HEY, SMART GUY

Robin Brownlee
May 16 2009 11:17AM

einstein

There was a time not so many years ago when I went 14-1 predicting the outcomes of NHL playoff series and was hailed, literally, from coast to coast as some kind of post-season savant. I remember it because, well, I made money by guessing right as often as I did. The next post-season, you see, CBC radio picked me up and asked me to give my selections based on my obvious, ahem, expertise at reading the tea leaves.

It was a sweet deal, a kind-of syndicated arrangement, where I did one interview and had it picked up by several CBC stations across the country. I got nice cheques from all of them. It wasn't enough lettuce to buy myself a new car, but it was a thick stack.

Since, then, it's quite obvious I've fallen down the stairs and hit my head countless times without knowing it because I haven't been able to pick a winner -- OK, I did take Edmonton to beat Detroit in the first round of 2006 -- to save my life. It's embarrassing.

For all the information I've got at my fingertips, despite all the years and years of experience I have watching and writing about hockey and even with the pssssst, inside dope I have, I've obviously got no frigging clue 25 years into this gig.

When did I get so stupid?

PICK 'EM, EINSTEIN

I was a brilliant 1-3 in the second round, leaving me at, like, 5-7 this post-season. By comparison, Joanne Ireland at The Journal is 10-2. Is there anybody with even half-a-brain (Wanye G, Maggie the Monkey, Miss Cleo) with a record as pitiful as mine?

-- I picked Vancouver over Chicago in six games because the Canucks were going to be too big and nasty for the young Blackhawks. Besides, the Canucks had Roberto Luongo. End of debate. Wrong.

-- I took Anaheim over Detroit. Sure, it would be an upset, but I didn't think all those Swedes wearing the winged wheel could stand up to the pounding they'd take from the Ducks. Close call, but Ducks in seven. Wrong.

-- I went with Boston over Carolina. As I proclaimed on Just A Game with Jason Gregor, it would no contest. Men -- big, angry, sweaty men, at that -- against boys. Not close. Bruins in four or five. Wrong.

-- Then, like having my melon ricochet off the last step of the staircase just for good measure, I predicted Washington would handle Pittsburgh. Having picked Pittsburgh to have a miserable season in a poll for Canadian Press back in October, it seemed a no-brainer. Caps win. Wrong.

NOW WHAT?

While I'm not expecting another call from CBC anytime soon, I do have the chance to improve my record to 6-8 in the conference finals, and I'll be a dizzying 7-8 when I pick the Stanley Cup final. First things first.

EAST

CAROLINA vs. PITTSBURGH Sergei Samsonov, Erik Cole AND my go-to guy Joni Pitkanen? What's not to like? The Hurricanes don't get any respect, but what they will get is a ticket to the Cup final. Hurricanes in six. Bet the house.

WEST

CHICAGO vs. DETROIT I have lint in the pockets of my favourite sports jacket older than Patrick Kane, but that's the beauty of the Blackhawks. They're too young to realize they have no business beating the Red Wings. They will. Chicago in seven games. It's a lock. Or not.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 MikeP
May 16 2009, 11:26AM
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I picked Detroit in 6, Pittsburgh in 5. To save you from looking, I was 2/4 in the second round and 5/8 in the first, although the numbers go down to 1/4 and 2/8 if you have to get the number of games correct too.

Maybe the CBC will give me a ring?

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#2 Archaeologuy
May 16 2009, 11:27AM
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If I were the Oilers I would the Hurricanes at all costs for future dealings. It seems like the Oil played a shell game with Rutherford and left the table with a lighter wallet and nothing to cover up the watch tan. Picked the Cup to be under the middle shell, nope, lost it. Bet the Offensive D-man that the Power Forward would be under the shell on the right, nope, lost it. Bet the "Power Forward" that the prospect would be under the last shell, nope. Booo. I hate this game.

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#3 Sexy Lady
May 16 2009, 11:29AM
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Ahhhh, Brownlee. Don't be too hard on yourself, not trying to be on the offensive here- but your guys picks never factor into my wagers. haha.

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#4 humantorch
May 16 2009, 11:31AM
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Maybe it's the new math, but I don't quite get how picking all 4 second-round series wrong equals a 1-3 record, but perhaps that's just me. New math?

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#5 Victoria
May 16 2009, 11:51AM
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Wow, that an impressive fail on those results. I'm proud to say I was 3 for 4. *victory dance*

I'm going to say Penguins in 6: I don't think the Canes really deserved either of those first two wins and this round the Pens wont sit back against them like the Bruins and the Devils did

and the the Wings in 5: Hawks are good, but against an experienced playoff team like the Wings, their mistakes are going to be exploited big time.

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#6 Greg MC
May 16 2009, 12:19PM
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Pens in 7, Crosby is too determined for Carolina. Detroit in 6, Chicago will let them know they are comin', but not this year.

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#7 RossCreek
May 16 2009, 12:21PM
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@ Archaeologuy: LOL @ humantorch: LOL, I was just thinking the same thing. I actually stared at the screen for 5 minutes looking for my error because I was convinced Robin couldn't be wrong.

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#8 Milli
May 16 2009, 12:22PM
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Pens in 6

hawks in 6

I'm gonna win my store pool again, well, 2nd time in 4 years!!! haha.

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#9 Harlie
May 16 2009, 12:27PM
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Go CANES! I called them before the playoffs started to win the cup. I think I was the only go on Wanye's thread who predicted them. It's all on you now Mr. Ray Whitney! Don't make me look bad or I'll kick you in the balls at the next wedding I go to that you MC again. (p.s - he did a great job as an wedding MC!)

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#10 Colin
May 16 2009, 12:28PM
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Stanley Cup Rematch.

I won't bother with the games, those are never right anyway.

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#11 RossCreek
May 16 2009, 12:29PM
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Well after being eliminated in my draft with the Ducks loss (of my 14 players I had 5 Ducks, 6 were taken in the entire draft, so Duck wins equalled $$ for me) after ranking 1st or 2nd most of the draft thus far...til now :-(

Pens in 6 - Crosby's on a mission; should be good series though.

Hawks in 7 (ot) - may be picking with heart rather than head, but I love these Hawks and wanna see them reach the finals/don't wanna see Detroit again!

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#12 Robin B
May 16 2009, 12:47PM
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@ humantorch:

There, you have it. So unglued am I at my dismal failure that I can't even add anymore. I was a perfect 0-4 in the second round and 4-8 overall. Thanks for pointing that out, smart guy.

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#13 DonDon
May 16 2009, 02:19PM
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Article in the Calgary Herald earlier this week that said Brent Sutter is at home considering his hockey options for 2009-10. Sounds like he wishes to stay in Alberta. Last we heard, Mike Kennan is still the coach of the Flames.

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#14 RossCreek
May 16 2009, 04:13PM
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DonDon wrote:

Article in the Calgary Herald earlier this week that said Brent Sutter is at home considering his hockey options for 2009-10. Sounds like he wishes to stay in Alberta. Last we heard, Mike Kennan is still the coach of the Flames.

Perhaps the Flames are waiting on Brent's decision before deciding what to do with Keenan. He has 1 year left on his deal and probably won't get fired unless the "right" coach is available to replace him. Regardless, I'd expect some changes to the Flames coaching staff. Perhaps Ryan McGill gets a promotion and gets added to the staff. Dave Lowry's another name that's popped up within the Flames organization, perhaps heading to Abbotsford.

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#15 Robin Brownlee
May 16 2009, 04:51PM
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@ RossCreek: Who says Dave Lowry's name has popped up? Is that your perception, has Darryl Sutter phoned you and told you Lowry's on the move or did you read it somewhere? If it's the latter, who wrote it? I know that sounds like nit-picking, but having somebody offer information without attribution like it's their own inside stuff is a pet-peeve of mine.

I just listened to some microphone jockey on one of the sports radio stations give "his" take on who'll be the next GM of the Minnesota Wild. He went on and on talking like he had the drop on things -- he offered no source -- when it was obvious he was ripping off Mike Russo's (Wild beat writer) blog name-for-name.

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#16 Death Metal Nightmare
May 16 2009, 08:56PM
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i dont understand why everyone is hellbent on Chicago using some strange analysis that theyre "too dumb to know better." what does that even mean? that they have amnesia about the Wings kicking their ass all season and that they have an amazing system and players to make it function? if anything, the winner of that series is going to come down to who lets in the least power play goals since they are both heavily dependent on them for playoff success. the blackhawks have nice depth from top to bottom but if im laying a safe bet its on the Wings in 7.

the Carolina/Pittsburgh series could be interesting. All depends how many freebie goals they give the Pens like the Capitals did with endless turnovers (8 players are in the top 17 of playoff giveaways. all in double digits). thats what killed the Caps. this will be a crucial series for Pitkanen at moving the puck efficiently against a strong, as of late, Pens forecheck and neutral zone system. and with the refs giving them 68 power plays in these playoffs - the most in the league by a long shot - Cam Ward might have to deal with a lot of the Disney Crosby show. Pens in 6. rematch of last year. Disney loses again. Hossa gets his cup and he laughs at Edmonton's next proposal after watching one game tape of wretched fundamental execution and 50 tape to skate passes.

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#17 Robin Brownlee
May 16 2009, 09:29PM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

i dont understand why everyone is hellbent on Chicago using some strange analysis that theyre “too dumb to know better.”

It's not strange and it's not analysis. The Blackhawks are playing with house money, just like the Oilers did after getting by Detroit and San Jose in the first two rounds in 2006. They aren't supposed to win. Picking Detroit in 7 is a "safe bet?" No shat.

And, by the way, please explain the "neutral zone system" Pittsburgh is employing in concert with a strong forecheck.

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#18 Robin Brownlee
May 16 2009, 09:39PM
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@ Death Metal Nightmare: Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

what does that even mean? that they have amnesia about the Wings kicking their ass all season

Detroit kicked their ass all season? The Red Wings won four of the six games, with two of those wins in the shootout. They outscored Chicago 23-30. Aside from a 4-0 Detroit win, the season series was extremely tight. I missed the ass-kicking you refer to.

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#19 RossCreek
May 16 2009, 11:08PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ RossCreek: Who says Dave Lowry’s name has popped up? Is that your perception, has Darryl Sutter phoned you and told you Lowry’s on the move or did you read it somewhere? If it’s the latter, who wrote it? I know that sounds like nit-picking, but having somebody offer information without attribution like it’s their own inside stuff is a pet-peeve of mine. I just listened to some microphone jockey on one of the sports radio stations give “his” take on who’ll be the next GM of the Minnesota Wild. He went on and on talking like he had the drop on things — he offered no source — when it was obvious he was ripping off Mike Russo’s (Wild beat writer) blog name-for-name.

Been working down in Calgary recently, and there was some talk of Lowry's name popping up with the Hitmen's recent loss. Talk on both the radio & television had him pegged as a future NHL coach and offered up that the Flames may have interest in Lowry at the pro level.

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#20 RossCreek
May 16 2009, 11:13PM
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Lowry is also a Darryl Sutter guy as he played for the Flames in the 04 Cup run & the Sharks before that (both with Darryl as coach). I've also read the Abbotsford thing but can't recall where (I'm guessing The Calgary Sun).

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#21 Robin Brownlee
May 16 2009, 11:29PM
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@ RossCreek: OK, so it's media reports (or speculation), then. Fair enough.

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#22 BigE57
May 17 2009, 12:40AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ Death Metal Nightmare: Death Metal Nightmare wrote: what does that even mean? that they have amnesia about the Wings kicking their ass all season Detroit kicked their ass all season? The Red Wings won four of the six games, with two of those wins in the shootout. They outscored Chicago 23-30. Aside from a 4-0 Detroit win, the season series was extremely tight. I missed the ass-kicking you refer to.

It was aslo pointed out on a sports show earlier today that Ty Conklin was in net for all 4 of Detrois wins this season.

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#23 Robin Brownlee
May 17 2009, 09:22AM
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@ BigE57: Picking Detroit is easy and "safe." On form, if the Red Wings play as well as they're capable of they should win. But, as was the case in 2006 against the Oilers, the styles the teams plays is favourable to Chicago. It's a good match-up for them. What the Blackhawks won't have going for them that the Oilers did is the sieve-like Manny Legace.

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#24 BigE57
May 17 2009, 09:34AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

I guess that depends on whether Chicago has Osgoods number or not. They've already dispelled better goalies as you well know.

Nonetheless this could be the BEST series of the playoffs.

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#25 MikeP
May 17 2009, 10:18AM
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Conks is fine, just put a leash around his waist and tie it to the net so he can't go behind it to handle the puck.

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#26 Robin Brownlee
May 17 2009, 01:37PM
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BigE57 wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: I guess that depends on whether Chicago has Osgoods number or not. They’ve already dispelled better goalies as you well know. Nonetheless this could be the BEST series of the playoffs.

If the Blackhawks hang in early, it could be a dandy. By the way, I'm still waiting to hear back from our "Google-Smart" death metal friend who called the season series between Chicago and Detroit an ass-kicking. Likewise about the "neutral zone system" in concert with a strong forecheck the Penguins will employ against Carolina. Won't hold my breath on that, though.

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#27 Harlie
May 17 2009, 03:37PM
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i'm callin a red & white Stanley Cup Finals. Canes & Wings.

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#28 kingsblade
May 17 2009, 04:09PM
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Harlie wrote:

i’m callin a red & white Stanley Cup Finals. Canes & Wings.

Ditto.

I'm getting off here now before I accidentally see the score of the game today so I can go home and watch.

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#29 Jack Bauer
May 18 2009, 04:05PM
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Hey I have a question, has Terry Ballard's name been mentioned as a candidate for oilers coach?

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#30 Robin Brownlee
May 18 2009, 07:00PM
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@ Jack Bauer: Who is Terry Ballard?

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#31 Jack Bauer
May 18 2009, 07:48PM
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The head coach of the Nait hockey team. Ive never heard of him but apparantly someone I know said he saw something on TV saying he got an interview.

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#32 BigE57
May 18 2009, 08:44PM
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@ Jack Bauer:

If this is true then they are really leaving no stone unturned. Even the ones theyy should be stepping on.

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#33 woody
May 19 2009, 11:42AM
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I knew Terry Ballard from his days as Athletic Director at Medicine Hat College (1994-95 ish). While his first love was always hockey, I can't imagine that his hockey coaching CV has grown to the point where he actually got an interview for the head coaching position with the Edmonton Oilers. I mean, as far as I know he has been coaching the Ooks for the past decade and that's about it.

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