First-round picks for the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs

I know it's something that people say every year before the playoffs, but this year really is especially hard to predict. However, here are my picks. 



Flyers in 7


Rangers in 6


Panthers in 7


Red Wings in 6



Stars in 4


Blues in 6


Ducks in 5


Kings in 6



Dave Babych and Mike Sillinger back in the day when the Canucks looked cool.

According to ESPN, the Vancouver Canucks are going old school against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 13. Even if just for one game, it is sure nice to see this jersey making a comeback. It was worn between 89-97 (the logo dates back to 1985) and is one of the most iconic jerseys ever to appear in the NHL. For the 97-98 season, the Vancouver Canucks would scrap not only the logo but also the team colors.

Change isn't always good. Markus Näslund and the Sedins looking unhappy.

Why anyone would choose this whale-logo monstrosity over the awesome skate-logo is a total mystery to me. But one thing is certain, changing your team logo and jersey like underwear isn't the best way to create a strong team legacy, though it is a sure way to piss off a lot of fans.

Why Original Six era teams like Detroit, Montreal and Chicago don't change their uniforms every five minutes seems like a no-brainer. They have been around for eons, they have won a bunch, and you don't change a winning concept. Through the years even these teams have made changes to their look, but they are always minor tweaks that don't mess with the overall concept. 

Here are some notable examples of good and bad decisions concerning the team jerseys:

New York Islanders:

Clark Gilles, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy circa 1977-78.

During 1972-1995 the Islanders made close to no changes to their uniform only to suffer a total breakdown in 1995 where they changed everything and created what is surely one of the ugliest jerseys in NHL history. 

Darius Kasparaitis and Travis Green in the infamous "Fish sticks" jersey.

Fortunately, in 2010, they came to their senses and reverted back to their original design save for some minor changes.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Entering the NHL in the 1967 expansion, the Penguins primary color was baby blue. In 1980 they changed it to black and yellow (while keeping the design). A change for the better if you ask me. The team was actually sued by the Boston Bruins, who claimed they had patented the color gold (yellow). Nothing came of that and the Penguins stuck with their colors until 2002, when they traded in the yellow for a faded and extremely dull goldish color. 

The Penguins 2007-2016 or...

In 2014, the Penguins brought back the old design and colors for their third jersey. Hopefully they will realize this is the way they should look in the future.

...the Penguins 2015-16 alternate jersey. You be the judge.

New Jersey Devils:

The Devils have been around since 1982 (when the Colorado Rockies were relocated to New Jersey), and since then they have made the least amount of changes to their jersey of all the teams in the NHL. In 1992 they swapped the green for black (the red helmet was also changed to black) and haven't messed with it since then. Also, the logo is unchanged since it was created back in 1982. Consistency is key.

Scott Niedermayer in red and green. 
Scott Niedermayer in red and black.

For more on this topic, this article by Paul Lukas is spot on:



Detroit lose Game 7 after failing to score on Ben Bishop.

Despite a valiant effort in Game 7, the Detroit Red Wings couldn't find a way to beat Tampa Bay and move past the first round of the playoffs. Goalie, Petr Mrazek, gave his team a chance, but they could not gather enough offense to score on Ben Bishop.

It's an old cliché, your best players have to be your best players if you want to go far in the playoffs, and sadly, they weren't for Detroit. Captain, Henrik Zetterberg, was held scoreless throughout the series, and when you don't get enough secondary scoring from the supporting cast, chances are you won't beat a talented team like the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Petr Mrazek was great in goal for the Wings, shutting out the Lightning twice in seven games. His future is bright and he will definitely benefit a lot from this experience. Perhaps he is the franchise goalie the Red Wings have lacked.

With the season over the question on everyone's mind is; What will happen to Mike Babcock? We will have to wait for the press conference to find out, but, whatever he choses to do the Red Wings will go on and they will be fine. I remember a time when people couldn't see a future without Scotty Bowman. The winning tradition that is so deeply rooted in Detroit will carry on with a new coach. If Mike Babcock is motivated to stay with Detroit, I hope he will. If not, then both parties will be better off if he takes on a new team.



Justin Williams has 20 points in 22 games so far.

The New York Rangers had Game 1 in their grasp but let it slip away in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings has a habit of coming back in games and they disappointed no one as they erased a 2-0 deficit in the first period to tie the game in the second frame and then win it in OT.

So what or rather who is the difference maker in this series? The two goalies cancel each other out as they were both stellar in Game 1. Drew Doughty was a force both defensively and offensively for the Kings. McDonaugh and Girardi, except for his mistake in OT, were really good for the Rangers. I would make a case for Justin Williams as the real difference maker. Mr Game 7 showed up in Game 1 and scored the deciding goal in OT for the Kings. He is the kind of player you can only hope to have in the playoffs. He is as clutch as they come and I doubt coach Darryl Sutter would trade him for any forward in the league. It's like Drew Doughty said in the post game press conference, "There are two players I want to give the puck to, Anze Kopitar and Justin Willams. The New York Rangers will have to find a way to stop Williams if are to have any chance of turning this finals around.

Also, Justin Williams is hilarious to watch in the post game press conference. He is so uncomfortable answering questions and he keeps pushing the microphone away in an attempt to let someone else answer the questions. He is even more fun than Darryl Sutter. However, if he keeps playing the way he has, he better get used to sitting there.



How a game can change… With a period left to play, the LA Kings took over completely and it was Henrik Lundquist's turn to keep the Rangers in the game. With five minutes to go of the period New York had just recorded three shots on goal while Lundqvist had turned away sixteen.

With less than a minute to go, Carl Hagelin had the game on his stick on a breakaway but couldn't quite get the puck to settle and put the shot wide. With just a few seconds left, Lundqvist again had to show his skills on a couple of chances and with a 2-2 score Game 1 went to OT. 

I have a feeling the Rangers will steal this one…


The LA Kings did what they have done so many times before in these playoffs, they came back to tie the game. Drew Doughty keeps making a case for being a Conn Smythe favorite as he got the equalizer on a beautiful play. 

So far Game 1 hasn't disappointed. Though I have to say that, after forty minutes, the Rangers are looking slightly better, but Jonathan Quick has kept his Kings in the game. 


Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals is on the way and the New York Rangers stormed out of the gates in the first period against the LA Kings.

The Rangers most leathal weapon is their speed and they have shown it twice already. Two of their fastest forwards, Zucarello and Hagelin, both have breakaway goals and they lead the Kings 2-1.

Before the game, Don Cherry predicted the Kings would win the series in 6 games. What's more important is, he called Henrik Lundqvist the world's best goalie. And so far he has been pretty solid.