’97, ’98, and ’02, or 87, 71 and 18?

by Ryan

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve had a tough time getting a prediction down. Many of you have already made your picks in the comments a few days ago, and if you didn’t, leave them on this one. Since Jon put his down already, it’s up to the rest of the Roost to do the same.

Everyone picks the Finals, it’s like picking a horse in the Derby; even if you don’t know much about it you pick a favorite. For those who really care, there are numbers (which I will use frequently in this post, so thank you Good Doctor…) and rosters and good old fashioned hockey IQ.

Still, with all that at my disposal I’m having a hard time picking between the team that I want to win and the team I think will win. I don’t have a “second team” per se, but the Penguins are a likeable bunch that I’ve followed with a little help from the best photoshop expo on the planet. If there is anyone who I want to win the Cup it is them.

However, there is the analytical part of my mind has said that whoever comes out of the West will win the Cup simply on the strength of that Conference. Take into account how well Detroit has played throughout the year and Osgood has looked thus far and, well, it’s hard not to see Lidstrom getting first crack at the Shiny Dish.

That part of my head sees things like WhatIfSports.com’s prediction of Wings in 5 and nods in approval. Afterall, when you run a simulation 10,000 times it has to be a better call than your gut, right?

According to the Good Doctor, the Red Wings are older, significantly better on faceoffs, and their star players take more shots. Zettersyuk is on ice more often than the Penguins’ trifecta of Crosby/Malkin/Hossa, and Nick Lidstrom is the the best defenseman on the planet. When you look at it like that, how can you see anything but Wings in 5, maybe 6 if you want to be vindictive and make them win on the road?

Still, this blog was started on a whim, and I’ve been picking with a bias all along. Regardless of how good Detroit looks, there are always those intangibles that can get to you. Remember how scared Detroit looked when Nashville rallied to tie in Game Five? They were one overtime bounce away from being down 3-2 heading back to Nashville, and a crazy bounce (center ice goal) away from Game Six being up for grabs as well. The bounces have gone both teams’ ways, and something has to give when the puck drops.

Then you begin to think about how similar Pittsburgh’s little team is to our little team from way back when 11 months ago. How can you not want to see them finish the job, just to prove that it can be done?

You think about how important this series is to the game, how big a chance it is for the league to shine. This is about more than numbers here, this is about image and market share and all kinds of buzzwords that the Public Relations team lives for.

After mulling it over, you start to think about fans, that amazing feeling of victory, and personal rivalries with individual friends and family. You think about what this means to the people you care about, and before you know it, you are starting to drift to the other side.

By the time you get to thinking about that time Pensblog Charlie poked you at 3am, you are only wondering how many games it will take.

Before you can change your mind, you type it out and hit “publish”…

Pens in 5.