One of PHT’s 10 pressing questions in advance of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs…
Here’s hoping the answer is yes, because I picked all four lower seeds to win in the West.
The thing is, I doubt I’d feel any less uncertain (and I feel quite uncertain) if I’d done the complete opposite. To illustrate, let’s quickly run down all four series involving top seeds versus wild-card teams:
Ducks (1) versus Stars (8): Dallas has the superior possession stats, plus Anaheim will probably have a rookie in goal.
Avalanche (2) versus Wild (7): Colorado has terrible possession stats, plus Matt Duchene is out to start the series.
Bruins (1) versus Red Wings (8): Boston’s gone the distance in its last three first-round series, and now it gets a Detroit side that almost certainly would’ve finished higher in the standings if not for all its injuries.
Penguins (2) versus Blue Jackets (7): In my opinion, this would be the biggest upset if it were to happen. But is anybody all that bullish on Pittsburgh this year?
In reality, the potential for a massive upset doesn’t actually exist anymore in the NHL. It’s not like back in the day when there was no salary cap and only five out of 21 teams missed the playoffs.
The Miracle on Manchester, now that was an upset. The Kings finished the 1981-82 season with a 24-41-15 record and knocked off Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers, who finished 48-17-15.
Three decades later, when the No. 8-seed Kings beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks in the first round, nobody was all that shocked. In fact, a lot of people had predicted it would happen, based on the possession stats.
Earlier today, I published a fun post called “Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup.” (OK, commenter wtfkwp, a real hit at parties, didn’t think it was so fun: “I’m not sure how you get paid for takes like that.”) But it really wasn’t that hard to write. There isn’t a single team without significant concerns heading into the postseason.
All of which is to say, thanks for reading PHT’s first-round predictions. But we really have no idea what’s going to happen, so you’ll have to watch the games.
For more Pressing Playoff Questions, click here.