Changing Tires, San Jose Trying To Keep The Wheels OnShareThis
The Brooks Laich changing a tire story is great. Our tendancy is to blow things out of proportion, so lets not do that here – it was just a really refreshing thing to hear. As I’ve been saying, it makes me proud to be a hockey player. Or maybe just a human.
I learned to change a tire in the summer of 2008, because I read somewhere it’s one of the basic things you need to be able to do to consider yourself a man. That, tie a tie, and something else…. climb a frozen waterfall in bowling shoes or something.
The year I was taught (and by “taught”, I mean holy-crap-its-so-easy-Paula-Abdul-could-figure-it-out) I was staying at the Gillies and training before my AHL tryout with the Hershey Bears. Mapquest told me it was about five hours from Long Island, and our check-in and first meeting was around 3:00PM. I was on the road by 7:30AM to give myself lots of time. Sadly, my GPS took me down Manhattan’s 34th Avenue, which slowed me considerably. The second I got through the Holland Tunnel, I saw open road, and hit the gas. Got ‘er right up to 70 before hitting a pothole deeper than a Jack Handy thought. Immediately, my car started pulling hard to the right. F**k.
I’m talkin’, car packed with literally everything I owned, and I had to unload the trunk to get at the spare. Baseball glove, lamps, pillows, the works.
Anyway, because I knew what to do, I coasted into town on a bike tire just in time to check-in, and start the hellacious injury-riddled season that led to me being a writer. Shoulda known that was “don’t go” sign. At least I got a Hershey chocolate bar at check-in, I guess.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings
This is a tough one to call, because of the mental gift the Sharks have been given; this time, hardly anyone expects them to win.
Even though they’re the one seed, they’re playing the perceived one seed. And for Thronton, Boyle and crew, they’ve never had the luxury of even semi-underdog status before. 70% of people are picking Detroit to win, which is SO. NICE. if you’re on San Jose. It free’s you up to just play. Not sure why it’s different, but it is.
So then it’s obvious that I’m picking…..
DETROIT IN SEVEN
Wait, what? Here’s how I made my pick:
Goaltending: It’s a pick ‘em, as far as I’m concerned. Evgeni Nabakov is supposed to be better, and has lots of experience. Unfortunately, he hasn’t exactly built a reputation as a clutch playoff performer during those experiences. And we have no idea about Howard in playoffs yet. We do know that in the same game he can be good, he can give up a shot off the draw to Vernon Fiddler that hasn’t gone in since pee wee hockey. Sure, it’s a factor that could affect the series if one guy gets too hot or too cold, but I’m expecting them both to be right around par.
Defense: Slight edge to Detroit. Studs like Lidstrom and Rafalski are getting a little older, but they can still get it done. Niklas Kronwall is one of my new favourite players (I LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL), and Brad Stuart is above average. San Jose has Dan Boyle, but after that all you have is the corpse of Rob Blake and Douglas Murray.
Offense: Both teams have great forwards, just in different ways. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are unlike any other two forwards in the NHL – talented, shifty, f***ing crazy smart, and defensively aware. San Jose’s top dogs are good at… getting goals. But, there is three of them. Then there’s the bonus guy: Joe Pavelski. He’s the wild card (who’s off to a great start in the series) that can put SJ over the top. Can he keep being super-human? Will Detroits gritty studs (Holmstrom and Franzen) prove to be too playoff-built to be stopped? WILL I STOP ASKING RHETORICAL QUESTIONS? (I only “kinda like” this commercial in comparison, but still good)
Coach: Babcock. BabcockBabcockBabcock. I’d pick him vs. a super-coach that combined the know-how of Scotty Bowman, Phil Jackson and Bill Belichick. Mclellan is apparently a good coach, but Mike B could coach the Jersey Shore cast into British accents.
So, when it came down Detroit’s experience and confidence vs. San Jose’s first crack at mental underdoggery, I gotta take the uber-beast, Zetsyuk. Datsberg. Whatever…. they are just way too special to pick against.
Other series predictions explained later, but I’ve picked Boston, Pittsburgh and Vancouver for my other three. The Vancouver pick goes against everything I said about Chicago all year, but after watching a series where goaltending mattered so much (the Halak v Varladore trial), I’m taking Luongo over Niemi every time.
TGIF, kids. Our weekend plans have been taken care of with the $26 we spent yesterday – a $13 inflatible pool float with a cup holder, and 18 Coors light for $13. Weeee!
One more thing – Just tinkering around this morning, and I discovered a lil conversation between Ovechkin and the evil genius from his home planet, who sent him to Earth to capture the elusive Stanley Cup. It’s pretty intense. Watch it here.