Stanley Cup Second Round Preview
tell the hockey fans in offices around the country Wednesday:
they were the folks with bleary eyes (and browsers open to INCH,
of course). After a one-day respite the Stanley Cup Playoffs return
on Thursday, and we're ready with a light-hearted look at the
matchups ahead (if you missed it earlier, check out our first-round
our predictions and our picks for the first round MVPs for each
team – not counting, of course, anyone who didn't play college
surprise in the first round may have been Anaheim’s sweep
of Detroit, but a close second was the dull reaction from octopus
land. Even the Capitals were prepared to point fingers as soon
as they were eliminated (then again, they have years of practice).
Detroit should have recruited Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed
Saeed al-Sahaf to deny that the series ever took place, or insist
that it was actually Cujo wearing the funny duck on his sweater.
Alas, the Dead Things disappeared faster than you could say “family
us with Dallas and Anaheim – those two hockey hotbeds –
and the Stars go from facing the forgiving five-hole of Tommy
Salo to the red-hot J-S Giguere. Giguere is the latest to earn
the “next Patrick Roy” tag, which apparently means
he’ll be giving up back-to-back overtime goals to expansion
teams in a few years. Dallas, meanwhile, expects injured stars
Bill Guerin and Pierre Turgeon to join the offense, which is somewhat
akin to the Yankees making some trades to shore up their starting
First Round College MVPs: Marty Turco gets so much credit
for his puck-handling skills, you’d think he was the most
versatile athlete in Dallas since Danny White played QB and punter
for the Cowboys. As overrated as he is outside the crease, however,
the former Michigan Wolverine gets the job done where it counts
– stopping the puck. At the other end of the rink, Keith
Carney was a horse defensively for the Ducks in the first round,
earning him a slight nod here over fellow Maine alum Paul Kariya.
Also deserving mention is Anaheim’s Jason Krog, whose performance
on Arrowhead Pond’s ice has been impressive (albeit four
years too late for UNH fans).
Prediction: Dallas in seven
think the only way Minnesota could get past star-laden Colorado
in the first round was if they stripped the nameplates off everyone’s
jerseys and let Monica Lewinsky host the series. She might as
well have: the Wild’s personality – smart, gritty,
with a youthful enthusiasm – was on display, especially
in overtime wins in games six and seven. (Aside: did I really
pick a Colorado sweep of Minnesota? While I was at it, I should
have picked UNH to win the national title on espn.com. Oh, wait,
I did that, too. The Cincinnati Bengals have a better track record
with their picks.)
once Vancouver figured out that its search for second-line scoring
was going about as well as the U.S. search for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq, the first line just stepped up and did the
job on its own. That and surprisingly good goaltending from Dan
Cloutier – who really ought to get a new mask, if only to
eliminate comparisons to first-round counterpart Chris Osgood
– helped the Canucks overcome a 3-1 deficit. They’ll
need more of the same to beat the surprising Wild.
First Round College MVPs: Antti Laaksonen epitomized
Minnesota’s style throughout the series, even if he didn’t
make a big impression on the scoresheet. The Denver alum, who
still lives in the Mile High City, may not get such a warm reception
from his neighbors this summer. Michigan grad Brendan Morrison,
the George Lazenby to Naslund and Bertuzzi’s Sean Connery
and Roger Moore, had a goal and an assist in game seven, and was
a force on faceoffs throughout the series.
Prediction: Minnesota in seven
have a rooting interest in a Stanley Cup Playoff game? Here
are a few of Inside College Hockey’s guidelines to
help you decide who to cheer for.
Root for whoever’s behind in the series: Every hockey
fan wants as many games to be played as possible. Along
those lines, there’s nothing worse than a sweep –
and nothing better than a game seven.
Root for the college guys: We always like to pull for the
club with good college representation, especially if the
guys played for your favorite team. Resist the temptation
to root against guys who left school early – the fact
that they’re here shows that they probably made the
right choice. Make an exception, however, if it’s
the Calder Cup Playoffs you’re watching: feel free
to boo the Providence Bruins when Andy Hilbert and Jeff
Jillson ought to be in Maize and Blue.
Root against college enemies: The rest of the hockey world
may have forgotten the time that Brian Gionta took a dive
against your team, then set up the game-winner on the ensuing
power play. Doesn’t mean you have to. Go Lightning.
Root against the Philadelphia Flyers. Doesn’t this
go without saying?
Root for long overtimes: Along the lines of the as-many-games-as-possible
rule, you root for more hockey. And it says great things
about your priorities when your eyelids are drooping, you’re
calculating in your head how many minutes of sleep you might
get before the next morning’s big meeting, but you’re
still hoping that the game goes on.
made several key additions to add toughness this year, which was
as out of character as the French developing a bullying army.
Nevertheless, it’s worked so far, as the Sens’ beat
the New York Islanders so quickly that they had time to visit
the golf courses they’re accustomed to playing each spring.
Plus, Philly’s win over Toronto ensures that Ottawa won’t
get raked up by the Leafs for a fourth straight season.
got what could be a great matchup between the East’s two
best defensive teams in the first round. Between Jeremy Roenick,
Tony Amonte, John LeClair, Mark Recchi, Keith Primeau and more,
you’d think the Flyers would be able to muster more than
the two goals they scored in last year’s five-game series
with the Senators – which was a performance as inspiring
as Sylvester Stallone’s idea to make Rocky into
a musical, to speak of another Philly tragedy.
First Round College MVPs: Coming off a career-best 60-point
regular season, former Hobey Baker runner-up Todd White registered
three goals in Ottawa’s five-game series. New Clarkson head
coach George Roll – who, as an assistant, recruited White
to Potsdam – must be smiling. On the Flyers’ side,
former Maine Black Bear Eric Weinrich stands tied for second on
the team in scoring with 2-3—5, all while helping overcome
the loss of Eric Desjardins to injury. Now if he’d just
do something about that bright yellow snowmobile visor he’s
Prediction: Ottawa in six
Jersey vs. Tampa Bay
seeing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs
was about as likely as Geraldo Rivera and Peter Arnett turning
up at a USO rally. And yet here they are, having dispatched the
Washington Capitals and Chemical Olie in six games. They face
the New Jersey Devils, a franchise so dull that it can win a Stanley
Cup and still be best remembered for David Puddy’s face-painting
episode on Seinfeld.
of this series could hinge on a Martin vs. Martin showdown, as
Eric Perrin’s old linemate, Martin St. Louis, tries to keep
his hot streak alive against Vezina favorite Martin Brodeur. Here’s
hoping it doesn’t inspire Martin Lawrence and Martin Sheen
to team up in an odd-couple movie along the lines of Anger Management.
First Round College MVPs: Nikolai Khabibulin was great
in games five and six, but if it wasn’t for St. Louis, the
Lightning would be watching the second round from home between
trips to the Mons Venus, the most famous men’s club south
of Augusta National. His move to the top line with Vincent Lecavalier
and Vaclav Prospal created a chemistry not unlike his time in
Vermont alongside Perrin and J.C. Ruid. New Jersey’s first-round
win was keyed by the efforts of another undersized ex-collegian,
as John Madden shut down Joe Thornton and chipped in eight points
of his own. The former Wolverine will probably be assigned to
Lecavalier, so we can expect a few run ins between Madden and
St. Louis along the way.
Prediction: New Jersey in six