Hump Day Hottie: 2013 NHL Playoffs

David Steckel HOT

Steckel wants to know who you got in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

It’s that time of year…finally! We weren’t sure if we would even have the NHL Playoffs this year, but here we are. While other sites try to compile their own lists of the hotties of the NHL, we know our hockey here, so you can trust us.

As an added bonus, we’re even providing a preview of sorts for those who have checked out on the NHL so far. So strap on your skates and don’t ice the puck…

Eastern Conference

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #8 New York Islanders

PensIslanders

The Pens have been virtually unstoppable this year and are the sure favorite to come out of the East. Even while star Sidney Crosby has been on the sidelines nursing a broken jaw (ouch!), the team is still playing like he’s not even missing. I say they take this series from the Islanders (who are finally back in the playoffs) in 5 games.

Hottie to Watch:

Pittsburgh – James Neal

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins

Islanders – Marty Reasoner

Marty Reasoner - Islanders

 

#2 Montreal Canadiens vs. #7 Ottawa Senators

CanadiensSenators

Montreal was playing lights out at the beginning of the season, but went on a total slide towards the end. It helped that the Boston Bruins also went on a slide, so Montreal ended up winning the Northeast. The Senators have been playing great hockey despite losing star goaltender Craig Anderson to injury for six weeks. But he’s back and the Sens are playing great hockey. I think this match-up has upset written all over it. Sens in 6.

Hottie to Watch:

Habs – Carey Price (I couldn’t resist)

Carey Price - Canadiens

Senators – Kyle Turris

Kyle Turris - Senators

 

#3 Washington Capitals vs. #7 New York Rangers

CapsRangers

Here we are again. Caps vs. Rangers. This marks the fourth time in five years that these two teams have matched up in the playoffs. The Caps are on a tear right now after most of us, including this STH, had counted them out earlier in the season. Ovechkin had the best month of his career in April and the Caps won the Southeast. The Rangers also come into the playoffs hot with Rick Nash lighting it up in April, as well. The Rangers swept the season series with the Caps, but that was earlier in the season before the Caps started clicking under new head coach Adam Oates’ system. Many pundits are picking the Rangers to be the surprise in the East, but they have to get past the Caps first. I say Caps in 7.

Hottie to Watch:

Capitals – Joel Ward (Brooks Laich is broken, so I went with a wild card)

Joel Ward - Caps

Rangers – Dan Girardi

Dan Girardi - Rangers

 

#4 Boston Bruins vs. #5 Toronto Maple Leafs

BruinsMapleLeafs

What a great match-up? Division opponents who have a real disdain for each other facing off in the playoffs? Awesome. I would have loved to have seen Montreal as the 4-seed facing the Leafs for the pure hatred, but that could happen next round (but it won’t – see earlier prediction). Boston lost it’s footing in the Northeast at the end of the season, so they’re not coming into the playoffs with much momentum. The Leafs are entering the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and Canada is stoked! (OK, maybe not all of Canada, but there are a lot of excited people.) No matter your feelings about the teams, this should make for a great series. I’m picking the Leafs in 7. The team and the fans are excited and Boston doesn’t seem motivated to win.

Hottie to Watch:

Bruins – Daniel Paille

Daniel Paille - Bruins

Maple Leafs – Joffrey Lupul

Joffrey Lupul - Leafs

 

Western Conference

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #8 Minnesota Wild

BlackhawksWild

The Blackhawks are undeniably the best team in the league this season. Winners of the President’s Trophy, the Blackhawks have played with intensity from start to finish. The last team to win the Presidents Trophy and the Cup in the same year was the Detroit Red Wings in 2008, so it’s not always a guarantee. The Wild picked up some big names in free agency, including Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, that have propelled them into the playoffs. They have showed a lot of heart so far, losing in OT to Chicago in game 1. They’re not going to be an easy opponent for Chicago, but I don’t see Chicago losing this series. Blackhawks in 6.

Hottie to Watch:

Chicago – Patrick Sharp (duh!)

Patrick Sharp - Blackhawks

Minnesota – Jason Zucker (he’s a baby and this pick feels dirty, but I wanted someone besides Parise)

Jason Zucker - Wild

 

#2 Anaheim Ducks vs. #7 Detroit Red Wings

DucksRedWings

The Ducks have had a great year under head coach Bruce Boudreau. I, of course, love Bruce from his days with the Caps, but also love the Ducks for many other reasons (ahem, Bobby Ryan). I’ve been following them for awhile and they’re quietly winning games and taking names. Everyone is so concerned with Chicago, that I think the Ducks are a sleeper team in the West. The Red Wings are having an off year and fought all year for their playoff spot. They just aren’t the same Red Wings that caused fear in their opponents. They lost game 1 3-1, and I just don’t think they have the fight. Ducks in 5.

Hottie to Watch

Ducks – David Steckel (muhahaha – you knew I’d get him in here somehow!)

David Steckel - Ducks

Red Wings – Brendan Smith

Brendan Smith - Red Wings

 

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 San Jose Sharks

CanucksSharks

So I feel really unprepared to preview this series. I know that the Canucks struggled a bit with no Ryan Kesler and now Corey Schneider has some undisclosed injury that has forced Vancouver to go with Luongo who apparently sucks. So the state of the Canucks is another mystery. They’re also known for choking in the playoffs, but the biggest playoff chokers are the Sharks. How many times have the Sharks been red hot and lost in the first round? Well, someone has to win, and they’re saying Schneider should be ready to go for the series. If that’s the case, I’m going with Vancouver in 6.

Hottie to Watch:

Canucks – Ryan Kesler (again, duh!)

Ryan Kesler - Canucks

Sharks – Dan Boyle (he’s pretty ruggedly handsome!)

Dan Boyle - Sharks

 

#4 St. Louis Blues vs. #5 Los Angeles Kings

BluesKings

This appears to be a fantastic match-up. The 4 vs. 5 usually is a pretty good one, but if last night’s game is any indication, then this one will be awesome. Another OT game on the first night of the playoffs saw the Blues take a 1-0 series lead after Alex Steen scored a short-handed goal in OT after a major blunder behind the net by Jonathan Quick. The Kings are the defending champs and won the Cup as an 8-seed, but I don’t see that magic repeating itself. Blues will take this series in 7.

Hottie to Watch:

Blues – David Backes (again, I couldn’t resist)

David Backes - Blues

Kings – Jonathan Bernier

Meet The L.A. Kings Hockey Team,  Hosted by Jerry Bruckheimer and Luc Robitaille

One thought on “Hump Day Hottie: 2013 NHL Playoffs

  1. First,is it alright if I blame you if I end up drawing some NY Rangers as Power Rangers? (It won’t be the strangest crossover I’ve drawn *cough*TJ Oshie as a Pokemon.)

    Second, my Finals? Pens (Not because of Sidney/Evengi/Fleury/etc., but because they have the highest number of former Stars. I MISS YOU, JAMES AND BRENDEN!) vs Sharks (from what I can count, highest number of Wisconsin born players/former University of Wisconsin Badgers/former Green Bay Gamblers).

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