Like many people, I love cheering for an underdog. There’s something rewarding about backing an unlikely team against popular opinion, not to mention that an underdog’s success feels like our own success by proxy as we all see ourselves as underdogs in some way. Seeing a sports team unexpectedly defeat a superior opponent makes us believe that we can defeat those who we see as superior than ourselves.
But that’s getting too introspective and making me look like I have an inferiority complex. Let’s take a look at all eight of the first round playoff series and why each of them will assuredly be an upset (and also why they absolutely won’t).
One of these teams was predicted to make the playoffs, the other to finish last in the Eastern Conference. Funny how things work out, eh? (Francois Lacasse, Getty Images)
On Saturday, in my weekly Bottoms Up feature on the NHL basement, I looked back at some of the expert predictions prior to the start of the season for who would finish at the bottom of the standings and how they compare to the actual results. While very few of the predictions were completely accurate, they weren’t as far off-base as I expected. While everyone was wrong about the Ottawa Senators, for the most part the teams that were predicted to finish at the bottom of the standings will indeed be missing the playoffs.
But what about the top of the standings? With the division and conference winners all but decided, now is a good time to look back at who the experts expected to lead the way.
It’s been a while, and I may tattoo myself to remember to do this more often, but here are my picks for tonight’s NHL games – many of which will be crucial when we look back at how things shook out down the stretch come April. In two tweets, I relayed my score line predictions:
Today’s NHL Game predictions: NYR 3 – NJ 1; PHI 2 – NYI 1; FLA 4 – WAS 3; MIN 3 – CLB 2; PIT 3 – MTL 1; OTT 4 – STL 2; LA 3 – TB 2 …
For what it’s worth, I’ve been better this year picking games straight up than the Over/Under or whatever else you may be throwing your money down on. In terms of official picks which have been posted on this blog/twitter I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-11 (slow nights, eh?), though I should really make a spreadsheet or something to keep better track of these things. (*Opens Microsoft Excel)
Best part of the NHL All-Star Game: more glamour shots of hockey players. Funniest thing ever.
Sometimes I feel like I am the only hockey blogger who loves the All-Star Game. Is it a glorified pond hockey game devoid of importance? Of course. But it’s a glorified pond hockey game featuring the best players in the NHL having a great time. Besides, is any hockey game truly important in the grand scheme of things? I think everyone should lighten up just a little when it comes to complaining about the All-Star Game and just enjoy it for what it is.
I find the All-Star Game a lot of fun. It’s nice to see the NHL’s best taking a break from treating hockey like a business and once again enjoying it as a game.
Of course, even though it is a frivolous event doesn’t mean that we can’t take our enjoyment of it seriously. I’ve taken it upon myself to make a series of super-serious predictions about the 2012 All-Star Weekend, from the draft to the skills competition to the game itself. Keep in mind, my track record for predictions is poor.
Given that they’ve become a bit of a cult thing with a couple of folks here at theScore (cranes neck), I’ve decided that tonight is a “Chris ought to post his picks night” given that there are 10 games and it would be a lot of fun.
On the last two Chris pick nights, I’m 9-6 and I haven’t kept track before those. I usually do pretty well. Take them as you must. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the part where I pretend to be some sort of “expert” and convince you all that I know what I’m talking about. However, these are all speculative and I am only an expert if the replay dictates that I am.
I'm taking Malkin and the Pens over the Blackhawks tonight
I thought it might be fun for Backhand Shelf to make its foray into score prediction sorcery tonight as I’ll give you my picks for game winners and fantasy leaders. Don’t forget to check back later tonight for my “Box Score” where I run down the top fantasy performers of the night. Now, time to consult the hockey gods… Read the rest of this entry »