And in this corner…

Well, if watching the second round has taught me anything, it’s just to keep my big mouth shut. After watching what looked like a rejuvenated Red Wings fold like a tent put up by yours truly on May long (never underestimate 15 beers…..), and the Kings Johnathan Quick stealing the show on the coast, my latest prediction has gone wide of the uprights. Again. I was so wrong, I had to use a football analogy right there. Ouch. I was thinking Detroit and San Jose were looking good for a west final. Nope. Chicago v LA. Not a bad consolation prize.

With all the dust settled, last night kicked off the third round, with the real heavyweights going at it. For the first time in 40 some years, the last four champions meet in the conference finals. All the teams left have legitimate shots at being the last standing. No Phoniex Coyotes this year. No New Jersey Devils. The big boys. Should be some good hockey…

And with that, the NHL rears its big, lopsided head from the trough and gets the Hawks v Kings series going at 4pm central in the middle of a Rolling Stones four set show. Makes for some good ice conditions I would bet. I thought going in, that the Kings would be pounding the snot out of anything in red, but it looked like someone had put cement in their skates. There is usually a let down for a team after a game seven. Its pretty hard to get to that intensity in a game one so quick after the last round. The Kings looked like it hit them pretty hard. The Blackhawks looked like they had a week off and were flying all night. Duncan Keith looked like a fast version of Scott Neidermayer. He was all world, especially in the first. If he outplays Drew Doughty, the Hawks will be looking good. I do expect , however, the next game looks a little different, but with the same score. What does Vegas have the odds of every remaining game with LA in it will be 2-1? Probably 3-1? Good old Sutter style hockey……

A friend asked what I thought about Boston v Pittsburgh, and then looked genuinely surprised when I said Bruins are taking it. If there is any team built to handle the skill of the Penguins, its the Bruins. Crosby’s out? So is Chara. Malkin next shift? Hello Bergeron. Letang’s out? There’s Lucic. Krejci is playing out of this world and might have the most low key celebrations ever. Hornton is a beast, Boychuck, Seidenberg, Ference, McQuaid and Krug are playing great d, and all, save Krug, were on the Bruins Cup winner just a couple years ago. They played the Penguins very tight, and Crosby looked ready to come unglued at the end of the game, not unlike Toews in the Hawks v Wings series. Crosby needs to step it up a level against Chara. i think he will, and that will be great to watch.

So, how many games for Cooke? We watched Torres get the rest of the series for a way less dangerous hit, IMO. Although Stoll did miss games due to injury, the hit Cooke dished out was more dangerous and more reckless. He was pretty lucky McQuaid came back, although I wouldn’t doubt he got a concussion anyway. Rest of the series? Maybe the playoffs? I would bet the series is done for Cooke for sure. His “old” reputation might get him more……

Craig “the Radish” MacTavish has been busy lately. He recently inked Anton Belov, a 6’4”, 215lb puck moving defenceman from the KHL. Now, the K isn’t exactly known for being a shutdown league by any stretch, so his defence is probably suspect, but I would think anything on two skates could replace Ryan Whitney defensivley, so he should be an upgrade. He was the consensus best defenceman in what is probably the second best league in the world, and was on the radar of some decent teams as well ( most notably the Penguins ). Good pickup, and a timely one as well. The more set your roster is before the draft the better, IMO.

The Oilers were also reported to have interviewed Paul Maurice for an associate coach position. Now, while I like Maurice, and think he’s a decent coach, I do not like the term assocoiate coach. Never have. If I was a head coach, I would like to hire my own assistants, not have my replacement-in -waiting standing next to me. I understand its a way to soothe some egos, and getting some quality coaches to work together, but to me, its almost like how the Wild tainted having the ‘C’ by rotating it monthly. Just hire a head coach, and let him put his staff together. Its his job to lose, and wouldn’t you want him to have the best chance,in his mind, helping him? Maybe its just me…

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