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*** EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION SEMI-FINALS (1) Boston Bruins (54-19-9, 117 points) vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings (39-28-15, 93 points) The Bruins and the Red Wings last met in the playoffs in 1957, so simply from a hockey purists standpoint, this series will be worth the price of admission. The Bruins have been dominant this year, and the Wings decimated by injury. Rational analysis would suggest the Bruins have an easy run here. But were not relying on rationale. Random: The Bruins won the 57 series in 5 games, so in their last one series against the Wings, the Bruins are undefeated. Hockey logic suggests that trend would continue. Additionally, Daniel Alfredsson has yet to lose a playoff series as a Red Wing.Coin Toss: BruinsI-Ching: "Success through smallness. Perseverance brings good fortune to the wanderer." This suggests the smaller more creative Wings will beat the big, bad Bruins.Utter Nonsense: The Bruins have sandpaper and grit, which are synonyms and essentially mean that they have players who dont mind fighting and bending the rules. Sandpaper and grit are very popular among NHL managers and coaches. Mostly, they like saying, "sandpaper and grit." Likewise, the hockey media has taken to referencing sandpaper and grit. They like players with sandpaper and grit. Players lacking sandpaper and grit are not the makings of a champion. Whoever invented the Corsi and Fenwick stats needs to develop a quantifiable Sandpaper Quotient, or the term must be banned from the sport. Prediction: Im a Montrealer, and as such morally and physically incapable of favouring anything Boston-related. Wings in 7. ~ (2) Tampa Bay Lightning (46-27-9, 101 points) vs. (3) Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8, 100 points) Montreal is the only Canadian team in the playoffs, and each of the past 6 times that has occurred theyve won the Cup. The Bolts are entering their first playoffs without a French Canadian star player and an injured team MVP in goaltender Ben Bishop. The big question in this series is: Will there be enough Canadian snowbirds in Tampa to give the Habs a home ice advantage on the road? Random: No team has ever won the Stanley Cup after one of its forwards was charged with cocaine possession the week before the playoffs. The Habs are undefeated in the playoffs in years that Pauline Marois PQ government has been defeated in a provincial election.Coin Toss: Habs.I-Ching: "Biting through has success. It is favorable to let justice be administered." Neither team is particularly truculent, but with the return of Brandon Prust to the Habs lineup and George Parros in the press box at the ready, I-Ching likes the Canadiens.Utter Nonsense: Bolts head coach Jon Cooper is a lawyer. No NHL head coach who is a lawyer by trade has ever lost to the Habs in the first round of a playoff series. Prediction: Price gets hot and carries the Habs to Round 2. Habs in 6. ~ METROPOLITAN DIVISION SEMI-FINALS (1) Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-7, 109 points) vs. (4) Columbus Blue Jackets (43-32-7, 93 points) Tomas Vokun was added to the Pens roster over the weekend, suggesting that the organization has little faith in starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. One would have to believe that if the Penguins dont make a deep run this year, head coach Dan Bylsma would be looking for another job. The Jackets are just happy to have been invited to the dance, are playing with house money, and (insert third cliché here.) An upset, or long series, would seemingly rely on Ryan Johansens coming out party as the games next dominant power forward and Sergei Bobrovskys return to Vezina excellence. Random: The price of a cappuccino in Columbus is 10.59% less than in Pittsburgh. You have to respect that kind of sabermetrics when considering the outcome of a series.Coin Toss: Penguins.I-Ching: "Decrease combined with sincerity brings about supreme good fortune without blame." I-Ching mustve meant "the crease" not decrease. Eastern online divination suggests Bobrovsky outplays Fleury, with the latter again to be blamed for the Pens misfortunes in the second season.Utter Nonsense: No one thought that in a sport dominated by misogynistic locker room sentiment, a team nicknamed the BJs would be a bad idea? Prediction: Bob returns to form, and Ohio hockey goes to Round 2 for the first time ever. Jackets in 7. ~ (2) New York Rangers (45-31-6, 96 points) vs. (3) Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-10) Broadway versus Broad Street. This series promises to be one of the most entertaining, as these decades-old rivals meet in Round 1. Ultimately, in the series (as with most really) comes down to goaltending. The Rangers will be relying desperately on the play of Henrik Lundqvist, who has looked mortal this year. The Flyers, as always, have goaltending issues, and could probably start the ghost of Pelle Lindbergh and still have a better chance than the suspect duo of Steve Mason and Ray Emery. The series will most certainly miss John Tortorella. Hes the Jim Schoenfeld of his generation. Random: Martin St-Louis has never lost a playoff series while with the Rangers. Craig Berube is undefeated in the post-season as a head coach. What? How can one reconcile these two contradictory yet indisputable facts?Coin Toss: Rangers.I-Ching: "The Taming Power of the Great. Perseverance furthers. Not eating at home brings good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water." Well, looks like I-Ching sees these teams crossing the Hudson a few times before its over, ultimately going 7 games, with the road team the victor. Flyers go to Round 2.Utter Nonsense: Lundqvist once played Guns n Roses "Sweet Child O Mine" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. No goalie that has performed a GnR tune on NBC has ever lost to the Flyers in a 7 game series. Prediction: Hard to argue with I-Ching here. Flyers in 7. ~ WESTERN CONFERENCE CENTRAL DIVISION SEMI-FINALS (1) Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8, 112 points) vs. (4) Minnesota Wild (43-27-12, 98 points) Colorado is the surprise one seed in the West, finishing strong under first-year head coach Patrick Roy. Roy was at home in the playoffs as a player, winning four Cups and three Conn Smythe Trophies, more than any other player. His team seems to have appropriated his temperament and passion, a scary notion for opponents. Minnesota is the team that money bought, still trying to reap the rewards of signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter two summers ago. Their goaltending currently relies on Ilya Bryzgalov having one last good run in the tank. Hell be back on the lecture circuit soon. Random: Dany Heatley, acquired by the Wild in the off-season, is having his worst season as a pro, with some suggesting his time in the league could be done. This is wonderful news for fans in Ottawa and Edmonton, who took Heatleys shunning of their communities quite hard a few years ago. What does this have to do with this matchup? Nothing really. Thats why this is the "Random" section. I explained this in the introduction. Did you even read the introduction? Coin Toss: Avs.I-Ching: "The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring. Changing Lines: Changing yang at the bottom means hidden dragon. Do not act." The movement of heaven suggests the Avs are on a roll not to be stopped, and the superior man is obviously Roy (just ask him). I-Ching sees this series coming down to the third and fourth lines, giving the Avs depth the advantage. Utter Nonsense: The best burger Ive ever had in my life was at the Crowne Royal hotel in Denver. Ive never been to Minnesota, but I doubt their burgers measure up. However, Betty Whites character Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls is from Minnesota, suggesting this series may go longer than I believe. Prediction: Roy in the playoffs is good for the game. Avs in 5. ~ (2) St. Louis Blues (52-23-7, 111 points) vs. (3) Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-5, 107 points) I suppose this series is the one that many are most looking forward to, but my reaction to the matchup is: Meh. St. Louis, under Ken Hitchcock, plays the kind of hockey that ruins hockey: An over-coached, systems based, reduce chances game that makes Jacques Lemaires teams look like the 80s Oilers. Ryan Miller, playing for a contract, will be something to watch, however. Chicago is a little banged up, having rested Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane down the stretch. No team has repeated as champions since the late 90s Red Wings, suggesting the Hawks may be in for more of a challenge than they might expect. Including the Olympics, many of the Hawks best players have played a lot of hockey in the past 16 months. Random: At the beginning of the season, Hitchcock ordered that the Blues no longer celebrate by fist bumping along the length of the bench as most teams do. In the regular season, this was an exercise in team before player, the collective over the individual. But in the post-season, when emotions arent just running high, but rather an intangible asset, how will this micromanaging affect the Blues players?Coin Toss: Blues.I-Ching: "The Well. The town may be changed, but the well cannot be changed. It neither decreases nor increases. They come and go and draw from the well. If one gets down almost to the water and the rope does not go all the way, or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune."Ya, I dont know what that means. Utter Nonsense: Ryan Miller is married to actress Noureen DeWulf, who appeared in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey won an Oscar this year for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, and was critically lauded for his performance in HBOs True Detective. These facts suggest DeWulfs husband will win a Stanley Cup. Prediction: Hitchcock is part of the destruction of up-tempo hockey. I cant pick the Blues. Hawks in 6. ~ PACIFIC DIVISION SEMI-FINALS (1) Anaheim Ducks (54-20-8, 116 points) vs. (4) Dallas Stars (40-31-11, 91 points) Anaheim, since replacing Randy Carlyle with Bruce Boudreau as head coach, plays the kind of hockey we all want to see: Offensive, creative, and relying more on the players than a system. We need more Boudreaus. Any team that boasts Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Teemu Selanne, has the ability to challenge for the Cup. Dallas. Well, Dallas has Tim Thomas, the strangest right wing quote machine, back in the playoffs after a year spent away from the game, building bomb shelters and reading Ayn Rand. But, the team squeaked into the playoffs, and despite the rise of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, seems a few years from being the dominant force that GM Jim Nill is intent on building. Random: If you dont like Selanne, you dont like hockey. It would be great for the game if the Ducks made a bit of a run. Coin Toss: Ducks.I-Ching: "Contemplation. The ablution has been made, but not yet the offering. Full of trust they look up to him."See, even Internet I-Ching likes Teemu. Utter Nonsense: Boudreau had a minor role in Slap Shot. No head coach of a California-based NHL team who has appeared in a Paul Newman film has ever lost a playoff series against a Texas-based team if that series began on a weekday. Prediction: Teemu plays like hes 23, and takes the Stars out quick so he can rest like hes 43. Ducks in 4. ~ (2) San Jose Sharks (51-22-9, 111 points) vs. (3) Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8, 100 points) This is perhaps the most compelling series of the first round. The forever playoff-challenged Sharks against the surprising recent champion Kings. San Jose just cant seem to ever find that playoff gear. If they dont go to the conference finals this year, it could be time for a rebuild. Even more surprising is the fact that somehow the curmudgeonly Kings coach Darryl Sutter has become an entertaining quote machine. Where was that in Calgary? Sutter has this team playing well, and if goaltender Jonathan Quick can regain his 11 form, the Kings could go deep. Random: See what I did above? Did you see that? This is exactly what I was railing against in the introduction. What kind of nonsense is that, "if goaltender Jonathan Quick can regain his 11 form, the Kings could go deep"? Of course if their goalie gets hot they could go deep. If any of a number of things happen, any team could go deep. I cant believe people get paid for this.Coin Toss: Kings.I-Ching: "Dispersion. Success. The king approaches his temple." Goodbye San Jose. Utter Nonsense: Brent Burns wears awesome suits. Sharks should win on that fact alone. Prediction: No self-respecting hockey team should wear teal. Kings in 7. Kentrell Brice Jersey .The Dallas Cowboys released Sam from the practice squad Tuesday, dropping the rush end as they prepare for several potential reinforcements to return to the defensive line. Jahri Evans Jersey . The stakes were higher, the competition more fierce and the atmosphere was that of a playoff game - something the young, upstart Raptors have five weeks to better prepare themselves for or the result will be eerily similar. http://www.thepackersnflfanshop.com/Bla ... tt-Jersey/. Last year, Matt Kuchar closed with a 4-under 68 to beat Kevin Chappell by two strokes for his second win of the 2013 season and sixth of his career. Custom Green Bay Packers Jerseys . Indeed, must be among the greatest challenges in all of sports. The pressure he applies, from set to set, game to game, point to point, shot to shot. Mason Crosby Jersey . -- Canadian Erik Bedard pitched into the fifth inning in his bid to win a spot in Tampa Bays rotation, helping the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Saturday.OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland Raiders ended their three-week roller-coaster ride on a high and sent the Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers to their lowest point under coach Jim Harbaugh.Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and the Raiders bounced back from a shellacking last week by beating the 49ers 24-13 Sunday and putting a major dent in San Franciscos dwindling playoff hopes.The Raiders (2-11) followed their exhilarating first win of the season against Kansas City with a 52-0 loss at St. Louis before delivering their most complete performance of the season against San Francisco (7-6).Its great for us to come off of a bye week and perform the way we did today, said safety Charles Woodson, who sealed the win with a late interception.Being able to bounce back from the way we felt last week was big for us. To win this game, the Battle of the Bay, your crosstown rivals, its a big win for us.Carr completed 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards and completely outplayed counterpart Colin Kaepernick in his best performance yet in his rookie season.With a second straight loss the 49ers (7-6) are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in Harbaughs four-year tenure. San Francisco trails three teams by two games in the NFC wild-card race with three games remaining after making three straight NFC title games.There is no surrendering, Harbaugh said. You look for the next thing to win at.A Thanksgiving night loss at home to rival Seattle prompted CEO Jed York to apologize to fans on Twitter and raise even more speculation that Harbaugh will not be back next season for the final year of his five-year contract.Harbaugh even sparked the chatter where he might wind up next season when he walked out of the tunnel and straight to Raiders owner Mark Davis for a quick chat before his first game in Oakland since his tenure as an assistant with the Raiders in 2002-03.Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano is making his case to keep the job by winning two of the past three weeks, including a 24-20 victory over Kansas City on Nov. 20.We said last night in the meeting, that somebody had to step up and make a couple of plays, Sparanoo said.ddddddddddddToday I felt a bunch of guys stepped up.From Carrs big game to Mychal Riveras 109-yard receiving day to a pair of sacks from Antonio Smith and Khalil Mack to a dominant offensive line performance that even included a touchdown catch by left tackle Donald Penn, the Raiders had plenty of big performances.This week it was preached to us just how important this game was, Smith said. This week more and more of us became true Raiders, knowing what the heritage is about, knowing what this game was about, how important it was to this city.Carr rarely faced any pressure, giving him plenty of time to find open receivers downfield. He hit all five of his passes for 73 yards on the go-ahead drive capped by a 9-yard pass to Marcel Reece that made it 17-13.After a three-and-out by the 49ers, Carr led the Raiders to their first consecutive TD drives of the season with a 5-yard scoring strike to Rivera.They were able to go out there and take advantage of the mistakes we made, linebacker Aldon Smith said. They just made more good plays than we did. He did a good job of getting the ball out and using his protection.Kaepernick threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage, was sacked on San Franciscos last and wasnt much better in between. He finished 18 for 33 for 174 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and five sacks as San Francisco failed to score 20 points for the sixth time in seven games.The Raiders went ahead 10-7 in the second quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass to the 330-pound Penn, who bowled over Eric Reid at the goal line and leaped into the Black Hole for a beer-doused celebration. It was Penns third career TD catch and second against the Niners, having also caught one in 2010.Im happy Im able to live every big mans dream, Penn said.NOTES: Niners LB Ahmad Brooks had his streak of 60 straight starts snapped because he missed a meeting Tuesday. Brooks did not play at all in the game. ... Carrs 140.2 passer rating was the highest for the Raiders since Rich Gannon posted a 141.9 vs. the Giants in 2001.___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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