With the playoffs pending, the prognosticators have poured out of the woodwork, making their playoff predictions with abandon. The experts have taken all factors into consideration, plugged endless stats into spreadsheets filled with formulas, expertly tossed chicken bones onto animal hides, and blindly flung darts at a board filled with logos. There was momentary confusion when this method led to KFC defeating Nike in 6 games, but it was decided this meant Washington over New York in 5.
Let’s face it, these kinds of predictions are usually just a crapshoot. The best most people can manage is an educated guess. There are just too many random, bizarre events in hockey to accurately predict the results of a 7-game series. So, instead of making ordinary, boring predictions about each playoff series, which you can find anywhere else, I’m going to try to predict some of the random, bizarre events instead. In very specific detail. Here are 10 unlikely predictions for the 2011 NHL Playoffs. If even one of these predictions comes true, I am buying a crystal ball, 134 candles, and some faux-silk scarves and going into business.
1. In game three of the Boston/Montreal match-up, Zdeno Chara will appear to drop the gloves with, of all people, Scott Gomez. Shockingly, Gomez will knock Chara out with a thundering uppercut. It will come to light that Chara was attempting to challenge Hal Gill and didn’t even see Gomez down there. In less surprising news, Scott Gomez will win every riding in Quebec as a write-in candidate.
2. With too much attention focussed on his post-game exploits, Chris Pronger will take to stealing game pucks prior to games.
3. In an elaborate, yet ill-conceived prank, Patrick Kane will find a way to sneak into Tanner Glass’s bedroom while he is sleeping and cut off his mullet. Shockingly, like a reverse-Samson, Glass will gain strength from this coiff faux pas, feeding off his rage for his lost locks to lead the Canucks in goalscoring.
4. Michael Neuvirth will completely collapse in game 1 of the Rangers/Capitals series, getting pulled and leading to Semyon Varlamov starting game 2. He too, will fall apart and get pulled. The Capitals won’t have any recourse but to throw Braden Holtby in: he’ll give up 5 goals in the first period of game 3. Down 3-0 and getting desperate, George McPhee will call down to the Hershey Bears for Dany Sabourin, who will proceed to lock down the Capitals goal, leading to a phenomenal comeback in the series, culminating in a brilliant 37-save shutout for Sabourin in game 7. The Capitals still get eliminated in the second round.
5. The Predators/Ducks series will receive the highest TV ratings of the playoffs.
6. Desperately needing scoring in the absence of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Dan Bylsma will try everything to motivate Alexei Kovalev. Suddenly, starting in game 5 of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Kovalev will ignite, scoring 2 goals and adding 2 assists in a pivotal 5-4 win. He will average 1.85 points per game throughout the rest of the playoffs, coming a crossbar short of a hattrick in a losing effort in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and will be the unanimous choice for the Conn Smythe. When asked what it took to motivate Kovalev, Bylsma will reply, “Pancakes. Freshly made pancakes.”
7. Drew Doughty will not be suspended for a controversial elbow to the head of Kyle Wellwood. While attempting to demonstrate the hit on Coach’s Corner, Ron Maclean will accidentally elbow Don Cherry in the jaw, knocking him unconscious. Maclean will be suspended by the CBC for the duration of the playoffs.
8. Despite several attempts, Ryan Johnson will fail to block a single shot during the Canucks/Blackhawks series.
9. In solidarity with the facially-follicly-challenged Jiri Hudler, the Detroit Red Wings will refrain from growing playoff beards, depriving the world of the glory of the Zetterbeard. All of the superstitions will turn out to be true, as the Coyotes easily sweep the un-hirsute Wings.
10. The Stanley Cup winning goal will be scored by Rick Rypien.
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