By Chris Gift
Sixteen days, eight teams, and three Game Sevens later, the "Conference Quarterfinals" (aka the First Round) have come to a close. What did we learn?
Shockingly, we found out that Versus has put enough of their hunting and UFC shows on temporary hiatus to broadcast games on nights other than Monday and Tuesday.
We found out that while Detroit may be an extremely flimsy top seed in the West, Nashville couldn't win at "the Joe" and didn't hold serve at the place that used to be called "the Gay."
The Pittsburgh/Ottawa series didn't tell us anything we didn't know. Pittsburgh is really good, and Ottawa was an absolute disaster for most of the season. From a loud-mouthed goaltender to a coaching change, not even acquiring Cup magnet Cory Stillman could save the Sens' season.
Our friends in Montreal were given a scare, until Tim Thomas decided to play the part of Roman Turek in Game Seven. Our consensus pick to win, San Jose, was given a scare until Mike Keenan decided to play the part of Mike Keenan in their Game Seven.
But what has changed, if anything?
Granted, the sexy pick of Washington to make it to the Finals has gone the way of the Mike Ricci crew cut.
Just a few things to ponder/comment about:
Now that both teams' have completed their seasons, who came out as the winner of the Andy McDonald for Doug Weight deal?
Where will Ray Emery end up?
Has Martin Brodeur won his last Stanley Cup? How much does he weigh?
Is anybody else getting tired of Doc Emrick calling Ed Olcyzk "Edzo?"
Let's hear some predictions and some "boy was I wrongs."
For those of you that ignored the Opening Round, here are the matchups for Round 2:
# 1 Detroit vs. # 6 Colorado
# 2 San Jose vs. # 5 Dallas
#1 Montreal vs. #6 Philadelphia
# 2 Pittsburgh vs. # 5 New York Rangers
I'll stand by two of my original picks and still pick San Jose to win it all with Super Joe Thornton to win the Conn Smythe, but that Washington pick isn't looking so good anymore, is it?
So here goes...again: The teams to advance will be
San Jose over Colorado in the West Finals
Montreal over Pittsburgh in the East.
Then again, if that's wrong, I'll change it again for the next round.