Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Xbox Live Orientation

Came across this while watching the latest Sessler's Soapbox. It's a funny vid of a hypothetical Xbox Live Orienation, and it's gets everything just about completely bang on.

Round 2 - My wife's predictions

My wife's turn:

Eastern Conference

Detroit vs Colorado - Colorado in 6
San Jose vs Dallas - Sharks in 6

Western Conference

Pittsburgh vs New York - Pittsburgh in 6
Montreal vs Philly - Montreal in 7

Round 2 Predictions

Okay, now that round 1 is over and it's already official I won't do as well this year as last year (I was wrong with only 1 series in all of last year's playoffs), it's time to move on to round 2. Here's my pics:

Eastern Conference

Montreal vs Philadelphia - I watched a good chunk of the Flyers/Caps series, and in particular that game 7 in which the Capitals were flat out robbed by some absolutely horrible officiating. The Flyers were clearly outplayed by a younger, more enthusiastic Capitals team, but found themselves on the winning side of the series due more to luck than anything else (IMHO). And that was against an (at-best) average Capitals team. Montreal looked rock solid in all but 2 of the games against Boston (the execptions being #5 and #6 where they really looked tentative). They're young, but unlike the Capitals they are a much more complete team, and are coming off of a very strong performance in game 7 against Boston. I don't think this one's even going to be close. If there's a sweep in round 2, this will be it. My prediction: Montreal in 4.

Pittsburgh vs New York - Wow, how about that Malkin guy eh? Sidney who? ;) Okay okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but right now the Pens look like the team to beat in the East. Everybody knew the offense would be there, but Fleury looked absolutely rock-solid in net and goaltending was the biggest question mark about this team going into the post-season. If Fleury can keep it up, the Pens could very easily go all the way this year. New York played very well against a completely flat New Jersey team, but they are an aging team, and I don't think they have the depth, enthusiasm, or determination to get past the Pens. My prediction: Pittsburgh in 6.

Western Conference

Detroit vs Colorado - DING! Fight! This should be the best series of round 2. These two teams have history going back a long ways, and it's the first time they've met in the post-season in a long time. A lot of people are looking at Detroit as the clear favourite, but I actually think this series is quite close. Colorado looked very good disposing of Minnesota, and Detroit looked quite shaky at times vs Nashville. This one may very well come down to goaltending, and I don't think there's any question that the Avs have the edge in that regard. Should be close, but my prediction: Colorado in 7.

San Jose vs Dallas - This one's also pretty tough to call. San Jose looked very vulnerable against a gritty Calgary team in round 1, and Joe Thornton played well in game 7, but was almost invisible for the rest of the series. Dallas on the other hand surprised many with their "upset" of the defending Stanley Cup champs. Really close series, but San Jose is still my pick to go all the way. My prediction: San Jose in 7.

Round 1 - Comparison With TSN

Another thing I commonly do is compare my predictions with those of the "experts" at TSN. For those unfamiliar, they have a panel of hockey people who make predictions along with a monkey who spins a wheel to randomly pick a winner for a series. What's interesting is that oftentimes the monkey does better than the experts. :)

The picks from the people at TSN for this year can be found here.

So how did I do? Here's the breakdown:

Bob McKenzie 6-2
Mike Milbury 5-3
Darren Pang 5-3
James Duthie 5-3
Maggie the Monkey 5-3
Adam "Pedle Zelnip" 5-3
My wife 2-6

So basically I was about the same as the people at TSN. Here's hoping I can improve in round #2.

Round 1 Results

Okay, round 1 is now over, time to summarize.

Also as well, I didn't mention this in the blog post relating to my initial predictions, but every year my wife and I compete to see who has the better predictions. To resolve this argument we needed some sort of quantifiable, mathematical evaluation scheme. In the past what we've done is we awarded 1 point for predicting the correct winner of a series, and another point for predicting the correct number of games. Thus each series was worth a maximum of 2 points.

However, this year we're changing the formula, now predicting the winner is 2 points, and predicting the correct number of games is 1 point, for a total of 3 possible per series.

So, how does this play out with this year's round 1? Well, I had two perfect predictions (Colorado in 6 and San Jose in 7), and 3 where I predicted the correct winner (but not the correct number of games) so I have:

2 x 3 + 3 * 2 = 12 points

She had two perfect predictions (Colorado in 6 and Montreal in 7), and 4 where she predicted the correct number of games (but not the winner), so she has:

2 x 3 + 4 x 1 = 10 points

So yes, that's right, I'm currently whooping her. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My wife's turn....

And here's her predictions for this year's NHL playoffs:

Eastern Conference
Ottawa vs Pittsburgh - Ottawa in 6
New Jersey vs New York - New Jersey in 5
Washington vs Philadelphia - Washington in 7
Montreal vs Boston - Montreal in 7

Western Conference
San Jose vs Calgary - Calgary in 7
Anaheim vs Dallas - Anaheim in 6
Detroit vs Nashville - Nashville in 7 (HA HA!)
Minnesota vs Colorado - Colorado in 6

Monday, April 7, 2008

And the playoffs are here....

So, as per usual, it's about time for me to make my predictions about the 2K8 version of the NHL playoffs. Will I be able to repeat my 14 correct predictions out of 15 performance from a year ago? Let's find out:

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings vs Nashville Predators - for me, this is the only series in this years playoffs where there is a clear, definite favourite. If Nashville wins this, pigs will fly, hell will get frosty and I'll give up my Xbox (okay, maybe not....). My prediction: Detroit in 5.

San Jose Sharks vs Calgary Flames - SJ is my pick to win it all this year (although I've been saying that for the last 2 or 3 years....). They are a rock solid team, with lots of post-season experience, and should be desperate for some success. It's a shame Calgary ends up meeting these guys in the first round as I think if they had ended up playing Minnesota in the first round they would've done quite well. This one should be fairly hard faught, and I don't think an upset here would be all that surprising (Kipper, Iginla and Phaneuf could easily cause some real headaches for the Sharks) but my prediction: San Jose in 7.

Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche - The Wild are the only team in the west with home ice advantage who I think are also favoured to lose. The Avs really stacked up at the deadline, played very well down the stretch, have a tradition of post season success, and Theodore is actually starting to look like the MVP from Montreal again. This one shouldn't be too much of a battle. My prediction: Colorado in 6.

Anaheim Ducks vs Dallas Stars - Funny how if these two teams would've met 4 months ago people would've picked the Stars hands down, but now the tables have turned somewhat. Dallas more-or-less limped into the post season, whereas Anaheim really started to pick things up and look like defending champs as the season wore on. The Ducks are largely the same team that one it all last year with the punishing defense and tenacious forwards, so my money's on them for this series. My prediction: Anaheim in 4.

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins - ahhh yes, the classic Habs/B's rivalry renewed. The Habs were this years Cinderella story, achieving far higher than anyone expected. Having said that, I still don't think they have what it takes to go deep, and they're still a very young and relatively inexperienced team (particularly in goal). However, I do think they'll have a lot of enthusiasm for the first round, and the Montreal fans will most definitely be a boost (it's been a long time since fans in Hab-land could feel as though their team is a favourite). Should be a good series either way, but my prediction: Montreal in 6.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators - Wow, how about these Pens? A lot of people thought they'd improve over last year as all those young stars matured, but I don't think too many people thought they'd be the #2 seed in the east (narrowly missing the #1 spot). And that was with their biggest star player in Crosby injured for much of the stretch. This is a fun team to watch with an insane amount of depth up-front. Goaltending is still a question mark, as is the defence and leadership. Ottawa went all the way to the final round last season, and at times this season had some of that form, but this still doesn't look like they are a cohesive unit right now, and the injury to Alfredsson is huge. I hate to say it as if it's true heads will roll in the nation's capital during the off-season, but my prediction: Pittsburgh in 5.

Washington Captials vs Philadelphia Flyers - As surprising as the Pens were this season, I don't think anyone would disagree that the Caps were an even greater surprise. Just a few weeks ago it didn't look like they'd make the playoffs and now they're the #3 seed. Ovechkin is coming off of a possibly Hart-like season (in addition to Rocket Richard and Art Ross trophies) and this will be his first taste of post-season play. Philly on the other hand just doesn't look like a team to me, but rather a collection of off-season free-agents that at times looked great and at other times looked completely mediocre. I don't think they'll go far after this round, but my money's on the Caps for this one. My prediction: Washington in 6.

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers - This should be a great battle, as these two teams are great rivals. Brodeur is coming off of yet another Vezina like season, and for much of the year the Devils looked like the team to beat in the east. New York should make this one interesting, but I don't see them getting past the Devils. My prediction: New Jersey in 7.

And there you have it. Usually what happens as well is my wife makes her predictions and we have a friendly little competition to see who ends up doing a better job of predicting the playoffs so I'll post her predictions once she gives them to me.

At any rate, even though my boys (the Canucks) aren't there this year, I'm really looking forward to the playoffs this year. As mentioned earlier San Jose is my pick for the west and to win it all. The east is much tougher to call, so much parity in the Eastern Conference and moreover a lot of the high seeds are teams that are new to being high seeds. If push came to shove at this point I'd pick the Devils in the East, but I could just as easily see Crosby going on a tear and taking the Pens to the finals. Stay tuned....