Wednesday, April 11, 2007

2007 Playoff Predictions: Nashville v. San Jose

Nashville (4) v. San Jose (5)

Some nice sub-plots in this one: Will Thornton step-up and silence his critics? Who wins the trade deadline deal - Forsberg in Nashville or Guerin in San Jose?

Nashville is one of the few teams from the west that I saw a lot of this year and I could never figure out how on earth they were in the running for the President's trophy.

Let me clarify that. I know they have a great tandem in nets with Mason and Vokoun, perhaps the most depth at forward the NHL (three lines that can score, 4th most goals scored this season) and a pretty solid group of D. But I can't say I was ever awed or even impressed by a single one of their games. At no point did they even strike me as a team to be scared of. Maybe it's those mustard yellow jerseys, or their inability to hold on to the number 1 spot despite 24 games against St. Louis, Chicago and Columbus. Whatever it is, they haven't won me over.

Compared to Nashville, San Jose can ice a comparatively good group of forwards (I'd argue the best 1-2 punch in the NHL in Thornton and Marleau) and a comparable, perhaps slightly more offensively inclined D. I'm not sold on their goaltending though - I'd rather have Mason than either of Nabokov or Toskola and I think that might be the slight difference in this series.

If Nashville's offense can chase one of the Sharks goalies early, I like their odds...I think this may be the tightest series in the first round and next to Pittsburgh/Ottawa, the most fun to watch.

I'm going to call it Nashville in 7, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it go the other way.

Nashville's real power lies in their ability to blind their opponents with those godawful third jerseys, I mean it.

Seriously, though, they're such a quiet team - no one even realized they had the record they did until they sort of snuck up on us and were suddenly #1in the league. But even then, did anyone really consider them too much of a threat? Who knows, maybe the quiet but deadly thing will help them squeak through the playoffs as well. Almost as soon as everyone realized where they'd climbed to, though, they dropped off again.

For some reason I just don't see them standing up against the Sharks -unless, like Mike said, they can get through the goaltending early on - but I think what might really matter is which team starts the series off stronger.

I'm leaning toward San Jose in 7, but honestly, I'm not sure how much of that is sheer hope that we will never, EVER, have to see those puke-yellow jerseys ever again.

Sounds like we need to have a separate discussion about the ugliest jersey's as well. My vote goes to Vancouver (sorry Keith) who went from ugly - the hockey stick - to uglier with their Halloween jersey's of the early 80's. Even their jersey's now are pretty plain...

Personally I like Nashville's Yellow Jersey's but I don't know if I like Nashville beating San Jose (even though I dislike Ron Wilson).

So many questions:
Will Thornton finally produce in the playoffs?
Will the Trashers get consistent goaltending?
Do you pick the more consistent team through out the year - Nashville? or the hotter team - San Jose?
Will Forsberg finally start contributing or is he getting ready for retirement in the Swedish Elite League ?

I don't think Nashville has enough momentum to beat one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs. San Jose beat them last year after a scare early in the series and I suspect they will do the same this year, although I am not sure how much farther they will go.

I picked San Jose in our discussion last year but then ended up with Nashville players in my pool because they were still available in the 3rd and 4th rounds. I'll let you know tomorrow how my Draft turns out but for now I will predict San Jose in 6.

Rick, you're a nice guy, but are you BLIND? Those Nashville third jerseys are uglier than Ralph Klein at a homeless shelter.

The old skool flyin' Vs bring back warm feelings of the 1982 playoff run and Harold Schnepts...

I, like Mike, think there's some potential for the best hockey of the first round from this series.

Loads of offensive weapons on both sides of the ice, young, puck moving defensemen, on both sides...and no scary facial hair to speak of, which is good.

San Jose may be talented, experienced and lead by a better coach (sorry Rick) but I'm picking Nashville, if only because the NHL is developing a trend of teams from towns which don't give a rat's ass about the game making huge playoff runs (Anyone for an Atlanta - Nashville Stanley Cup Final?) Preds in 7

Hey, the homeless people thought Ralphy [Ralph Klein, former premier of Alberta] was King when he started tossing$50's at them when he "stopped" by a shelter unannounced after a "few"cocktails.

Alberta Politics has been pretty boring since he retired.

Keith, your theory about Atlanta making a run scares me because it makes a lot of sense after TB and Carolina's runs, but I picked an all-Canadian final in my Playoff Draft and I have never been wrong with my picks before right? - Not!

Coffee Cup: On a certain level, Albertan provincial politics are boring because the Tories have a virtual monopoly. That province would elect a tea cozy (and everyone knows it doesn't get lower than that) if it ran on a PC slate. Oh, and I say San Jose in 7.

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