. How do we know this? Look no further than the number of game sevens in the East compared to the West. Just look at the Kings …

Their opponents, les Coyotes de Phoenix – skated into the series filled with visions of ‘Brodeur’ as opposed to grandeur. The Predators, slapped away like the tiny mosquitoes they became in the last series. Did anyone think the series between Phoenix and L.A. would be easy? Raise your hand if you are lying by saying yes.

For that matter, did anyone truly believe the Kings would run over the Canucks like a tank over a squirrel? Once more, to the corner with your back against the wall if your answer is affirmative.

The West has been weird. The East? Weird but understandable. Seven games to dispatch Boston, Florida and Washington …? The norm in Norm Ullman’s original Western cousin’s conference.

The Rangers and Devils will go the distance. The Kings and Coyotes? Not so much as the dessert dawgs will be peering into other dunes aside from East L.A. to discover their winning bones. The East is tougher and the West will rest as they await their Stanley Cup final opponents.

‘C’est la vie’ and you never can tell what puck- shaped chocolates you may find …

Unless you are a fan of the Kings. This year

Hey! Blockhead…!


Suddenly, everyone is upset with the New York Rangers.

Why? Is the entire team wearing John Tortorella masks and scaring kids in the playground? Not quite. What the team is doing is blocking shots.

We already have goaltenders, we don’t need six. – Bobby Holik

Holik played for the New Jersey Devils – a team that was credited with ruining hockey as the entire on – ice squad would collapse to their zone. Their style was called a trap and helped the Devils win Stanley Cups.

New York is collapsing everyone in front of their net and the entire team appears to be blocking shots. According to Scotty Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history; all this started with Roger Nielsen when Nielsen was coaching the Leafs.

” He ( Roger ) realized with guys like Lapointe, Robinson and  Savard on our points, if you covered them – they just passed quickly to our talented forwards. So, he left the points open and put all his forwards below. His goalie only had to concentrate on the shot from the point. ”

Holik concurs with Bowman that it was  not Lemaire`s nor the Devils`fault.

“The so called Dead Puck Era was not caused by the New Jersey Devils winning three Stanley Cups in eight years. It was caused by rapid expansion, diluting the talent pool, and the league’s refusal at that time to enforce rules already on the books.”

Strong words from a guy who should know. “We are in a different era now and it’s time to focus on today’s game and how to make it better. If you think everybody blocking shots, collapsing around net (creating a force field) and eliminating most scoring chances is the proper approach then you are winning.”

Holik`s words should be heeded by Montreal fans, the Montreal media and the Canadiens` management.  In 2010, a certain Jacques Martin coached the Habs deep into the playoffs. Two rounds following victories over Pittsburgh and Washington.

In those series, lead by former Hab defenceman Hal Gill – Montreal blocked more shots than any other team. Guys that would never put thier bodies in front of blistering slapshots, doing it at alarming rates. It worked …

Les Canadiens advanced to the Conference finals and were felled by their lack of sniping. Beat by Bobrovski – the worst shot blocker in the league.

As the Rangers block their way to a possible Stanley Cup, a Montreal Canadien fan should remember it was Martin who coached the Habs – not Cunneyworth nor anyone else.

It could have been Tortorella …

Why wasn`t everyone upset with the Canadiens?


Why the New York Rangers Won’t Win the Cup and Rick’s Picks – Round Three


Hockey is a funny game …

Just clear the track and ask Eddie Shack !

The first two rounds ended in surprising results.

  1. The Flyers and Pens scored more goals in one series than any two teams in the history of the NHL ( not counting the late 80’s and early 90’s Oilers  – combined with their one – ice goals and all the scoring they did off the ice ). By the time the Flyers did not get to Phoenix, the Philadelphia bunch were simply too exhausted to take on the Devils of Jersey. Add the ‘ Bill Clement curse ‘; the Flyers are home and the Devils are about to attempt a spell- casting on their cross – river rivals.
  2. The Caps did everyone in Montreal a favour and eliminated the Big, the bad and the ugly Bruins. The momentum from that series carried the team to a seven game defeat against the Rangers. A series decided by one goal in another game seven for both squads. A series that could have bounced either way.  The  New York team was surprised by the surging Senators and stuck to their game plan which now has allowed the team to ‘ squeak by’ two rounds.
  3. Le west is wild! No doubt about it as the eight seeded Kings have now upset the number one and two seeds. St.Louis was bit by the inexperience bug as well as the injury bug. Not having Halak to bail out Elliot – a blow to to the Blues chances. On the other side of the western coin, the Coyotes are doing their part to sell the team in Phoenix. Dumping the Hawks , then the Predators – a ‘Roadrunner’ feather in the Coyotes’ caps.

Rick’s picks after two rounds … Two wins – ten losses – zero ties ( wink, wink). On the bright side – I did not bet any money …

Round Three Picks

Devils – Rangers

                  Tough one. Boring but tough. Two teams – same system. A Caps – Rangers repeat. The exception? Goaltending. Will Brodeur’s age catch up to him or will his age help him. This should be the deciding factor along with the Rangers ability to corral Kovalchuk. The Devils have a better offence than people think and the Rangers have Lundqvist.  Devils in Seven

Kings – Coyotes

Quick and Smith… Sounds like a type of gun eh?  These teams are both in surprise mode and surprise  mode is relentless. No time to think as the two improbable teams are on a roll. The Kings are more rounded and if a goalie was to be chosen from the two … Quick is the pick. Shane Doan is on overdrive for the Coyotes. Problem is everyone is on overdrive for the Kings. The Montreal Canadiens of 1986 were on a roll and they won. Coyotes in six.

P.S   Kid Mercury put the hex on the Rangers !


 

Spooky is as Spooky Does. The Man behind the Flyers’ Goalie Curse.


If a Flyers’ fan or player did not believe in goalie curses before – they sure do now!

In last night’s series ending loss to the New Jersey Devils, the way the Flyers went down in defeat was downright spooky. Scary. Hand – wrenching, white knuckles kind of stuff …

Hitchcock – ian …

For days, years and decades – Philadelphia iced a good hockey squad. A roster often unmatched, whether it was under the watchful eye of Ziegler through Bettman. Year after orange, black and white season – every player on the Philly roster poured their sweat and blood toward winning the Stanley Cup. Every player except whoever happened to be in between the pipes.

That’s not to say the padded ones did not try. Au contraire mes freres! The net minders gave their all.

Robbie Moore, the diminutive goalie from Sarnia, Ontario – putting all of his 5′ 5″ frame in front of hundred mile an hour snapshots in 1979. Posting an impressive 5-0 shutout in his Flyers’ debut. Moore went on to play four more regular season games with Philadelphia that season. He posted two shutouts and finished with a 1.77 G.A.A.

He would match his season total in games played in the post season. Unfortunately, his goals against soared to 4.03 and the Flyers’ were bounced in the second round by the Rangers.

Moore never to play goals in Philly again … Moore never to play in the NHL again …

Legend has it – Mr. Moore was prone to nerves. Tossing his cookies before, frequently during and occasionally after games. An anxious goalie makes a strange crease fellow. An anxious goalie makes a mess!

Was Moore victim number one of the curse … ?
More importantly – who is responsible for the curse?

Curse History

The Flyers won back to back championships in the mid – seventies. One of the reasons, and a very big one – was the play of goalie Bernie Parent.

Parent backstopped a young, some say ‘ too violent’ Flyer squad to victory over the Boston Bruins in 1974 and the following season as well. Aside from this ‘championship roadblock’, the Flyers’ journey has been filled with many, often peculiar ‘bumps in the road’.

The Origin of the Curse?

The Curious Case of Michel Belhumeur

What’s in a name?

Everything if you happen to be have been in goals for the Washington Capitals during the 1974- 1975 and 75- 76 seasons. For part of it anyway…

Micheal ( Michel ), translated his play into a 0 – 29 – 4 record with a goals against average of 5. 34 during his two and only seasons with the hapless Caps. These stats made him part of hockey history and wrongly translated his name to what the goalie from Sorel, Qc must have felt; ‘ill humor’ in lieu of the direct translation; ‘ good humor’!

What does this have to do with the Flyers?

M. Belhumeur was drafted by the Flyers in 1969. He was their 40th overall pick. Following stints with the Quebec Aces, Charlotte Checkers and Richmond Robins – the 5’10” Virgo was called up to the Flyers during the 1972-73 season.

In goals for 23 games, the rookie posted a respectable 9-7-3 record with an admirable 3.22 ‘rookie’ G.A.A. For his troubles, he was returned to Richmond for the following season and his career as a Flyer net minder was over.

The Philadelphia organization exposed Belhumeur in the 1974 expansion draft and he joined the Washington Capitals’ organization. According to reports – Michel was agitated with the Flyers for giving up on him. Were Michel’s temperament and subsequent ‘words’ responsible for a curse in Philly … ?

Maybe it was a combination of his and teammate Bill Clements’ departure to Washington?

The Origin of the Curse?

Bill Clement

Along with players such as Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach – Clement was an integral part of the Flyers’ championship teams. As one of the ‘Broadstreet Bullies‘, the Buckingham,Qc.native reached his potential during the 1974-75 season.

On the heels of a nine goal season the year before – Clement notched 21 goals as the Flyers picked up the Stanley Cup for the second straight year. Along with many of his teammates, Clement savored the win over the Bruins as his favorite and once more – along with several teammates, looked forward to a third straight Cup.

Clement never had a chance to fulfill his dream.

Like Bonhumeur; Bill ended up with the Capitals following the amateur draft. Clement was traded for the rights to Mel Bridgeman. In Washington, despite having his most prolific season, the
6’1″ bruising power – forward skated with a grudge against Kate Smith’s non- choirboys.

Could it really have been Clement who has cursed the goalies in Philadelphia? How could a man whose work consists of doing voice – over work and acting be the villain of Voodoo in the city of brotherly love? As one of the voices in the popular EA Sports’ NHL video games from 2006 inclusively to a Philadelphia Flyers’ seasoned broadcaster, surely he is in position to ‘reverse the curse’.

A curse Guy Lafleur’s former centerman in Thurso may have inadvertently placed on his alma mater when he was dispersed to Washington in 1975.

You see – Bill Clement started playing hockey at the age of eight.

As a goalie

Whose Birthday Is It?


Just how old are you?

As we age and get older
Some saves become harder to do
But no one knows this near as much
As poor decrepit you

“How old are you” comes the question
And you simply let out a drawn out sigh
It’s not from a goal or a bad mood
It’s just so hard to count that high

If your age was a G.A.A
You would be an American League man
If your age was a bank account
You’d be the poorest in crease land

If your age was your save percentage
You’d be suffering from a stroke
If your age was the number of shots each game
Your team – a pretty old joke

If your age was your goalie pants size
No pads would ever fit
If your age was a back -up
He would be so slow he would get sh*t

But forty isn’t really all that old
You have way more future than you have past
Your body may be slowing down, that’s true
But, relax, your glove  was really never fast

 Happy Birthday Martin Brodeur!

( p.s Call Kid Mercury for your party ! )

Why the New York Rangers won’t win the Cup and Rick’s Picks – Round Two


Require sound advice …? Need a shoulder to cry on …?

Rick Keene is the wrong guy!

Two wins and six losses with picks in the first round is a statistic normally reserved for a baseball pitcher with a bad defence behind him. ‘ The only way out is up ‘ to quote a hibernating bear.

Round One was filled with a couple of upsets, a lot of fights, more goals than an ambitious banker and an unpaid hooker ( oops was that out loud)?

How will round two play out and will Rick Keene redeem his integrity coupons …?

Eastern Conference Round Two

 Rangers          Capitals

Two teams playing the same type of hockey from polar opposite positions. The Rangers finished first – the Capitals seventh. The Rangers are not known for putting the puck in the net and rely on a four line sweep. Everyone is contributing and when there is a weakness – goalie Lundqvist shuts the Swedish door. Caps’ net minder Holtby is playing above his years and the rookie has enabled his squad to advance to round two.

Holtby cracking or Ovechkin awakening are the two factors that matter most. Ovechkin is a dormant animal and he will come alive if the fire in his eyes stays lit from his post – game interview after ousting the Bruins. The Caps have the edge with their superior scoring power. This ain’t Alfredsson’s team.

Capitals in seven.

   Devils                  Flyers

The Flyers will struggle to gain emotion after a spiritually draining victory over the Penguins. Philly goalie Bryzgalov will need to be on the top of his game early  as the Devils will be in top gear. If Bryzgalov cannot hold them off and the series heads to N. J. with the Devils up by a couple of games – the Flyers’ dream could end.

The Flyers have Claude Giroux and the forward appears on a mission to be included in the elite Crosby – Malkin club. Giroux will not let the Flyers sag too low and he can turn a game around with one shift as he did against Pittsburgh. The Flyers have too much depth and talent for the Devils to handle and Brodeur is not twenty years old anymore .

Flyers in Five

Western Conference

  Coyotes                  Predators

Can two teams with similar logos compete in the NHL? The answer is yes and no. One will be eliminated and in this case it will be the team with teeth in it’s logo that lives to bite another day. Unless …

Gary Bettman and his cronies own the Coyotes. H’owns …h’owns …

( Slapshot officiandos – you are welcome). If the Coyotes advance all the way to the .. gulp .. finals – Bettman will be howling all the way to the bank. Say it ain’t so Joe Murphy!

The Preds have the edge hockey-wise and goalie – wise, especially if ex – Hab Hal Gill is playing. The defencman’s experience in the playoffs is a gem in the treasure chest of Nashville‘s hunt for the Cup. A younger troupe also tilts the ice in Nashville favour and Pekka Rinne is that much better than Mike Smith. Rinne also has a much cooler name …! Uma – Pekka, Pekka – Uma …

Predators in Six

     Kings                        Blues

Once again – a regal battle between two squads that are equally – matched. Great coaching balanced by four great lines will get results. Both teams are long suffering Stanley – less skaters and their home crowds will attempt to hex the opposing teams.

Advantage to St. Louis for having Elliot and Halak in goals. Elliot will start and if he falters, Halak will be healthy enough to stop the Quick – need Kings.

St . Louis in Six

As I said; Rick Keene is the wrong guy …

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Why the New York Rangers will not Win the Cup and Rick’s Picks


There will be a twenty – one foot cup erected in Times Square before the playoffs start. No, it is not Shaquille O’Neal’s jock- strap! The NHL, is placing a giant Stanley Cup on the streets of the Big Apple.

Karma beats the Rangers! Read all about it! Kharma beats the Rangers!

The field of 16 is set and all the first-round matchups have been made.

Just like George of the Jungle – I will go on a shaky limb and …

Rick’s picks

Western Conference

1. Vancouver (1) and Los Angeles (8)

The Canucks are a good team and mad! Angry for losing the Stanley Cup to Boston last year. These two elements will leave the Kings booking a beach vacation sooner than later. Vancouver should take six games to shake the Kings’ sand from their skates. Allow the Luongo factor to deposit two wins to L.A lore … Vancouver in six.

2. St.Louis (2) and San Jose (7)

The best first round match- up in the west.San Jose, following years of being expected to win – suddenly are the underdogs. This may work in their favor. They have more experience than the Blues and veterans like Thornton are aware of their mortality on a good team. If Blues’ goalie Elliot starts and fails – they have Halak. If Halak starts and fails – they have Elliot. Expect the limit here. The Blues are in foreign territory and have nothing to lose… St.Louis in seven.

3. Pheonix (3) and Chicago (6)

Les Coyotes are always skating on their final legs in Pheonix. The out- pouring of love the fans demonstrated last year goes a long way. Captain Shane Doan‘s heart and legs cannot carry the team past the Hawks. Unless … Never mind. Hawks in six.

4. Nashville (4) and Detroit (5)

Did I say the best series was St.Louis and San Jose ? Ok – Maybe not. The Predators are ready to pounce and the Wings are aware their time is limited to grab a Cup with the veterans in tow. This alone should propel the Wings higher unless Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stands on his guitar case … Red Wings in seven

Eastern Conference

1 New York Rangers(1) and Ottawa Senators(8)

Aside from Kharma, the Rangers are not high in the goal scoring department which may be their biggest opponent. The Sens have nothing to lose and may ride the Alfredsson – train all the way (at least past New York). Ranger goalie Lundvquist is a factor as is Tortorella’s temper. The play- offs are a different animal as the Rangers will discover. Senators in seven.

2 Boston Bruins(2) and Washington Capitals(7)

The defending Stanley Cup champs should commence their defence of the title easily. The Caps and their captain, Ovechkin , played tag all year with success. If Tim Thomas can avoid the CIA snipers but not the Capitals’ shots – an easy series for the Bad Bruins. Boston in six

3 Florida Panthers(3) and New Jersey Devils (6)

A strange match – up. The upcoming Panthers may be thwarted by their happiness. The final time the Cats were on the dance floor, the thought of a black President was as rare as a plastic rat on Panther ice. Martin Brodeur, the Devils’ legendary goalie may utilize this ‘end of a career’ series as one final kick at the puck. The Devils also have Kovalchuck. New Jersey in six.

4 Pittsburgh Penguins(4)and Philadelphia Flyers (5)

Let’s get ready to rumble …! An opening round series that is tailor made for everyone to be happy! The NHL brass will be smiling, the television networks and hockey fans ‘coast to coast’ will all be pumped in Pennsylvania! The teams hate each other and Mike Milbury did his job well in applying fuel to a Flyers’ fire. Unfortunately for Philly fans, coach Laviolette and his team’s ability to be undisciplined will cede the series to Pittsburgh. Pens in six

There you have it ! Enjoy the first round and remember to …

Watch out for that tree …!

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