NHL Playoffs conference preview
And when I say "preview'' I mean, "Who I'm rooting for.''
The West cranks up Thursday night with the Red Wings, my pick as the one of the two most boring teams in hockey because they're so good every year with some European guy who has come out of nowhere to score a boatload of playoff goals, and the Stars, my pick as the other most boring team in hockey because they're, well, boring. They should put "2-1 in overtime'' on the cover of their media guide. But the Stars do have Brad Richards and I'm not sure it's legal to live in Tampa Bay and not root for the Stars. If the Stars promise not have any more games that last until 2:24 in the morning, I'll be glad to throw them my support again. Plus, like I said, they have Brad Richards. Who will win? Let's go with the Stars in seven ... winning Game 7 by the score of 2-1 in overtime.
In the East, it's my hometown Penguins against the Flyers starting Friday night. I think I've been kicked out of the Pittsburgh fan club for openly rooting for the Rangers in the last round because I was sick of Pittsburgh fans booing Jaromir Jagr. So, I humbly ask all Pittsburghers if I can get back into the Steel Club. I promise to never let my Terrible Towel touch the ground and vow to use the words "Yunz'' "Jumbo'' and "Gumband'' as often as possible. And I will eat the kielbasa sandwich at Primanti Brothers whenever I go back to the 'Burgh. This series is going to be closer than Pens fans might want to admit. The Flyers are big and physical and will dish out some punishment. The Pens defense is suspect and I keep waiting for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to hit a few bumps in the playoff road. But I'll go with the Pens in six.