Thursday, May 04, 2006

Correction: In The Article Dated April 19th...

After one round of play, 63 Years and Counting has returned to walk you through the first round. Our predictions did not go so hot, we will admit, but then again, did anyone predict both Detroit and Dallas would be eliminated? No you didn't, liar. Our first round record was 4 for 8, which, while not terrible, hardly speaks to our knowledge of hockey.

Without further ado, a first round recap of where we went wrong (and right).

Ottawa (1) vs Tampa Bay (8)
What we said: Ottawa 4, Tampa 2
What happened: Ottawa 4, Tampa 1

So it looks like we gave Tampa Bay a bit too much credit on this one. But betting against Ottawa is a fools game. This one was a no-brainer.

Carolina (2) vs Montreal (7)
What we said: Montreal 4, Carolina 3
What happened: Carolina 4, Montreal 2

We went with our hearts on this one, and got burned. Though for the first two games, in which Montreal jumped out to a two game lead, we looked like geniuses. But the loss of captain Saku Koivu and the insertion of Can Ward into the Carolina net were too much for Les Habitants to handle. We still maintain though, that had Koivu stayed in the series, it would be Montreal advancing, and not the Hurricanes.

New Jersey (3) vs New York (6)
What we said: New Jersey 4, New York 1
What happened: New Jersey 4, New York 0

We saw this smackering coming from a mile away. New Jersey was just too hot, and New York relied on Jaromir Jagr just a bit too much for it to end any other way. We did think though, that Jagr would be good for at least one Ranger win. Whoops.

Buffalo (4) vs Philadelphia (5)
What we said: Philadelphia 4, Buffalo 3
What happened: Buffalo 4, Philadelphia 2

In retrospect, this series was painfully obvious right from the start. But we, wrongly, believed that the Flyers combo of strength and Peter Forsberg would shut down the Sabre's speed. Scores of 8-2 and 7-1 in Buffalo's favour would seem to cast some doubt on this though. If we could go back and redo this, we would take Buffalo in a heartbeat.

Detroit (1) vs Edmonton (8)
What we said: Detroit 4, Edmonton 1
What happened: Edmonton 4, Detroit 2

This one was ugly. The Oilers have gone and knocked off our picks for the Stanley Cup Champ, in the first round no less. We didn't see this one coming. Perhaps the criticism that has dogged the Red Wings all season, that their record was inflated by playing 24 games against punching bag teams like Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis, holds some merit after all. Either way, this a big upset, and questions will probably be asked in Detroit.

Dallas (2) vs Colorado (7)
What we said: Dallas 4, Colorado 2
What happened: Colorado 4, Dallas 1

I don't think many people in the hockey world predicted Dallas just rolling over to the Avs when this series began. Who could have foreseen the meltdown of Marty Turco? Who could have foreseen the dominance of the Avs? Who could have foreseen the return to form of Jose Theodore? Not us, that's for sure.

Calgary (3) vs Anaheim (6)
What we said: Anaheim 4, Calgary 2
What happened: Anaheim 4, Calgary 3

This is the prediction we're most proud of, because a) not too many had this happening, and b) we really don't like Calgary. The final score of the final game was Anaheim 3, Calgary 0, a fitting end for a team that struggled to score goals all season.

Nashville (4) vs San Jose (5)
What we said: San Jose 4, Nashville 2
What happened: San Jose 4, Nashville 1

This was another no-brainer. San Jose was way too hot, and Nashville was relying on some no name goalie, which meant an easy win for the Sharks. It's interesting to note that the Sharks won despite getting little production from their Richard-Hart combo of Cheechoo and Thornton. If they can manhandle Nashville with those guys just coasting along, imagine what they'll do once they get going.

It's intesting to note that in the East, all the topseeded teams advanced (Ottawa, Carolina, New Jersey, Buffalo) while in the West, all the top seeded teams flamed out (Detroit, Dallas, Calgary, Nashville). Coincidence? We'll leave that to you to decide. But it makes us feel confident that this year's Cup will go to the east side, in the form of either New Jersey or Ottawa (we're not sure which yet).

In other news, the Jays won a tight one in Fenway last night, taking a 7-6 win over Boston, curtesy of a late Russ Adams double off (formerly) lights out closer Jonathon Papelbon. That would be the first run Papelbon has given up all season, and it came at the worst possible time.

Speaking of sparkling closers, how good is is the decision to bring in B.J Ryan looking now? He has six saves, none blown and no runs against through one month of play. Granted, the Jays haven't needed his services as much as maybe they thought they would, but that's probably a good thing.



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