Playoffs start on Wednesday and OH BOY is there money to be made on the lines Vegas released for each series. Everyone knows that Vegas doesn’t set their lines on the true probabilities of a team winning or losing, but rather what the public perception of the teams are. So, what’s up Hockey fans, I’m calling you out right now. You didn’t just lose teeth from all those years of hockey, you also lost an absurd amount of brain cells. If you want to prove that you have any sense, listen to what I tell you in this blog and make yourself a small fortune, but I’ll probably still call you an idiot afterwards. Just not to your face since I am smart and don’t want to get knocked out by a hockey player.
We’ll start with my Rangers vs. Canadiens series: When I saw the Rangers opened as an underdog I almost sprained my thumb trying to get the series bet in. The public are a bunch of idiots for making that happen. Everyone’s huge knock on the Rangers has been that they’ve played terribly down the stretch, even though they played in a much tougher division and still ended with 102 points to the Canadiens 103 points. Let me tell you how worried I am that the Rangers played poorly while missing their captain and getting the rest of the team (besides J.T. Miller who’s a stud and wouldn’t come out for any of the games) an absurd amount of rest. I’m not. I’m more worried that my dick will just fly off in the middle of the night and I’ll never be able to grace the world with a child even more good looking and intelligent than myself (real dream I’ve had). Let me also tell you how worried I am about the Canadiens. Again, not at all. The only chance they have of winning the series is if they poison all the maple syrup they send to the Rangers hotel for breakfast or steal their jerseys and force them to play in denim. I’ll give them that Price is on top of his game lately, but if that’s all you needed to win a series in the playoffs then the Rangers would’ve already had six Stanley Cups from when Lundqvist used to stand on his head from April-June every year. Jordie Benn and Shea Weber are just returning to the lineup after missing some games at the end of the season, so they’ll have some rust to shake off. I also just read via rotoworld that Pacioretty left practice early from a stick to the face. He’s definitely used to sticks in the face and should be fine for tomorrow, but something to look out for. Emelin will not be playing tomorrow however, and that means the Rangers offense will tee off on the second and third defensive pairings at least until he comes back. The team is 100% healthy, and I’m expecting the combination of veterans like Zucarello, Nash, Stepan, Kreider, Staal, Girardi, and McDonagh to teach the young bloods like Vesey and Buchnevich how to handle the pressure of the playoffs and to see the team really grow some nuts (note: if Tanner Glass suits up instead of Buchnevich I’ll be pissed but it still won’t worry me for this series). I’ve always loved when J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes were on the same line, they just always seem to play well together. Throwing Grabner in there with them for some extra speed will be a difference maker when this third line scores 1-2 goals per game. Although I hated the trade and think the Rangers panicked at the deadline when they missed out on Shattenkirk, I am excited to see how Brendan Smith plays in a playoff situation with his boys from Wisconsin. And in case you forgot, Lundqvist is still the king of New York. With some solid defensive play in front of him, the guy is unstoppable. Sorrey Canadiens, but you’ll be the first team bounced from the playoffs this year. Hammer Rangers +110 for the series, and if you’re looking for a good opportunity to hedge, take them to win the East at +775 or the Cup at +1300 because they’re going to cruise through the Atlantic Division and at least make it to the ECF.
Now, I love playoff hockey more than any other sport, and watch a lot of hockey in general. But the Rangers are the only team I’ve caught almost every single game of all season. So I’ll fly through a few of my “they passed the eye test” this year picks, with some reasons that I’m admitting I’ve pulled out of my ass, as well as a few legitimate reasons thrown in the mix:
Capitals -420: Bet the goddamn house on this. There’s no way the Caps lose the series, probably not even a game. Take $100 out of the ATM for food for the next week, then transfer everything left in your account to your bookie to lay on the Caps. Maple Leafs don’t even know how to spell their own nickname correctly. Do one thing right for me Canada. Your spelling sucks and so does your beer.
They won’t improve their spelling and they won’t improve their beer, never mind win a series against the most solid top-to-bottom team in the league right now.
Bruins -200: Are there even Senators in Canada? I’m going to ignore historical facts and let you know that as far as I’m concerned, the word Senator was invented when we signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The same Declaration of Independence that was sparked by, yupp, the Boston Tea Party. Ottowa’s nickname is basically them admitting they’re a bunch of wannabe Patriots, and the Patriots play in Boston. So everyone on the team will be more proud to lose to the Bruins than to win the series.
Blackhawks -190: Blackhawks just know how to win in the playoffs. Predators did get a nice pick up in P.K. Subban this year, but he’s not going to be enough to make this team a competitor (and by the way I’m even less concerned about the Canadiens against the Rangers knowing this guy won’t be firing clappers at Lundqvist all series). Blackhawks have too many players who have been here before and want to win the Cup again more than they want to eat sleep or breathe and that’s what you need to do it. They’ll have a tough matchup in round 2 against the Wild, but if they can get through them I like this team to win the West.
Which brings me to my next pick, Wild -155: St. Louis does not have the best fans in baseball, or any sport. I don’t even think they have fans, or people who were ever cool kids or jocks in high school, and you need a few of those to be a good sports town. They just have nerds with sticks up their butts who like to completely ignore the fact that they’ve been caught cheating as many times as the Patriots (but gotten away with it) and act like they play the game in a “pure” way. Guess what? You don’t win a playoff series by playing by the rules anyway. You give the guys on the other team a cup check now and then. You “accidentally” slide into the goalie or star defensemen with the blades of your skate in the air. You take slap shots when there’s absolutely no way the puck is going through to the net just to catch an opponents knee and slow him down for a few shifts. So GTFO St. Louis, you don’t have any business having a hockey team in the first place (or any sports teams, that’s why the Rams left. People forget that), see ya on the golf course when you get bounced in the first round again.
Ducks -170: First of all, it’s an absolute travesty to the NHL that the Ducks got rid of their jersey that reminded everyone of the Mighty Ducks. When I play NHL on PS4, and a nerd picks the Ducks but doesn’t use the old jerseys, I immediately know that I’m about to figuratively turn that kid into a zamboni. That being said, if they break those jerseys back out for a game, then they are a 10,000,000,000 unit lock for that night. Especially in this series as they face another weak ass Canadian team. News flash: if you’re a flame, you can’t skate on ice. It’s science. They may not teach it so good in Canada, but trust me, I’m a Dr. So change your name, maybe even change your city, and try again next year. All of Canada is in a rebuilding year. If they combined all of the best players from every Canadian team, then MAYBE they have a Cup contender, but this is a sorry ass team that has no business in the playoffs this year. Ducks should be -250, but Calgary got hot for like two weeks not too long ago against a bunch of trash teams or teams that were resting players for the playoffs.
Blue Jackets +140: Here’s another “holy shit the public is so goddamn stupid” series. This time however, it isn’t the guys who watch all season long and just are stupid. It’s the playoff only crew. We got the big bettors who don’t watch a single game of hockey all season long come out of the woodwork remembering that the Pens won the cup last year. They literally expect the exact same team to come back on the ice and have no idea about injuries or trades or anything besides the fact that the Pens won it last year and that Columbus never has. Tortorella and the Rangers had their differences, but the man is a great coach. All four lines that he puts out can score at any given time, and play good enough defense to allow Bobrovsky to win them the game, even when they do only put up a goal or two. Not only will this team get by the Pens in 5 or 6 games, but they’ll have a good chance of delivering Washington their annual early exit in round 2.
This brings me to the last series to pick, Edmonton -140: It honestly may be the series I’m most excited to watch besides the Rangers of course. My heart really wants me to go against every single Canadian team, but my head just can’t do it. Again, the only reason Edmonton isn’t -200 or more is because of the idiots who remember the Sharks playing for the Cup last year. I’ve had older guys tell me how blessed they were to watch Gretzky in his prime, but we may be the generation that gets to see the second coming in Connor McDavid. With Easter on Sunday, is it really that far fetched? The guy does things on skates that most can’t do on dry land. He’s a gamechanger who can win his team the game by himself on any given night. Maroon and Draisaitl are pretty good themselves, but with the opportunity to send a pass anywhere in McDavid’s direction and beautiful set-ups from him the entire line looks filthy every time they take the ice. The Sharks have some good playoff experience, but they’re a beat up team entering the playoffs this year, so this is one of the rare cases where I think Edmonton’s youth is an advantage. It won’t be a blowout of a series, but the Oilers will be the one team from Canada to make it out of the first round alive.
Picture taken from: https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/timmaurer/2015/06/23/budgeting-guide-for-the-rich/&refURL=https://www.google.com/&referrer=https://www.google.com/