After going through Mark Ritter’s picks of the day, I started to think—why should he get all the fun? A little competition never hurt anyone, so I decided to take it upon myself to throw my hat in the ring and see if I can best the hard-hitting Ritter at his own game.
I understand he is at a disadvantage—what with me starting a few games into the season—so for my internal purposes, I’m going to give him a fresh start as of tonight’s games with these picks.
So here are the games tonight and my picks:
1. Visitor: Florida (1-1-0) vs. Home: Carolina (1-2-0)
2. Visitor: Dallas (0-0-2) vs. Home: Calgary (4-0-0)
My pick: Calgary, and here’s why:
Even though Dallas is more rested, only playing two games to Calgary’s four, I have to pick the Flames here. The defensive corps is probably the best in the NHL and with Iginla and Jokinen starting to find a groove, it’s hard to bet against them.
Their fourth line (dubbed the 'Storm Line' in a conversation I had with Fraser Elliott) has been energetic and determined, and is playing extremely well.
My pick: Carolina, and here's why:
With Erik Cole out with a leg fracture (4-6 weeks) and Joni Pitkanen (day-to-day) questionable and unlikely for tonight’s game, there are serious questions about the offensive firepower left in the tank for Carolina.
Pitkanen has been reliable in the past to produce some offense (33 points, seven goals in the 2008-2009 season) and will be missed on the blue line tonight. Combine that with the less-than-normal play by Cam Ward, who signed a lengthy contract extension, you have to wonder about who to pick.
Carolina will be out to show that neither Pitkanen nor Cole hurts their chances this season that much, so I’m picking them to win…tonight. Come the weekend or next week, I might not be so generous.
So there we have it. Ritter, this is my bold-faced challenge to you for picks for the rest of the NHL season. Can you keep up with me, or will you smoke me in the dust? We’ll see…