Wouldn’t it be great if play-off teams had a theme song like the political candidates in the States? As a break from crystal ball gazing (and for me, a break from grading freshman esssays - but I digress), here are some suggestions. Add your own as well.
Montreal – “Breathe” by the Prodigy
After all of the "experts" ranked them near the bottom, Montreal surprised everybody by finishing first in the Eastern Conference. The team’s young, but the veterans are there to help. They can win from behind, and they can also keep a lead. As Guy Carbonneau pointed out, they can lose the first game, but not the last. All they need to do is stay calm and focused.
Ottawa – "Set It Off" by POD
Some of the lyrics say it perfectly: “It’s gotta be now/because we are half past late” Ottawa started out as the best team in the east, only to squeak into the playoffs. They’ve been embarrassed and you can bet they’re going to be focused now.
Boston – “Without a Fight” by Hoobastank
Boston hasn’t beaten Montreal all year. You can bet they’re going to come out swinging and won’t go down without a fight. Look for a lot of physical play to neutralize Kovalev, Higgins, and Koivu once he’s back in the lineup.
Philadelphia - "Momma Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J
Yeah, it’s an old one, but it definitely applies here. Pittsburgh a young team that exited in the first round last year, but is stronger all around this year. They met Ottawa in the first round last year, and they know what to expect. Be prepared for a high level game from the Penguins that will swarm all over Ottawa in an attempt to shut down the likes of Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsson. They’re young, skate fast, hit hard and score at the smallest opportunity.
Washington – “Fire It Up” by Black Label Society
Washington’s on a roll. Ovechkin reached the sixty-goal level and still reacts like every goal is his first one Look for him to go even further with support from the likes of Backstrom and solid goaltending from Huet. After a horrid start, Washington has turned into the Cinderella story of the season.
New Jersey – “The End of Everything” by Powerman 5000
They’ve not exactly been playing their best. Coach Sutter has called them on it, and they agreed. They know that if they don’t get focused and play at the highest level, they’re making golf plans.
New York – “Code of the Road” by Danko Jones
This is a team that’s fought hard to get here, and nobody’s really expected them to do well when the expected scoring chemistry didn't happen. They’re gritty, not glamorous. It’s going to be a tough fight between the Devils and Rangers, but is anybody really paying attention to this series?
Philadelphia – “It’s a Fight” by Three 6 Mafia
Philly’s been looking a bit like the Broad Street Bullies of old this year. In one year, the team has fought back from a humiliating basement finish to play-off contender. They’ve made it to the play-offs, but can they be a real contender?
Detroit –“ I Don’t Wanna Stop” – Ozzy Osborne
Detroit has the oldest average age roster and they play with the energy of kids. They’re calm, focused, and determined. They have the most combined play-off experience and want another Cup.
Nashville – “Pedal to the Metal” by Kazzer
There’s just something about the lyrics of this song. They’re going to keep going, even if the radio’s been stolen. The team was gutted was last year, but it hasn’t stopped them. They exited early last year, and would really love to make a Cinderella run this year.
Anaheim – “Leave You Far Behind” by Lunatic Calm
The defending champions looked nothing like the championship team of last season until both Niedermayer and Selanne came back. Now they’re hoping to repeat as champions. They have a very physical, gritty style of play that annihilated teams in the play-offs last year.
Colorado – “When Worlds Collide” by Powerman 5000
Colorado and Minnesota have often clashed. They’re very similar in ability and strength. Minnesota won the season series 5-3, but look for Colorado to use physical play to shut down Gaborik and Rolston. You can bet Minnesota will pay them back with physical play from the likes of Derek Boogaard.
Minnesota – “Step Up” by Drowning Pool
Minnesota’s a strong team this year, but they have got to take in to the next level if they want to make it past Colorado. There’s very little difference between the teams. They’ve made a few adjustments so they won’t get steamrolled like last year’s sweep by Anaheim, but every aspect of Minnesota’s game has got be elevated.
Dallas – “In The Shadows” by the Rasmus
Marty Turco’s a great goalie, but his team keeps making an early exit from the play-offs. They’re in the shadow of the stronger teams. Dallas fans should look for Brad Richards to find his groove, or odds are they’ll be overshadowed again.
San Jose – “Whatever” by Godsmack
Despite the title, the main lyric is “I’m doing the best I ever did.” Having made early exits in the playoffs, they are on a hot streak this year. They know they’re up against a team that when focused is very dangerous. The Sharks are determined not only to survive the first round, but every round after.
Calgary – “Tick Tick Boom” by the Hives
Let’s face it. Calgary can be an elite team, but no one knows whether they’re going to play their “A” game or struggle horribly, not even "Iron Mike." When they are on top of their game, they’re explosive. Can they find the consistency they’ve been looking for all season?