NHL Playoff Predictions According To Your Mom: A Guest Post about Hockey Jerseys and the Eastern Conference Matchups
by Eric Sylvester, special to The Daily Cocca.
All right, all you puck heads! It’s that magical time of the year you’ve all been waiting for! THE ROAD TO THE STANLEY CUP!
Ok, ok. In all honesty, I get it. There aren’t that many hockey fans in America. Which is a shame, really, as the NHL playoffs are the most exciting in all of sports. Every year, I drag a few non-hockey fans kicking and screaming to a television and throw on some playoff hockey, and every year those same non-hockey fans end up watching the rest of the playoffs on their own. There are more storylines than WWE’s Smackdown. There is more drama than Days of our Lives. There’s more personal vendetta and bad blood than The Wire. It’s violent, passionate, fast, creative, graceful, and brutal all at once. There’s nothing like the NHL playoffs.
One of the beautiful things about the NHL playoffs is its unpredictability. Anybody can win any series, no matter who is playing. So, how do you pick a winner in a league where the Western Conference saw the 1,2,3, and 5 seeds advance, while the East had the 4,6,7, and 8 seeds advance after the first round? The answer? You can’t. I worship hockey. I study it. I listen to call-in hockey shows daily. I read blogs daily. And you have as good of a chance as I do to pick the winners. So? We’re going with a tried and true method. Jerseys.
Don’t laugh. My mom has dominated her office March Madness pool for years now making her picks taking only the seed, the team nickname, and the team’s jerseys into account. She literally picked VCU to win the first round based solely on the fact that it sounds like a Russian guy saying “we see you”.
Ok, that was a lie. But it wouldn’t surprise me if that actually happened.
Anyway, I watched no less than 75 NHL games last year on TV, and picked 2 of the 8 opening series’ correctly. I’m going to bite the bullet, stop making fun of my mom’s methods, and use her system. So, without further adieu, I give you…
ERIC SYLVESTER’S STONE COLD LOCKS OF THE CENTURY OF THE WEEK: Eastern Conference Edition.
#1 Washington Capitals VS # 8 New York Rangers.
This is a very interesting matchup. Washington uses a throwback logo on a new jersey design, while the Ranger’s scheme is classic and generally untouched in the last 20 years. I want to pick New York here. It’s the right move as a hockey purist. The diagonal “Rangers” jersey is a timeless look that has been emulated at every level of hockey. But there’s just something about those Caps jerseys I can’t get enough of. They’re flashy, but not overpowering, and the white looks just as clean as the red. This is one of the more interesting jersey matchups in the first round.
WASHINGTON IN 7
#2 Philadelphia Flyers VS #7 Buffalo Sabres
One of the easier matchups to pick. While both logos are timeless, the integration of new styles on Buffalo’s jerseys blow away the awkward white shoulder stripes in Philly. Plus, Chris Pronger (pictured) is kind of an a-hole.
BUFFALO IN 6
#3 Boston Bruins VS #6 Montreal Canadiens
(Had to use images of Boston’s Tim Thomas and Montreal’s Carey Price, as these two goalies got into a fight earlier this year).
This is, hands down, the most difficult matchup to pick in the entire NHL playoffs. Both teams are Original Six teams. Both teams have iconic jerseys that haven’t been altered in years. Both have perfect jerseys. And I’m a personal fan of both teams. So, we’re going to pick this one the same way they pick the president. Heads is Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins because Thomas has a gigantic head; tails is Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens because Carey Price has to be getting more tail than any man in Montreal. (Pause for laughter…) Aaaaaaand it looks like… Wow. The coin landed on its edge. Even my quarter is indecisive. But on a second flip, it’s:
MONTREAL IN 7 (Side note: since my Avalanche finished third from the bottom of the NHL this year…ugh… I’ll be supporting Montreal this playoff season).
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins VS #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Absolute no brainer. The fat penguin is a hockey staple, and Tampa Bay is trying too hard to look like Flash Gordon on ice. Plus? Look at the breezers (pants) the Lightning wear. No contest.
PENGUINS IN 3, ERR, I MEAN 4.
After that, I’ve got the Capitals over the Sabres in 6 (note: the NHL re-seeds in the second round of the playoffs, so the highest remaining seed always plays the lowest remaining seed), the Canadiens over the Penguins in 6, and the Canadiens moving to the Stanley Cup finals in 5.
You heard it here first.
Eric Sylvester is a junior at the University of Northern Iowa studying secondary social science education with an emphasis on political education, although he can’t tell you a thing about any politician not named Ron Paul. And all he knows about Ron Paul is that he appears to be roughly 156 years old. Eric hopes to graduate in 2031, and when he isn’t playing hockey, getting rejected by women who are out of his league, or making plans to maybe someday down the road consider cleaning his dorm room, he writes for Sylvester Says, a blog that is accidentally visited by over seven people a month. He currently is the lead guitarist for (band name TBD), a (genre TBD) band out of (bandmates’ permanent residences TBD). Mr. Sylvester loves to hold philosophy textbooks in public locations while peering over the top of them to check out the ladies in the area, yet surprisingly, Eric is single despite having a head too small for his beak-like nose and his obsession with Kevin Smith podcasts and movies. Mr. Sylvester has seen The Big Lebowski over fifty times and read Hemingway almost one time. He loves responding to comments on his Sylvester Says blog, and has gained many friends who happen to be Nigerian princes who will one day give him back a countless return on his $2,000 investment. Visit his blog, and join the countless tens of readers who agree, Sylvester Says “could be better”.
Ed. note: look for Eric’s take on the Western Conference playoffs soon at The Daily Cocca. In the meantime, do visit Sylvester Says, and tell ’em Cocca sent you. Many, many thanks to Eric for producing this great debut piece even though I couldn’t pay him in old She-Ra episodes. Wait a minute. Yes I can.
Ed. note PART II: special, special thanks to Paul Lukas, he of UniWatch fame. I’ve written about Paul’s amazing blog a few times here on TDC, and we’re honored to have been linked to there today. Thanks, Paul!!!! You’re the best!