Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pre-Playoff Hockey Notes

Tomorrow night sees one of sports' finest traditions begin again as the annual rite of not shaving begins around North America with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs getting underway. The man to the left with the impressive facial hair is Emil Kåberg from last season's Orebro hockey club in Sweden. That, readers, is one heckuva playoff beard, and there's a good chance we may see a few NHL players sporting their own facial hair designs like Mr. Kåberg.

Playoff Pool Entries

I want to start off this entry with a big thanks to everyone who has entered into the HBIC Playoff Pool thus far. I am excited for this year's pool as there are still prizes rolling in, meaning we'll have prizes for a number of the top finishers. I also want to thank Mark Penxa and Rob Ullman as they've provided a few prizes, so expect to see their names a lot when talking about the HBIC Playoff Pool prizes. Those two guys are beyond awesome!

You have until puck-drop on Wednesday night to get those picks in, so head over to the entry page and get yourself signed up!

Florida Wins Lottery

There were no major surprises today in the NHL Draft Lottery except for the bottom-two teams in the NHL flip-flopping their order. Buffalo, who finished 30th, will draft at the second-overall position behind the Draft Lottery-winning Florida Panthers. It will be an interesting situation for Florida going into the draft.

The only position that has a lock on it is goaltending. Roberto Luongo is going to be there for the foreseeable future, and he's got a ton of time left on his contract. Drafting a goaltender first-overall is something that has happened before when Luongo was the bonafide starting guy, but I can't see that happening in Florida. Instead, I see them grabbing another talented forward or even Ekblad for their defence corps, and working some of the younger guys in as they did this year.

I can say that Winnipeg's insistence on winning meaningless games at the end of the season didn't do them any favors as they'll draft ninth-overall rather than at the fifth-spot that they were in one week ago. If you're out, why bother? I've never understood this.

Manitoban In Union

Mat Bodie is one of 2200 students at Union College in New York. Mat was born in Winnipeg, lived in East St. Paul, attended River East Collegiate, and played briefly in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League during his time here in Manitoba before landing at Union College for school.

Union College offers no athletic scholarships, meaning Mat's hockey acumen would have to be proven on the ice if he wanted to play NCAA hockey. Mat made the Dutchman squad, eventually becoming their captain this season in his senior year.

Saturday night, Mat got to leave the Dutchman program as a champion after Union had defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-4 in the championship game. He scored the seventh goal for Union on the night into an empty net and set up two of the other six, factoring in on nearly half of the Dutchmen offence. He led the Union College Dutchmen on a 16-0-1 run, including twelve-straight wins to close out the season.

Winnipeg, Manitoba pride? You can bet Mat Bodie has it, and the entire city is proud of him!

There's Another Pool

This one is a little tougher to get into since there are a limited number of spaces, but the prizes will be excellent in this contest as well as The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM and www.umfm.com presents the second annual...
If you're a regular listener, you know that this contest is pretty insane. At approximately 5:35pm CT - five minutes after the show is on the air - we will open up the phones for the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest to start. Callers will be required to pick a numbered envelope that contains a randomly-selected team inside, and that is the team that the caller will be associated with for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It's very similar to office-style Survivor pools, but we run it with the sixteen teams participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs rather than the thirty-or-so players on Survivor. But because we're on the radio, we're not done with those that get in on the contest there. Oh, no... there's more!

If your team is eliminated, we'll call you so you can do your Survivor-style exit interview like you see at the end of every Survivor elimination. We want to hear why you thought your team was terrible. We want to hear you question the coach's decision and the hammer away on under-performing stars. In short, be candid, be honest, and be funny!

We'll go over all this stuff on Thursday night on The Hockey Show, so tune in for some fun and get qualified in the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest!

EA Sports Calls It

If you're a fan of the NHL Hockey franchise owned by EA Sports, you'll be interested to know who they have predicted to win the Stanley Cup through their simulations at EA Sports Headquarters. Games were played, series were won, and only one team stood at the end. According to EA Sports, the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions will be the...
Boston Bruins!

Their simulations predicted that the Bruins would defeat the San Jose Sharks in six games with goaltender Tuukka Rask finishing the playoffs with a 1.56 GAA, .948 SV% and four shutouts to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Their simulations also showed that the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers would sweep Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, respectively, out of the playoffs in the opening round, that Chicago's defence of the Stanley Cup would end in the second-round in a seven-game loss to Colorado, and that the Rangers would meet the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final for a seven-game battle that would end with a Patrice Bergeron goal five minutes into overtime in Game Seven.

Keep an eye on these predictions, readers! We'll see how the EA Sports' simulation shakes down as the playoffs continue!

That's all for tonight, kids! The Stanley Cup Playoffs start tomorrow, so I'll be glued to the television for the next three months. If you need to reach me, just leave me a message and I'll get to it in July!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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