Man, is it ever dead out here on the West Coast. No car flags, no silly slogans, no mayor's bets - just the solemn CSI-style picking and prodding of the graying Canucks corpse. Meanwhile back east (everywhere east of the Rockies), conditions in playoff cities are about 10 degrees warmer and a heck of a lot sunnier. I am already a bit worried about my playoff karma. The time change will certainly throw me off stride - depending on the intensity of my workload, I may be stuck listening in during the critical 4:00 to 6:00 PM pacific time frame - though with Cole and Millen calling the play, I may have to throw on Schreibs and Gordo from the Team just to drown them out.
I suppose you're interested in my playoff picks? Well, I'll preface them with a recap of my regular season foresight and an amusing story of a guy I used to know - let's call him "Al" - to serve as a stern warning to those inclined to gamble with fools and to disabuse anyone of the notion that I have any idea what I'm talking about. In fact, if you must bet, you might want to put money on the exact opposite of whatever I recommend.
So, my season started out here at the BoA round table. Roenick's bombing, Hasek's mind-body split and Spezza's 90 points weren't particularly daring predictions, although I did warn everyone the inter-divisional reruns were bound to get boring! I called a Vancouver-Ottawa final with Ottawa legitimately securing the cup only if they dispatched the Leafs first. [shrug] Maybe next year, you never know. The season ended with a perfectly average 10th place finish over at the Yahoo! Blog Hockey League. Note that the Ancapistan A's were in tough against many net notables including several of the BoO co-bloggers. Not a half bad record though, eh?
Well, when there's money on the line, it's an even worse situation. A bunch of the engineers at UofO (including frequent BoO commenter geeiwonder) used to do the hockey pool thing. Al was the guy bold enough to just throw his $20 into the kitty without any prior hockey knowledge whatsoever. The 97-98 draft, made in the dark confines of the now gutted Nox pub, confirmed our initial assessment of his GM skills. His voice boomed with confidence as he announced his coveted first pick - Mario Lemieux! Only slightly humbled, and politely directed to the non-retired, non-cancer-ridden players, Al later thought he hit the jackpot with a juicy pick that had been left lying on the table - "Konstantinov!" he blurted out to a roar of laughter. After boredom set in midway through the season, he attempted an outrageous trade whereby he sent half his team (including Ed Belfour) to a front runner in exchange for a case of beer. At least one pool member would not be laughing at these antics by the end of the season, however. Yours truly finished dead last - Al having edged me by one single point in the final weekend of the season (you'll never guess who went on to make - and win - an almost impossible bet that the Senators would pull off a first round upset of the Devils).
With all that said, I believe the final four will be all Red Teams. That's right - you're going to see more black and red flags this June than the Spanish Civil War. I've got Calgary coming out of the West and....no, I can't jinx them...uh, another team with black and red in their jerseys. Why yes, my pool is indeed full of Buffalo guys. Not because Chris Drury is such a clutch dude or anything, but merely to ensure I run the table should Buffalo get to be this year's Holy Shit How Did This Team End Up In The Final team.
There you go - you have all been warned!