Trust me, there’s no shaking going on in these skates. I don’t know how to put this, Matt Pearl, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. Annnyway, thanks for kicking things off. Now, here are the CORRECT picks:
TIM SCHMITT’S PICKS
Montreal over Boston in 5: Montreal is the most complete team in the East, but I don’t think they’re going to reach the Cup finals. We’ll save that for another day. The Canadiens have seven guys who scored at least 16 goals.
Ottawa over Pittsburgh in 6: Here it is. It makes no sense, which is why it makes perfect sense. There’s still plenty of talent in Ottawa, even after the loss of Daniel Alfredsson, and Pittsburgh’s goaltending still scares me. Sure, Sid the Kid and Co. are fun to watch in the free-wheeling regular season, but remember those great Edmonton teams had great goaltending. We’re going off the board with this one.
Washington over Philadelphia in 5: I love Washington. Not the city, the hockey team. Ah wait, I kinda like the city too. Cristobal Huet needed motivation, and he got it in his deal to the Caps. And Danny Briere could be on the shelf, or at least banged up. Don’t look at the point total when you size these teams up, the Caps became a completely different team after the deadline.
New Jersey over N.Y. Rangers in 6: Let’s see the magic, Chris Drury. I’m betting it’s Marty Brodeur who ends up making memories. The Rangers are a chic pick to emerge from a tight conference. I’m from Tonawanda; we don’t understand chic.
Detroit over Nashville in 5: At some point, logic says a team as talented as the Wings will get back to the Cup final. And karma says Tiger fans need something to take their minds off baseball.
San Jose over Calgary in 5: With Soupy in the lineup, the Sharks have been special. That’ll be good enough to get through the first round against a one-dimensional Calgary team. Still, the Flames have been so tough at home through the Jarome Iginla era, they’re bound to sneak one game out in the Saddledome.
Minnesota over Colorado in 6: Ah, the good ol’ days in Denver. Sakic, Forsberg, Foote. Maybe Patrick Roy’s son can drop in for a suckerpunch to bring the reunion full circle. While the nostalgia makes me all warm and fuzzy, Minnesota is young and talented. Marian Gaborik is incredible. And still in his prime.
Dallas over Anaheim in 7: Here’s the key to this series — Dallas pinned its hopes on Brad Richards, and he didn’t do much down the stretch. He will in the playoffs and that’ll be the difference against an Anaheim team that’ll struggle to score. Home ice will come into play, too.
As for the battle, Pearl, I’ll continue to pick winners when this first round’s done, although I’m sure I’ll have it clinched. Loser buys the winner some scotch. I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down into my belly …