It’s here, it’s here! It’s Stanley Cup Final morning!

At this point most people are aware that a monkey is only slightly less adept (though occasionally more) and predicting the outcome of playoff hockey series than “experts,” but whatever, we’re gonna swing at another pitch here and hope to hit one out of the park.

We have had some shining moments from the crew though this playoff season – I managed a positive record, Cam Charron called the Kings success (boldly predicting them to beat his President’s Trophy winning team, the Canucks, in six games), and Ms. Conduct predicted “mutual destruction” in the Flyers/Penguins series, which was the most bang-on call of any expert out there.

We’ve all got our reasons why (I’ll lay mine out below), but here’s what the Backhand Shelf crew sees coming over the next two weeks:

Humans Winner Games Conn Smythe
 Justin Bourne  Kings 7  Quick
Ellen Etchingham  Kings 6 Kopitar
Cam Charron  Kings 5 Quick
Daniel Wagner  Devils 6 Kovalchuk
 Ms. Conduct  Devils 6  Brodeur
Joseph Casciaro  Kings 6 Quick
Chris Lund  Devils 6 Parise
Jo Innes  Kings 7 Quick
Ryan Lambert  Kings 6 Quick

Personal explanation:

I think the Kings combination of youth and rest are going to make a big difference later in this series. It’ll allow them to maintain their energy on the forecheck, win some crucial battles, and just generally out-work the League’s oldest team, New Jersey.

I was closer to picking the Kings in 6 than Devils in 7 for another reason: I think at this stage of their respective careers, Jonathan Quick is head-and-shoulders better than Martin Brodeur, and any weak goal allowed can suck the life out of your team, who’s been battling for every inch. We saw one center ice bomb go in on Quick, but other than that he’s been an absolute wall. As Brodeur’s gotten older he’s started to look a little less…consistent.

(I won’t fault him for the game-tying goal, but that Eric Staal shot? Ugh.)

The Devils pure talent and their forecheck should make it a fast, interesting series though. They certainly aren’t pushovers, I think LA just has too much going for them this year to lose.

Of Note:

* Seven votes for the Kings, three for the Devils, and the only guy who doesn’t think the series is going all that long is Cam Charron. If Cam’s right, and the Kings just plow through New Jersey as they have everyone else, that will have been one mighty impressive playoff run.

* Wagner did a last-minute flip-flop on his picks, and I like where he’s headed. Right now you can get fairly good odds on Ilya Kovalchuk to win the Conn Smythe (5.5-1 on bodog.ca). I also like Joseph Casciaro’s against-the-grain pick because I’m pretty sure Zach Parise (12-1 odds) is going to have a monster series – if the Devils win, he’ll have been a huge part of it.

* Five Quick-picks (like the lottery!) for the Conn Smythe, making him the Backhand Shelf favourite. If you read the post on his playoff numbers by Casciaro this morning, you’ll understand why.

***

Well, here we go hockey fans! Everything is back on schedule here at the site here too – we’ll have a podcast posted later today, and the “Noteworthy” posts will resume the day after games. Enjoy.

Comments (14)

  1. An awful lot of bandwagon Kings fans these days. I remember when Philly and NYR were going to roll over the Devils too. Keep underestimating them…we’ll see.

    No doubt it’ll be a tough series either way, but the way the experts have been talking, you’d think the Kings were unbeatable. I’m not so sure. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to 8 days off.

    • “It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to 8 days off.”

      Because lots of time off hurt them against Phoenix and St. Louis.

      • I’m just saying we’ll see. It may do nothing, but the stop and go doesn’t keep you warm like the Devils playing a longer series against a similar NYR team.

    • “An awful lot of bandwagon Kings fans these days”.

      At this point in their playoff run, I think they’ve earned it. Clearly NJ has proven to be a very good team too, and I don’t see this being a short series, but it shouldn’t be any surprise that people are picking the Kings to win this.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see so many new Kings fans. It’s good for hockey and good for the LA market. That said, I don’t think they are quite as unbeatable as they seem. It’ll be a long hard series that could go either way.

        • The Kings have always been a well-supported team. They sold out all but one of their home games this season, something that I feel quite confident in saying that the Devils have never been able to boast.

          • I’ve been to a ton of Kings games. Yes, the games are sold out, but half the seats are empty.

            I was referring more to the numerous predictions that the Kings would steamroll the Devils than the attendance, however.

        • I assumed your bandwagon comment was in reference to all of the analyst support they have been getting lately, rather than just actual fans liking the team.

          NJ is definitely a good team and i also expect a tough, long series. But I think the Kings are favored due to how well they have played and the quality of teams they have beaten.

          I absolutely believe they win this series, but good luck to your boys. Either way i hope its a good series.

          • Either result will be exciting – Devils and Brodeur winning another cup or the Kings winning their first. Can’t go wrong. I think that much has been made of the Kings quick wins, which have been impressive. I have to say though that Phoenix and St. Louis were overrated teams with deep flaws. The Devils will be more balanced than those two teams – that may or may not translate into wins, but in any event it should be an awesome series.

  2. Pizzo isn’t making a pick? I’m sure we’ll find out on the podcast today but surprised he wasn’t mentioned here.

    • You will all have to wait for my expose of the behind-the-scenes political machinations of the Backhand Shelf to discover why Pizzo is making neither a pick nor Points these days. With exclusive insider access and hundreds of hours of interviews, “Bourne Under A Bad Sign” will answer all your questions about the quiet yet palpable shunting aside of Pizzo, as we see him stripped of his responsibilities and cut out of the loop. For only $99, you can pre-order your copy today!

  3. Out on a limb here…. Cam Janssen sees exactly 00.00 worth of playing time… might have excellent quote somewhere in there though :-P

  4. It’s bad voodoo to bring up playoff failures of years gone by, Justin. Sure, Marty gave up a bad goal in a really important spot in the past. Law of Averages. Every goalie is going to let in a howler once in a while. Once in a while, though, he’ll stop shots he has no business stopping. Ask Gaborik about that one.

    Only reason we don’t have the same type of dirt on Quick is because he hasn’t been around all that long. Discounting this season, Quick has had 12 playoff appearances. Compared to Marty and his gajillion.

    What I’m trying to get at is that Marty has 3 cups, and the experiences he has in the playoffs – good and bad – have to count for something when comparing the two, no?

    • Yep, anyone who has played as many playoff games as Marty will have good, bad, and ugly highlights from the playoffs. That Carolina games was certainly among his lowlights. He’s always been lights-out in the finals though.

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