Watching NHL hockey is my guilty-pop-culture pleasure -- the only sport I follow, and really the only TV I watch. I had a draft post put together of my first-round playoff predictions, but never posted it because I waited too long and it's lame to post predictions once the round has started.
In retrospect, I would have been half right, the same ratio as Maggie the Monkey. Where I went wrong in the East: I thought the Lightning was going to upset New Jersey (or wanted them to, at least), and predicted a Rangers loss. In the West, I bet against "my" team and they proved me wrong yet again. I also thought Minnesota would upset the Ducks, which apparently wasn't even close.
So, just under the wire, here are my second-round predictions (you'd think I would have learned from my earlier failures):
Ducks vs Canucks
Cheering for: Canucks
Prediction: Ducks in 6
Like I said, I've been skeptical about the Canucks' chances of winning all year...even while they were winning. I never thought they'd win the Northwest Division. I thought Dallas was going to whip them last round. To my delight, they keep surprising me and proving me wrong, and I will be cheering for them again, even though I'm fully expecting Anaheim to destroy them. Loungo will be outstanding, Vancouver's second and third liners will pot two or three garbage goals (in the whole series), the Sedins will be hot and cold with Naslund, and the Ducks will dominate. My lack of faith protects me psychologically and seems to ensure that they eke out improbable wins, so here's hoping I'm wrong (yet again).
Detroit vs San Jose
Cheering for: San Jose
Prediction: San Jose in 7
If I thought the Canucks had a chance against Anaheim, I'd probably hope for Detroit (despite my strong dislike for their team) because I don't think Vancouver could beat San Jose. But I'm seeing a Battle of California emerging here and I like San Jose a lot more than Detroit. I'll probably only watch this one through post-game highlights, but it might be the best series in the round.
Sabres vs Rangers
Cheering for: Rangers
Prediction: Buffalo in 6
I couldn't really care less about either of these teams. The Rangers are have more interesting characters and storylines, but I won't likely pay any attention here, never mind actually cheering for either team.
Senators vs Devils
Cheering for: SenatorsOverall, I thought the first round was a bit dull. probably because the Dallas/Vancouver series was such a snoozer. Bad reffing hasn't helped -- if these phantom hooking calls decide who wins the Cup this year, I'll...whine and complain even more. I missed seeing Edmonton pull their playoff shenanigans this year, although it was pleasing to see Calgary's Flamers get knocked out. Any other hockey fans out there? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Prediction: Senators in 6
How could anyone really be a fan of New Jersey? This is probably the only series other than Vancouver/Anaheim where I'll watch the games. I've always liked Ottawa and it's been disappointing to see them flame out in the playoffs every year. They're looking great this season and I'd love to see them crush New Jersey, but I've probably let my bias influence my prediction too much -- the Devils could turn the tables.