Western Conference Semi-Finals Preview

Mike BogaczCorrespondent IApril 23, 2008

Even though the Avalanche have played the most playoff games since 1996.  I can't find the exact number of games, but the Avs have that number in part because of some of the game 7’s they have been forced via "choke jobs” to play.

And yes, the 2000 choke job to the Stars in the western conference still pains me, as I still feel “the better team lost.”

I wrote this past February that the Avs-Wings blood-feud was dead since the end of game 7 in the 2002 Stanley Cup/Western Conference finals. The Avs do lead the Wings in playoff series 3-2, but can they make it 4-2?

The Avs powerplay was the 28th“best” during the season; if they can't get the powerplay going then this could get ugly on the scoreboard. Osgood, unlike in 1999 seems to be healthy and should, unless he collapses, be in net for the Wings instead of Hasek.

The Avs will steal a game or 2 because you can't ignore Theodore, Foote, Sauer, and Salie being able to shut down the likes of the Wings offense.  But Detroit has only lost 4 games to the Avs (one via shootout, another in overtime) since Valentine's Day 2004.

Some rivals huh?

This is another blast from the past: McCarty making his Red Wings comeback late in the season as well. We could see some of the “old stuff”--COULD--because Dallas Drake and the Wings still have some ill feelings towards lappy for his, in the very words of Lidstrom, CLEAN HIT, on the Norris Trophy nominated Swede blue-liner.  But we will not see the fights that broke out in garbage time as we saw in 1997.

The Wings offense will be to much for Theodore, and the Wings defense/Ozzie will have at least 2 shut outs. Wings in 6.

My pre-playoffs cup winner, San Jose, won the series against the Flames in rather amusing fashion. I seriously thought the Sharks were going to blow the series after their HORRIBLE play last Sunday in game 6. I have never seen that many HORRIBLE turnovers and horrible passing in a long time.

The Sharks prevailed and smoked the Flames in game 7 last night. The Stars had a pretty easy time against the Ducks, but the let Anaheim hang around; thus, the Ducks did make things interesting. The Stars eventually woke up and eliminated the Ducks--I guess having 160 PIMS with the Sharks in the last game of the season was enough to prepare the Stars.

Another reason I failed to mention why I like the Sharks to win the cup this year: Jeremy Roenick. Dude's been to the Cup finals ONCE, the sweep by the Penguins of my Blackhawks in 1992. JR, like him or not, does deserve a Cup, and this is his very last chance.

There's a reason why Nabokov is a Vezina Trophy finalist and not Turco (Nabokov is my Vezina winner).  The Sharks smell blood: it wont be easy, but “Nabby” will be the difference. This series will have more “fireworks” than anything remotely close to the Avs-Wings. (Side note: will you morons in the Denver media SHUT UP and stop showing fights from the late 90’s..PLEASE!?) Sharks in 6