The one day…THE ONE DAY I don’t save as I go along. I worked for an hour on this post with my usual witty brilliance or brilliant wittiness and great insight, and it’s now in the ether. Which DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. Stupid pre-science theories.
So, Cliff Notes version: Annie Pankowski is a really good Junior hockey player.
My predictions for Kaz finalists: Raty, Bozek, Kessel, Decker, Dempsy, both Lamoureux, Babstock, Jenner, Coyne. Outside chance: Sabatine, Poulin, Carpenter, Brandt, Rigsby, Bellamy. Players who are carrying weak teams/are younger, but had good years and thus I think should be looked at: Smith, Vint, Mercer, Lefort, Howe, Tarr (who, you ask? Only player to crack top 50 for Ohio State). Usual whining about selection criteria blah blah blah Raty will win.
‘Hurst has three conference defeats for the first time since…ever, actually. They should still win, but given the rest of the slate was upset central as mediocre teams collided every week, bless their little hearts the CHA tournament should be a roll of the nice. Just throw the puck over the boards and have at it.
The ECAC and Hockey East will be full of desperation as it’s almost certain at least one undeserving WCHA team will take a spot in the national tourney, so conference tourney wins are huge. SLU/Quinnipiac is the only toss-up in the opening round of the ECAC, but the finals could feature Harvard versus the Clarkson team that has defeated it twice already this year, or Cornell. Cornell/Clarkson is where we see whether great defense really does defeat great offense. In Hockey East, Northeastern has some late-charging momentum with its Beanpot win, and BU is backing in with two losses, but I still feel BC has the biggest potential upside. All three of these teams should make it to the national post-season, but probably won’t because of the WCHA. Now, all of you Easterners are looking askance because generally the complaint is the WCHA is under rather than over-represented. But the Wisconsin Anemics really don’t deserve a berth this year, unless they manage to find their hidden offense under someone’s old textbooks or something. Everyone is also hoping that the Minnesota Juggernaut of Destiny comes down en masse with the flu or gets bored or is freaked out by facing the only team that gave it any trouble this year and gets the yips. I find this unlikely. The Gophers have been disciplined for a front-runner and that will not go away. Four lines can score. Great D. Also of interest is which Duluth squad shows up. On any given weekend they can look technically sound or pretty average, they don’t have a dominating weapon, and unlike their in-state rivals they tend to not stay focused for three periods. OSU has not been totally woeful this year, so that series might be competitive depending on how much Duluth wants it. NDU is the real wild card here, as it is capable of beating any of the competitors other than Minnesota, but their team motto over the past five years is ‘who the hell knows?’
I recognize this post is high on prosody and low on statistical analysis (so what else is new?), but we’ll just pretend all the numbers were in the one that got lost.
In other words, I’m super-excited for the postseason and I hope you are too.