Whenever I’m back at home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I’m treated like a king. Not really sure why but maybe it’s because I was a pretty good kid growing up or something. Anyway, it’s almost 11:30 am Eastern Time as I sit down to crank out this blog and I’ve just finished eating an omelet that my Mom made for me. Can you guess what type of omelet I devoured?
Ham and Cheese. Hope you guessed correctly.
Alright, moving along...time to give myself a pat on the ‘ol back for correctly picking the Hershey Bears 6-game victory over the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals and for correctly selecting the Texas Stars to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs (although I said it would be six games, not seven).
Couple of quick thoughts:
• I was partially stunned that the Monarchs won two straight games against the Bears and really could have won that series after dropping the first two games in Hershey. I didn’t think the Bears (12-3 playoff record) knew how to lose back-to-back games.
• Partially stunned, Part 2: That the Stars lost the first two games in Hamilton and then were down in the series 3-2 going back to Hamilton and then trailed 2-0 in game seven and still won the series. Talk about showing character. Of course Aeros’ fans remember how special it was last year to win two, decisive game seven’s on the road in the same playoff season and the Stars equaled that feat to punch their ticket to the Calder Cup Finals. Very impressive.
• Go Flyers!
• How about Stars’ goaltender Matt Climie? The former Aero made 40-plus saves on the road last night in the game seven victory. Climie is a free agent at season’s end.
• And, Go Flyers!
I’m going to hold off on my Calder Cup Finals pick (by the way, I’m 4 for 5 in picking AHL series so far) for a few days since it doesn’t start until Thursday, June 3rd.
I will however comment on the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals. First off, I was at game five between the Flyers and Canadiens (you would know this if you followed me on twitter) and the Wachovia Center was rocking. Honestly the place was so crazy that you would have thought the Flyers had won the Stanley Cup already. Here’s a photo that shows the sea of orange & black:
If the Flyers are going to beat the favored Chicago Blackhawks, who tore through the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals, they are going to have to steal game one in Chi-town. They’ll have to split at home in games 3 & 4 and then win the game five in Chicago and six at home in front of a raucous crowd. Tough sledding, I know.
For the record, I’m still not sold on ‘Hawks netminder Antti Niemi. I’m not sure if that’s because he played in the AHL last season or because all year long the ‘Hawks have been arguably the league’s best defensive team in front of him. He’s obviously passed the postseason test so far, but he really hasn’t been in a precarious situation since early in the first round when the Nashville Predators “woke up” the ‘Hawks by playing them tough through the first few games. Oh, and his pads are illegal. That’s right, you heard it hear first: Niemi’s leg pads are longer than the maximum 38” allowed by the NHL Rule Book. Pure guesswork here, but I think I’m on to something. Even Yao Ming’s legs would be covered by those things.
One thing we’ve seen in these playoffs (at all levels of professional hockey) is that talent doesn’t always win. Character, determination and destiny (or call it what you like) seem to be having their say as well. I’m not making a pick here b/c I’m too emotionally involved (Go Flyers!), but I think it’s going to be a great series and quite frankly, the NHL needs it to be to continue to help grow the game in the states.
More from me in about a week or less.
- Aero Joe