By Sean Gallagher
After the first round of predictions, I have managed to open up a big lead on my hockey-fan offspring, the Son of GT. This has proved a couple things: first, I have no problem dominating a small child, even if it seems mean and even if he is related to me. It's a tough world, kid, might as well learnÂ that at home.Â Second, in true Gallagher family fashion, he doesn't seem to care that he's getting beaten, managing to step up his trash talk and over-confident boasting. Granted, his trash talk is kindergarten level and doesn't always make sense, but hey, I admire his inability to face defeat.
After the first round, I lead the pint-sized trash-talker with a stellarÂ 6-2 record to his 3-5 record. In order to keep things interesting, I'm going to make second round points worth double (subsequent rounds will quadruple and eightuple/octuple/whatevertuple so that each round counts the same as the round before it - thus keeping this competetion wide open until the end).
So to officialize this thing, Game Time, LLC leads the Son of GT 6 to 3. Take that, you pint sized ankle biter.Â
On to the second round picks - picks which, for whatever reason, SoGT decided to make picks and keep his comments and decision-making ideas to himself. I think the little bastage thinks he's keeping me from freeloading on his picks. I tell you, this kid....
(1) Detroit vs (5) San Jose
My pick: San Jose in six games. Detroit continues to defy the rules of pro sports where good teams get old and have to shrivel, die and be re-born. On top of that the two goddamn "kids" in Datsyuk and Zetterberg are not invisible this playoff, so they couldÂ continue to press on. However, the Sharks are bigger, meaner, faster and have scoring through three lines. Their defense is better asÂ a whole and I still don't think that Hasek is as good as he has seemed.
I couldn't pick the Wings if I wanted to, but I actually believe the Sharks will win this one unless they too start to believe the Wings hype.Â
SoGT: San Jose in five games because they're better and you said them first, so....Â And Bill Guerin is on that team.
[This Guerin thing is something else. Amazing what one two-minute meet-n-greet can do to a kid. Guerin is still No. 3 on his list of favorite Blues behind Hull and Federko, but he has a total of 61 games as a Blue and will most certainly never be back. But I bet SoGT will love that guy forever. Childhood is great -Â could you ever become totally fascinated with something or someone in just two minutes at this point of your life?]
(2) Anaheim vs (3) Vancouver
My pick: Anaheim is the better team anyway, but that seven game series against Dallas, plus over a game's worth of OT took a toll on the Canucks. I'm no Duck fan, and I'm now a Roberto Luongo fan, but the Canucks' gas tank is at about a quarter and the Ducks' is full. Kudos to Vancouver for an entertaining series - best of the first round, actually, but go ahead and plan on that big team trip to Vegas starting in aboutÂ 10 days.Â
SoGT: Ducks in four games. Four is good, right? Four.
[I tried to get more out of him on this because there is virtually no reason for him to pick a sweep, but this kid is not going to crack under pressure. Not that I ever hope that my whole family finds itself in "Law & Order" type questioning where the detectives try to split the accomplices and get them to roll over on each other, but if it ever happens, I guarantee the wife rolls over faster than the kid does. Am I a bad parent for finding that cool? Even if it does, I don't care. That is cool]
(1) Buffalo vs (6) NY Rangers
My pick: I was very impressed with the Rangers in the first round. They put down a good Thrashers squad like they were a bad Panthers squad. The damn series looked like a mercy killing.Â This series looks to get nasty as the Rangers are going to try to bully a smaller, speedier, more potent through the lineup squad. TheÂ Sabres have had injury issues at key times the last couple years (the conference finals last year and down the stretch this season) and the Rangers are counting on winning a battle of attrition.
In the end, IÂ think the Sabres survive this round in seven, but it probably kills their Stanley Cup dreams.
SoGT: Buffalo in four games because they're the first place team.
[The Buffalo Lightsabers thing continues on. SoGT already has a Stanley Cup bet in place with my wife where if his team, the Sabres, beats her team, the Ducks, he reaps some giant reward. I don't think they've settled it yet, but I know he was working some sort of "toy a day for 7 days" angle that I'm sure won't fly, but I admire his starting point for negotiations. Picking SC winners before round 1 seems like a crazy proposition, but they both picked solid teams, I think. Maybe I should just hand this GT franchise off to them. There'd be considerably less rambling, for sure.]
(2) New Jersey vs (4) Ottawa
My pick: I think this series goes the distance as well as the Devils' lesser offense picks away at Ray Emery while the Sens' more potent offense hammers away at a difficult to beat Martin Brodeur.Â This also feels like a long, brutal series that taxes the eventual winner to the point where they have little chance of winning a Cup. Flipping a coin,
I like the Sens' chances in a Game 7 over the Devils even though I would almost always pick Brodeur as my Game 7 goalie in almost any scenario.
[I realized this morning that the boy and I made all the same picks. In the interest of keeping some semblance of a competition, I've changed my coin flip to take the Devils and their goalie in 7. That probably dooms them, by the way.]
SoGT: Probably Ottawa because they're so good. I think they're gonna win in six games.
[Seriously, the kid has seen Ottawa play maybe two times this year. I'm starting to consider the possibility that one of you jackholes is feeding this kid info.]