The only positive part of the end of the ski season is the fact that it bleeds seamlessly into the intensity of NHL Playoffs! Unfortunately my beloved New Jersey Devils are currently in rebuilding mode and are sitting this one out… but, mark my words, 2016 is gonna be our year! Anyway, there is some great hockey coming and Peru Nordic loves hockey… especially Hockey during the NHL Playoffs.
The 2 month test to see who gets to lift the 7th greatest trophy in sports begins tonight! (FYI #1 Viking Helmet, #2 Peru Nordic National Championship Shield, #3 Ragnarök Mjolnir, #4 Tour de Ski Chalice, #5 Superbowl of Skiing Foam Finger, and #6 Deathskinada Death’s Head, duh) Here’s the Official Peru Nordic Take on the big tournament’s first round match-ups, brought to you by Peru Nordic’s #1 hockey expert, the Harvester of Sorrow:
OTTAWA vs MONTREAL… This is a tough one because these are two “local” teams for Peru, and my two favorite teams behind the Devs. The edge has to go to Montreal because of Carey Price in goal, but the way upstart Ottawa has played recently, they have been impossible to beat… Plus the Hamburglar can show he’s the real deal… Will he be like LaLime or Roy? Time will tell. Imagine the intensity of a 10 km freestyle race between Mike “Go Habs Go” Wynn and Jan “Let’s Go Sens” Wellford. Canadiens in 6.
TAMPA BAY vs DETROIT… Ride the Lightning! Stamkos and the rest will easily tear through the wings…. especially with Detroit’s somewhat shaky goaltending…. It will be like a West Mountain Hillclimb race between Stan “Bolts!” Hatch and Rene “Are they still the Adirondack Red Wings?” Clarke. Should be no contest, Tampa Bay in 5.
NY RANGERS vs PITTSBURGH… Ugh… Rangers SUCK!!! However, they are a really strong team and the Penguins defense is basically minor-league. Lundqvist is probably better than Fleury in net. BUT, the Pens have Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, arguably two of the best players in the world… And Fleury has won a cup (Lundqvist not so much). Hoping for a Pens upset win, but probably won’t happen. It’s like a 50 km classic marathon between Keith “Steel City” Kogut vs Bob “1940” Underwood. It may be close at times, but really should be an easy series,
Rangers in 5... I can’t do it… Fuck the Rangers, Penguins in 7. Let’s go Pens!
NY ISLANDERS vs WASHINGTON… This should be a great series. The Islanders’ Jon Taveres is quickly becoming the best player in the game. And, Alex Ovechkin has had an incredible season. This should be a battle… I would give the edge to the Caps goaltending, Holtby has had a good season, and I don’t trust Halak. Although, he did bring Montreal to the conference final not that long ago . It will be like a 25 km freestyle kort-loppet battle between Brian “District of Columbia” White and Kevin “Strong Island” Prickett. Islanders in 6.
ANAHEIM vs WINNIPEG…The Ducks are a powerhouse, but Winnipeg is a big fast team, too. Both have unproven goaltending. It’s like skiing porter with Ed “Flying Vee” Lis and Joe “Atlanta Thrashers” Korzinecki, there are a lot of ways it could go, but whichever way the series goes it’s going to be a grueling grind of a series leaving the victor battered and scarred. Ducks in 7
MINNESOTA vs St LOUIS
I am picking the Wild in this one. Dubnyk has been a stellar goalie, the Hamburglar of the Western Conference. The Blues are a deep team, but they are a team cursed never to win it all. Imagine Amanda “Mall of America” Zullo vs Janet “Gateway Arch” Findlay racing for the women’s crown in the ESWG’s. You would give the nod to Janet, she outskied Amanda most of the year, but when it comes down to the wire, she gets distracted by a Ski-O event… Wild in 6.
CHICAGO vs NASHVILLE… Patrick Kane is back! This should give the Hawks a boost. But, the Predators are a deep team with one of the best goalies on earth, Pekka Rinne. And I am a huge fan of Defenseman Seth Jones… This is a toss-up, like a sprint to gauntlet stadium between Chris “Music City” Rose and Jim “Broad Shoulders” Kobak. I’m picking the Preds in 7.
VANCOUVER vs CALGARY… Another all-Canada matchup, eh? Calgary has been red-hot. Vancouver has had a solid year. Both teams have suspect goaltending, but have been getting the job done. This one will be like Peter “Canuckle Sandwich.” Minde skiing the back to back 50 kms at the Gatineau Loppet against Bob “Stampede!” Maswick. It could be hard to watch at times, but it should come down to the wire. Flames in 7.
As for the CUP final, looks like an ANAHEIM vs MONTREAL Stanley Cup Championship with the Habs winning it all! Stay tuned sports fans, whatever the outcome, it’ll be worth watching!