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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cinderella & Sidney

After last night's 2-1 victory, the Habs pulled off what everyone thought would be impossible and eliminated many people's Stanley Cup favorite's, Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals. Next, they take on Ovechkin's rival Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Can Halak frustrate Crosby, Malkin, Staal, et al? Crosby and Halak (the Hab's stellar goaltender and biggest reason why they are in this position) are hands down the current Conn Smythe favorites. Round 2 of the NHL playoffs starts tonight in San Jose, so, let's see break it down:

The West:
San Jose v Detroit: Thanks to some bad bounces and some great goaltending from Craig Anderson the Sharks barely got past the upstart Colorado Avalanche. They're in tough with a team that has been red hot since the Olympic break. The Wings had a hard fought series against the Coyotes and as most expected they prevailed. Unfortunately for the Sharks and whoever makes it through to the conference finals the Wings are going to win this one too (in 6 or 7). The Wings might be a little tired and sore from playing a series that took them to the limit -with an average age of 31.8 these men aren't exactly spring chicken's anymore and they've played into June for 2 straight years- but they are just too resilient and have a bounty of experience all of which they can draw on to win. The Sharks, well, they're the Sharks. To even consider getting past Detroit the Sharks need Thorton to show up and Nabokov's going to have to best Howard. On a side note this series will start tonight and then resume on Sunday because the Eagles are playing in SJ.

Chicago v Vancouver: Oh good god. Why did this match-up have to happen in the 2nd round, again?! I wanted this to be the conference final, but I guess better early than never, right? As a person who picked the Hawks to win the cup but who is also a lifelong Canucks fan (yes, we have a bad rep but not all of us are riot-happy douche bags-tyvm) I'm sort of inbetween a rock and a hard place here-it's what I imagine it's like when choosing between one's own children. I'll try to be as objective as possible.
After looking more than a little shaky at times against Nashville the Hawks finally committed to their changed game plan and disposed of their worthy opponents. Neimi had two shutouts in the series. In these games he faced 23 and 33 shots respectively and has a better saver percentage and goals against than Luongo but Lu made the key saves when he needed too and usually in highlight reel fashion (except in game 3) , so, I'm going to say that in goal the teams are even. Mr Mullet, Patrick Kane played very well throughout the series and after a slow start Hossa and Toews picked it up. Campbell's back and Byfuglien will be up front crashing into Luongo. The Hawks took a lot more penalties in this series than they normally do-I expect this trend to continue in Vancouver as there is a lot more animosity between these two teams. I think Game 6 a year ago will be a big motivating factor for the Canucks and especially Luongo. He's starting to get his confidence back and I expect him to be a lot stronger in this series than against LA-same thing for the PK. Seabrook and Keith will be playing against the twins and Samuelsson this will definitely slow the line down but it won't stop them. This means that Kesler, Burrows and Raymond have got to step it up. Steve Bernier and Alex Edler had a great series against LA-they'll need to continue they're fine play. These teams are very evenly matched. The difference right now is really in special teams (Hawks PK is 3rd, Vancouver's is last: Vancouver's PP is tied for 5th, Hawks are 11th) and on defense. The Canucks are really going to start feeling the loss of Willie Mitchell in this series. If the D (I'm looking at you Bieksa-don't even get me started on Alberts or whoever they're planning on throwing in there) doesn't play a tough and above all Smart series the Hawks will make them pay. This matchup should provide some highly entertaining games and, in the end, I see the winner going on to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.

The East:
Bruins v Flyers: Bruising series, expect a ton of hitting and after-the-whistle scrums. Marc Savard better keep his head up at all times because Matt Cooke is 5'11", 205 lbs while Chris Pronger is 6'6"& 220 lbs and was named by his peers to be the dirtiest player in the NHL. Bruins definitely have the advantage here in goal. Simon Gangne and Jeff Carter will be sorely missed by Philly; Gange's out for at least 2 more weeks and I'll be shocked and awed if Carter is back for this series at all. I want the Flyers to win but it won't be easy and unless they find a way to fill those two giant offensive holes it'll be the Bruins that prevail.

Penguins v Canadiens: As I stated before, this is a contest between the hottest goaltender in the NHL playoffs and the offensive powerhouse that is Sidney Crosby (current points leader and co-owner of this year's Rocket Richard trophy). After their game 1 loss to Ottawa it was obvious that Crosby decided to put his team on his back and almost singlehandedly win the series. Malkin's looking strong and Pascal Dupuis has been playing really well. The Pens will have to show a lot of patience. Aside from solving Jaroslav Halak , a man who stopped Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom & Green and who consistently faced over 40 shots per game and turned in a 53 save performance to force a Game 7, they'll have stop Mike Cammalleri and face down the pressure of being the overwhelming favorite. Montreal will have confidence and a lot of momentum coming in off the Washington series. I love a good Cinderella story and nothing would please me more than for the Habs to pull off another surprise but Crosby's not Ovechkin-he actually shows up when it counts.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Winter Boots

It's not even summer yet and I'm already looking at boots for Winter 2010. These are from Nicole Richie's House of Harlow 1960 F/W 2010 collection.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Game 1

So, yes, the first game does not a playoff series make but with all but one Game 1 out of the way let's take a look at what's going now that it's all begun.
Starting in the East:
Ottawa v. Pittsburgh: The Pens haven't been the same since the return from the Olympic break. Malkin has struggled with injuries this year but he seemed to pick it up in Game 1. The Sens need to play a complete game every game, keep their foot on the gas and leave it all out there every night because I can't shake the feeling that the Pens are about to shift into another gear-playoff gear. Ottawa fans should be wary. However, the switch better go on tonight or the Pens won't be defending their title for long.
Buffalo v. Boston: Otherwise known as 'there will be blood'. Chara is giant. Every time I see him that's the first thing I think. This was a crazy, ugly, hard, gritty game. I give the Sabres the edge because of Miller (though Rask's obviously no slouch) and the reappearance of Vanek along with Ruff's defensive coaching style. If Game 1 was any indication this is going to be a bruising series (I think it's also going 7 games) and the victor might be worse for wear after it's all said and done.
Philadelphia v. New Jersey: I'm going to be honest, out of all the teams in the post-season I've seen the least of these two. The Flyers, despite the question mark in goal, are always dangerous and they've owned the Devils this year but it's the Devils. Brodeur might be getting older and may have lost his Olympic starting job this season but he's still "Martin Brodeur" and the Devils have plenty of offensive weapons with which to frustrate the toss up.
Washington v. Montreal: The Habs are another team that can ill-afford to take their foot off the gas. They played an incredible game last night-a remarkable team effort. Can they do this four times against the Caps? Sure. But they can't stop Ovi, Semin, Backstrom and Green (not to mention the secondary scoring) forever. The Caps have major defensive issues, more than any other team. In the post-season teams need to be well-rounded, they need solid defense to last-the caps rely on their offense and puck possession skills too much and their defensemen like to take too many defensive risks in the hopes of offensive glory. This worked well in the regular season but the playoffs are a different beast. A team that can play stifling, smart defense and has enough offensive weapons to keep pace will beat them. I think they'll get by Montreal (even though the Habs would make an awesome Cinderella story) but I highly doubt they'll be hoisting the Cup. Also, Ovi might be hurt and that cannot be a good thing.

The West:
Colorado v. San Jose: I feel like the Avs are an unknown quantity. They're young, inexperienced, looked spent closing out the season but found life enough to deal the always under-achieving Sharks a Game 1 blow. The Sharks are a one-line wonder (with the addition of a goaltender that has the ability to get hot and steal a few games in Nabokov). It's a hell of a line, but this strategy hasn't worked for them in the past and it won't work now. Neither of these teams is getting past the second round.
Phoenix v. Detroit: Part of me wants to say that the NHL is conspiring to make the Coyotes team this year's Cinderella story but Bryzgalov has been unreal and frustrating (if you aren't a Coyote fan), so, I have to give credit to Phoenix. having said this, they're playing Detroit. Aside from starting a rookie goaltender (but rookie goalies do sometimes end up a Conn Smythe winner, so...) this is a well-oiled, experienced team who is finally healthy and knows how to win. Hell, even if the series were 3-0 in favour of the Coyotes I STILL wouldn't guarantee a series win. I doubt Babcock, Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, et al are even shaken. Expect a much-improved penalty kill and a tightening up on the defensive end as a whole and a series win by the Wings.
Vancouver v. Los Angeles: At 1am I was still a little drunk, eyes closed and falling asleep in bed before OT began-by 1 minute in I was sitting bolt upright staring intently at my computer screen. Quick was tested often and rose to the challenge-he was by far LA's best player. The Canucks played a solid defensive game and aside from a terrible hit (Alberts, you're Out) that put them down a man for 5 minutes and cost them a goal they played a smart game with few mistakes. The Sedins, for the time being, are living up to expectation. Adding the ability to score off the rush to their grinding, cycling game was exactly what the playoff doctor ordered and is obviously a large reason as to why Hank won the Art Ross and is a contender for the Hart. Samuelsson has been a marvelous addition-he had such a hot hand during the second half of the season before getting injured-it's great to see he's in fine form. Edler was the best player on the ice for the 'Nucks (the hit on Doughty was spectacular) and Lu made a key goal-line save in OT. It won't be easy and it won't be a sweep but Vancouver's going to win this. LA is too young right now and they need a little something more up-front, it'll happen for them just not this season.
Chicago v. Nashville: The only Game 1 yet to be played. The Hawks are my pick to win it all this year-despite the Hossa curse. Shea Weber and company are hungry for their first ever post-season series win. The Preds are a defensively solid team but shutting down Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is one thing, shutting down Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp as well is something else. Add to this the fact that the Hawks forth line have been the ones scoring the timely goals to finish off the season and the solid puck-controlling (yet, like Vancouver, depleted) defensive corps who with Keith, Hjarmalsson and Byfuglien can jump up into the rush and the Hawks are a formidable foe. This team can adjust faster than any other team in the NHL, in a seven game series this is crucial. Their one weakness is in goal-which is where the Preds one over-riding advantage lies. Still, the Preds are a team with one (injured-but likely to play in Game 1) 30 goal scorer and one 20 goal scorer this season-it's all good to hold the Hawks off the board but to win you have to put a few pucks in the back of the net too. Niemi has had flashes of brilliance coming down the stretch-we'll see if he can make the key saves his team will need.

As for the picture above I have this to ask: It's all good to let games flow and players play but how is something like this (though unintentional) NOT a penalty? It's called high-sticking, it wasn't on a follow-through shot, and it was never so obvious as it is here-I mean Sedin is about 1/2 inch away from loosing his eye. (Not to mention the non-call on Lidstrom getting clipped in the lip in the Det v. Phoe game).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Wild West

Well, it looks like the Canucks are destined to get the ultimate 1st round challenge in the Detroit Red Wings. If they get past this opponent the chances of going past the second round are excellent but first things first...

edit: It looks like I spoke too soon. Phoenix gets the Wings and it'll be Canucks v Kings (a matchup that ESPN has decided will be the upset in the West).

Friday, April 09, 2010

Chain Smoking

We all know that smoking kills, but this mantra doesn't apply to robots (obviously).
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's smoking robot has twenty Teflon mouths puffing two packs and hour to analyze the compounds contained in all ciggie brands.

photo courtesy of gizmodo.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

All Hail

The Best Stems (and bod) in the business!

Fashion Flyby

A few images that have caught my eye over the last little while, enjoy!
Claude Simonon as a young Elvis in Vogue Homme International.
Architectural footwear.
Daria in V64.
Baptiste Giabiconi as David Bowie for L'Officiel Hommes China