PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane #88 scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Hey all! While we collectively lament the fact that the Winnipeg Jets will be using their summer to shake the rust off their golf swing, purchase new fishing tackle or spend cool summer nights boating the great lakes of Minnesota, sixteen fortunate teams will vie for their chance to win this years Stanley Cup trophy. The Western Conference features a cluster of teams that could potentially hoist this years Holy Grail, while in the Eastern Conference, things seem to be more pre-determined.
Stick around for the Quarterfinal round picks of Trevor, Ben, Gabe, Ryan, Tim, Graham, Derek and a 25 cent Canadian quarter. Feel free to point out just how wrong we are and how awesome the quarter is.
Season series tied 2-2.
Why Vancouver will win: Even without the services of Daniel Sedin, the Cancucks line-up is very deep. Winners of back-to-back Presidents Trophies, Vancouver should be expected to make another Cup run, regardless of who ends up starting in goal.
Why Los Angeles will win: The Kings recently ganked Jeff Carter for a pittance from the Columbus Blue Jackets and they haven’t looked back. Jonathan Quick’s stat line is due for a correction at some point during these playoffs, but the Canucks have been trending downward and the health of Daniel Sedin is largely in question.
Gabe's Take: The issue here is that Vancouver is a bunch of chokers. Roberto Luongo is not a big game goalie. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has assembled the Philadelphia Flyers in Southern California, and will have the heart to grind it out.
Trevor's pick: Vancouver in 6.
Ben's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Gabe's pick: Los Angeles in 7.
Ryan's pick: Vancouver in 5.
Tim's pick: Vancouver in 6.
Graham's pick: Los Angeles in 7.
Derek's pick: Vancouver in 6.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Los Angeles.
St. Louis holds season series 4-0.
Why St. Louis will win: Under the guidance of Ken Hitchcock, the Blues have been one of the best defensive teams in hockey. Mostly comprised of younger hockey players, the off-season additions of Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner gives the Blues Stanley Cup credibility. Plus they have absolutely owned the Sharks in head-to-head match-ups this year, so there's that.
Why San Jose will win: The Sharks line-up is spattered with playoff experience and veteran leadership. They are a team who have, up until this year, owned the Pacific Division over the past four years. They know how to get it done. Oh, and can we shut up about Joe Thornton and the playoffs now?
Gabe's Take: St. Louis has nothing to lose and a lot to prove. Combined with a big-game hot goalie, those are ideal conditions for victory. The Sharks are even bigger chokers than Vancouver, and it's clear that they don't get up for big games... They won #82, but they're not mentally ready for #83.
Trevor's pick: St. Louis in 6.
Ben's pick: San Jose in 6.
Gabe's pick: St. Louis in 6.
Ryan's pick: San Jose in 7.
Tim's pick: St. Louis in 7.
Graham's pick: St. Louis in 7.
Derek's pick: St. Louis in 7.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: San Jose.
Phoenix holds season series 3-1.
Why Phoenix will win: For the first time in franchise history, the Coyotes have won the Pacific Division and will carry home ice advantage through the first round. While many gawked at the signing of Mike Smith this summer, he has been a calming presence in goal for Phoenix and is assuredly more trustworthy than the tandem of Corey Crawford/Ray Emery in Chicago. Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata are two of the most unheralded stars in the NHL and are more than capable of carrying the offensive reigns and "shocking" the Blackhawks.
Why Chicago will win: One of the inexplicably weird things about the final standings in the Western Conference is how a statistical monster such as the Blackhakws finished so low. Adding Jonathan Toews back into the mix only bolsters their odds.
Gabe's Take: Chicago has Stanley Cup experience. Repeat, Stanley Cup experience. That means big game talent. Phoenix has Ray Whitney's heart and that's it. They can't compete.
Trevor's pick: Phoenix in 7.
Ben's pick: Chicago in 7.
Gabe's pick: Chicago in 6.
Ryan's pick: Chicago in 6.
Tim's pick: Chicago in 6.
Graham's pick: Chicago in 4.
Derek's pick: Chicago in 7.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Phoenix.
Season series tied 3-3.
Why Nashville will win: Pekka Rinne will be leaned upon to be the game-changer in this series, but the Predators are heading into the playoffs with a roster as stacked as it's ever been. While the only bonafide scorer they posses is newly re-acquired Alexander Radulov, they have enough players who can score in bunches to keep them competitive.
Why Detroit will win: The Red Wings have consistently been one of the most cerebrally-managed and statistically-sound teams of the last ten years. Not to mention they have faired well historically against the Predators in the playoffs.
Gabe's Take: Detroit has been a dominant possession team for what seems like a generation, while Nashville had a percentage-fueled run of good luck after unwisely allocated far too much salary to Pekka Rinne. Nashville will scare Detroit. Like the Avs scared San Jose two years ago. Outshot 50-12 scared.
Trevor's pick: Nashville in 7.
Ben's pick: Detroit in 6.
Gabe's pick: Detroit in 6.
Ryan's pick: Nashville in 7.
Tim's pick: Detroit in 6.
Graham's pick: Detroit in 5.
Derek's pick: Nashville in 6.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Detroit.
Ottawa holds season series 3-1.
Why New York will win:The Rangers have benefited greatly from the lucky percentage game early, though being back-stopped by Henrik Lundqvist certainly makes it easier to do so. They have gotten better as the season progressed and now seem much more deserving of their record.
Why Ottawa will win: Ottawa found a good match-up in the Rangers, having beaten them three out of four times this year. Jason Spezza has gotten back on track after two sub-par seasons, leading the Senators in points. If they can find a way to drag this series to seven games, anything is possible.
Gabe's Take: The Rangers have huge clutch goaltending and big-time scorers in Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. Ottawa has... Actually, I don't think I've ever seen the Senators play a hockey game, so I don't really know.
Trevor's pick: New York in 5.
Ben's pick: New York in 5.
Gabe's pick: New York in 4.
Ryan's pick: New York in 6.
Tim's pick: New York in 6.
Graham's pick: New York in 5.
Derek's pick: New York in 6.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: New York.
Washington holds season series 3-1.
Why Boston will win: The Bruins don't seem to be suffereing the effects of a Stanley Cup hangover this year and will ice almost the identical roster which captured last springs championship. The Capitals barely made it into the playoffs and simply aren't on the same level as Boston.
Why Washington will win: Nicklas Backstrom gives them a huge shot in the arm in both ends of the rink after returning from a concussion that held him out most of the year. For a team that has been mentally fragile in the past, being labeled as an underdog with no expectations could be good for this teams psyche. At days end, they still possess one of the games greatest offensive talents in Alexander Ovechkin, a player who ranks fourth all-time in points per game in the post-season.
Gabe's Take: As good as the Bruins are, Washington is going into the playoffs on a high note and we know how huge that is. Expect that momentum to carry them far, but not quite far enough.
Trevor's pick: Boston in 6.
Ben's pick: Boston in 5.
Gabe's pick: Boston in 7.
Ryan's pick: Washington in 7.
Tim's pick: Boston in 7.
Graham's pick: Boston in 5.
Derek's pick: Boston in 4.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Washington.
Season series tied 2-2.
Why Florida will win: Admit it, how cool would it be if Florida continued to defy expectations once again? Though they struggled in their last ten games, they're the scrappiest team to advance to the elimination rounds and still have a deceptive group of scorers, led by Tomas Fleischmann who can shock the world.
Why New Jersey will win: The Devils were one of the steadiest teams in the league this year, marked by a plethora of offensive weapons and a defensive corps that ranked top ten in goals against.
Gabe's Take: I think every team wishes they could be playing Florida in the first round.
Trevor's pick: New Jersey in 4.
Ben's pick: New Jersey in 7.
Gabe's pick: New Jersey in 5.
Ryan's pick: New Jersey in 4.
Tim's pick: New Jersey in 5.
Graham's pick: New Jersey in 6.
Derek's pick: New Jersey in 6.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Florida.
Philadelphia holds season series 4-2.
Why Pittsburgh will win: Any team that boasts offensive weapons such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal can never be counted out of a series. If Philadelphia, a team who ranked dead last in times short-handed this year, continues to play undiscipled hockey, they will be feasted upon by the special teams of the Penguins.
Why Philadelphia will win: The Flyers are tough, rugged and offensively gifted. They haven't missed a beat after offloading the tandem of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards last June. The playing status of Danny Briere is still in doubt, but it looks like he will be able to play in game one of this series. Should the Flyers wish to win, they'll have to use some of their legendary intimidation tactics to get the Penguins stars off their game.
Gabe's Take: This is a series that will hinge on James Neal because he is such a clutch goal scorer and because according to some reality hockey show I watched, he never washes his hair. Playoff beards may bring a team together, but nothing's as hard-core as not bathing. Philly's best chance for winning is if Wayne Simmonds plays like a total dick and gets under the Penguins' skin. Still, I think the Pens have this one.
Trevor's pick: Philadelphia in 7.
Ben's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
Gabe's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
Ryan's pick: Philadelphia in 6.
Tim's pick: Pittsburgh in 6.
Graham's pick: Pittsburgh in 5.
Derek's pick: Pittsburgh in 6.
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Philadelphia.
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