Wings/Pens: Round 2

So, sitting at 10 for 14 in my picks I have one pick left, the Stanley Cup Final.  But I’ve got a few other things to talk about before I put out my final pick.

Bonus prediction:  Fleury won’t fall on his face entering the rink like he did last year.  I’d have almost felt bad for him, but alas, he’s on the other team.

So we get through these 2 off days of Conference finals, and now we only have 2 days off after a 5 game series!  Advantage – Penguins, Detroit could use more days off to get healed up.

Then we find out, we’re playing in back to back game days to start out.  This has to be just because freakin NBC has to show the first two games and heaven forbid has to air a hockey game during the week.  Bettman needs to grow a few.  Most games are on a network most people can’t get or won’t pay for.  Now scheduling has to be mucked with for a network that could care less.  Advantage – once again to the Penguins.  Less time for the Wings to heal up.  As of right now, the league still hasn’t released the start time of game 2 (because of NBC and the NBA playoffs).  Considering game 1 starts at 8pm, if game 2 starts any earlier, things will just be crazy for the healing and resting side of things.

But all whining aside, I’m not laying the groundwork for excuses if the Wings lose.  Detroit has been dealing with injuries through the entire playoffs.  It’s what happens in hockey.  Sure, there are always the what-if’s, like “two years ago, the Wings would’ve beat Anaheim had they not lost so many defensemen to injury”, but that’s what makes Monday morning quarterbacking the sport it is.

You see, this is Detroit’s series to lose.  I don’t see any huge pieces that have been added to Pittsburgh that make them different than last year.  Hossa now wears red, which raises Detroit’s bar higher.  What Pittsburgh does have this year (which is more scary than star power), is that they’ve been there.  There’s that old tired adage that says something like you have to lose before you can win so that you know what it takes.  It happened to the 1995 Red Wings.  They haven’t wasted their last four trips.  But the Penguins aren’t playing some Eastern Conference pretender who somehow found themselves in the Finals.  The Wings are the hockey equivalent of Henry Ford’s automobile.  They are made up of interchangeable parts that can fill in when one needs repaired or isn’t clicking along properly.  You never know whose stepping up tonight, the front line stars or a fourth line grinder.

Another scary thing is how Crosby and Malkin are firing on all cylinders this post season.  And how Detroit’s defense still can scare the living crap out of me at times.  But Uncle Mike will have a plan of action on whose shutting down each of them.

Probably the biggest threat to a Cup repeat is Fleury.  If he decides to stand on his head and make miraculous save after miraculous save, I’ll worry.  Osgood is playing possessed, but with as many breakdowns as Detroit’s defense has been making, he’s not going to stop everything.  Detroit has a history of running into smokin hot goaltenders, but that’s always been in early rounds and hopefully is in the past for good.

They need to stay out of the box as their penalty kill has been pitiful and we don’t need to give Malkin and Crosby more room to skate.  If they can just keep playing the tight disciplined game they’ve been playing, they should take it.  I’d like to go with them in 6, but I’m leaning to a 7 game Final.

Detroit over Pittsburgh in 7 games.  Remember, I only count the win or lose, not the number of games in my record.  🙂

Side note:  My little Red Wing night light that was in our bathroom last year.  If you’ll recall, it burnt out mid-way through last year’s playoffs (I believe in the Dallas series) and I scrambled to get a new bulb for it to end a Wing’s skid.  This year it burnt out before the playoffs started.  I’ve been too lazy (and unable to sweet talk the wifal unit into helping me out) to replace the bulb.  The wifal unit put up a different night light before the playoffs started.  Things have been going so well, that the little guy will just have to wait before he lights up my night again.  The wifal unit about gave me a heart attack last night, when she told me with a straight face that she had replaced the bulb.  I didn’t find it funny!

Just thought you’d all want to know that I’m still somewhat neurotically superstitious.  That along with finding that I can’t wear my Osgood jersey during a game.  🙂

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