SPNHL, Season 34: First Round Recap / Conference Finals Preview
By: Dirty-Dietrich & YesC.
Did you guys get any good shit this past Black Friday weekend? I got an antivirus software that will likely enable my socially crippling pornography addiction. I also refreshed my controllers (traded the old ones, new ones were $25 off) and got more PS Plus ($52 for the year!). The highlight was these little Playstation coasters I got that look like the button faces, and they’re rubber and floppy and seem durable and I’m getting off topic here so let’s get back to business.
Ten turned to eight and now eight has turned to four, as the conference finals are set for Season 34 of the SPNHL. We had a couple couple matchups where there was an overwhelming favourite, and a pair of matchups where it looked like anybody could win. Certain teams retained their dominance and easily progressed to the next round, while some squads started out strong but fizzled out when it mattered the most. That’s what makes playoff games so intriguing: will you see the same team that you saw during the regular season? Will there be a new found passion and playstyle as teams enter these crucial seven game stretches? The answer is found on the ice.
After the dust settled, four teams remained standing: the offensive juggernaut in the Dallas Stars, the perennial SPNHL all-star team in the Vancouver Canucks, the puck-possession pinnacle known as the Detroit Red Wings, and our scrappy Capital City Chaos Creators, the Ottawa Senators (patent pending). These four squads displayed tenacity and prowess against their opponents, and we here at the SPNHL media team wanted to extend a hand to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Nashville Predators, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Philadelphia Flyers and say…
YOU BLEW IT!
Just kidding around. Congratulations on making the playoffs, and our condolences as your seasons were cut short. But now, it’s time to take a closer look at how those matchups turned out, and recycle the same shitty system we used last round to analyze these second round matchups. Jessums, take it away with the Eastern Conference!
The conference finals are set. Both Toronto and Philadelphia saw 2-1 leads evaporate before their eyes in each of their series. I was fortunate enough to watch most of the games in both series to get real assessment on all four teams and I will say, I was surprised. All four teams played much different from their regular season and with that being said, congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators for making the conference finals!
The Detroit Red Wings (1) took on the Toronto Maple Leafs (4) in what was supposed to be pretty one sided series. This turned out to be quite the opposite as the Toronto looked like the dominate team here. Detroit didn’t look like themselves until Tuesday and Fishy actually played in 5 out of 6 games. Toronto dominated more of the series than Detroit did, but Detroit was able to grind it out and steal two crucial games from Toronto. Games 1 and 5 saw Toronto give up leads in the 3rd period and never recovered. After blowing Game 1 to Detroit, Toronto responded by winning games 2 and 3. I would like to think Detroit underestimated its opponent and it almost cost them. In the end the better team emerged and The Red Wings took full advantage once they smelled blood in the water. It was back and forth with Detroit playing a big trap (DD edit: surprise!) and counter-punch which worked perfectly since Toronto was down most of the game. This series showed just because you have the better team, you can’t overlook your opponents. Detroit showed good character and great poise to realize they were getting worked, and got back to the grind to win this series and really showed a different wrinkle for this talented squad.
The Ottawa Senators (2) vs The Philadelphia Flyers (3) was not only back and forth on the ice but off it as well. After Philly played most of its backups in game 1 and losing, it really did look like the Flyers would win three out the next four games. They almost did. Ottawa looked dazed and confused after Monday and you could see them starting to unravel mentally. The Flyers went 2-1 after Monday and poised to take a two game lead in this series. I don’t know what happened but The Senators shook away their demons and stole game 4. It was Philly’s turn to unravel and unravel they did. After Godsplan bowed out of Games 5 & 6 and decided to get ready for VG playoffs, Rolla couldn’t carry the team by himself. The rolla-rookie has a bright future in SP if he decides to stick around for sure. Ottawa pounced on this opportunity by doubling Rolla as much as possible and winning Games 5 and 6 to end the series but not without drama. Game 6 was back and forth and saw both teams fighting like it was a Game 7. This thing went into TRIPLE OVERTIME and the Sensations emerged victorious (DD edit: I nearly shit my pants watching this game). Now onto the conference final break down.
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs Ottawa Senators (2)
Team: Detroit Red Wings
Regular Season Record: 39-6-0
Playoff Record 4-2
Regular Season Leading Scorer: LeCupidon
Playoff Leading Scorer: Reapz2313
Strengths: Offense/Resilience. After getting a reality check in their series vs Toronto this team actually looks better than what they did in the regular season offensively. The chemistry paid off in the first round and looks to do the same in round two.
Weakness: The Utility guys/Rewards/Goaltending. Same weakness as before. The utility guys not getting enough time together to get any chemistry going. We saw what happened in the first series when EA didn’t reward The Wings with favorable bounces. A new weakness has emerged in goaltending depth. Things aren’t so great in goalie land in Detroit. Wade-Belak has taken over the starting role in Detroit after a little falling out between Reapz and Ucantcme_kamakaz.
Recipe for success: Volume. This team just does well with shooting. The more lottery tickets you have the more chance at winning big. (DD edit: blue line turds can fuck off)
Team: Ottawa Senators
Regular Season Record: 28-15-2
Leader Scorer: TrueLegend07
Starting lineup: (DD edit: this isn’t our startling lineup this week)
RD: Chieftrout (DD edit: Daddy Trout is on vacation this week, so we’re in a jam!)
G: Ciulla19 (DD edit: Pulverizer is pissed but he just needs to smoke a bowl)
Strengths: Depth/Opportunistic. Depth is still this team’s strongest key. Truelegend seems to be getting better with his forward unit which only makes this team more dangerous. The Senators have found a knack of burying quality chances in the first round.
Weakness: Secondary Scoring. Outside of Truelegend the offense dips. Dirty has found his step but most of it comes from True. If this team wants to get past Detroit, guys like JMM and Hughes need to step up.
Recipe for success: Scoring when give the opportunity is there. Not letting their foot off the gas and realizing that their opponent is never out of the game/series.
Prediction: Detroit in 7 (DD edit: “Thanks for the support, asshole!”). Even though it can go either way, I feel like Ottawa doesn’t have enough offense to match goals with Detroit. I think Detroit has realized that they can’t play the same way vs Ottawa and will come out much better. Detroit will rely on getting a couple goal lead and playing the trap/counter game. Good luck to both teams!
WESTERN CONFERENCE (lemme get some ice cream, BRB)
Dallas Stars (1) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (4)
Results: Dallas wins in 4 games.
Getcha broomsticks! Dallas disposed of the Golden Knights in four games, the only team to sweep their opponents in the first round, the Stars maintained their high scoring ways while averaging 4.5 goals per game (while giving up an uncharacteristic 2.5 goals per game, maybe Chadkillz is gonna get Chadkilled this next round). Their offense was lead by Beansy, playing all 4 games and scoring 5 points to go along with 9 helpers (contributing to 14 of his team’s 18 goals). These four games were separated by a range of 1-3 goals, so there were no blowouts by any means, and it’s actually nice to see how close each of the four games were. Kudos to Five, my boy Serv, and the rest of the Knights for having a decent showing in a serious that was much closer than it looked on paper!
Nashville Predators (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (3)
Result: Vancouver wins in 5 games.
I got my two matchups right, SUCCME Jessums! Vancouver was a shocking third seed going into these playoffs, as they were plagued by availability going into this season. On top of that, their GM Sedinpower was forced to step away from gaming in general (our thoughts and prayers go out to you, Mr. SP. We love you), so #doitforsedin was born and they’re well on the path to accomplishing this feat. Bstieboy is leading the league with 13 goals and 12 assists in these playoffs, playing in all five games of the first round and contributing on 25 of his team’s 34 goals. Vancouver and Nashville split the first two games with 5-1 and 4-1 victories respectively, and then the Canucks outscored the Predators an astounding 28-7 over the course of the next three games. Redconcept and the Preds had a hard time in the latter half of the season, but still deserve respect for their finish and their efforts in these playoffs. Now, let’s take a look at a playoff matchup that I’m genuinely excited for.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL:
Dallas Stars (1) vs. Vancouver Canucks (3)
Team: Dallas Stars
Regular Season Record: 36-6-3.
Leading Scorer: Iam_mrbean.
Strength: playoff experience. I wanted to talk about something other than the obvious (Bean and co’s dynamic offense) and talk about something that matters more than most think it would. Four players on this team have won the Stanley Cup in this league, while one (I know it should be two, Grammer) has won the Conn Smythe trophy. Understanding how crucial and how differently these games are played is an invaluable asset, so if YesC, Grammy, Chad, and Royal can lead by a championship example, then this team will make it one step closer to adding more hardware to their trophy case.
Weakness: overconfidence. I consider a lot of the guys on this team to be very good friends of mine, so I can definitely accuse them of this. They are an immeasurably talented lineup with loads of chemistry and they not only think, but know they are the best team in this league. While this is up for debate, this is a dangerous mindset to take into the playoffs, especially against a team like Vancouver. They can’t underestimate the Canucks, or else it will cost them greatly.
Recipe for Success: do your thang, boo! The Stars need to play their high-octane style against a Canucks team that will forecheck heavy and try to slow it down. Keep the Canucks on their toes and don’t let them get grounded, and the Stars will make it one step closer to fulfilling the BEANSY PROPHECY.
Team: Vancouver Canucks
Regular Season Record: 18-23-4.
Leading Scorer: bstieboydp.
G: Nocturnal_Turtle (RING HIS DOORBELL).
Strength: unpredictability! Tommy is normally a defender, while Sliyum is normally a goalie, and you never know when Turtle is gonna lag out! Honestly, you have an incredibly talented group of players who are incredibly versatile and can play any position given the situation. If you have any combination of these 6 players on the ice, three things are for certain: you’ve got a good chance of winning, you’re gonna score some goals, and Bergy is gonna sauce it up the ice and connect with you 50% off the time. Just fucking with ya, Bergy, you’re a stud.
Weakness: depth. Fuck me this team has no depth. It’s really a 6 man team. With Sedin out of the picture, their three backups, although with decent statistics so far in these playoffs, don’t have the talent to match up to the BACKUPS of the Stars, let alone their starters. Chadillac, Sniper, and Christ-Boyz are going to be used infrequently this series, and I see Sliyum playing all three of these players in the same game as a throwaway. You can lose a game, so why not throw one away instead of potentially throwing a series away?
Recipe for Success: AVAILABILITY! If their top 6 gives the availability they need to ice that top line for 4 out of the 7 games in this series, then I think they have a great chance at taking the next step towards hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Stars in 6. I believe in you Jessums, believe in me! The Canucks have a dangerous team, but unless that top 6 gets max ice time, I think this series goes to the Stars. Their chemistry maximizes the impact of their talent, and although the Canucks have an all-star squad, this is the new generation of SP and is ready to win a Cup.
Good job, Jessums! I only had to do partial editing and formatting this time! I’m pretty sure Plisk is gonna fuck it up anyways so it will fit on the WordPress page. Let’s just get a new website already. Eight pages? This one is a long one, holy shit.
Well, there we have it folks. Set in stone predictions from the two experts. In both cases, it seems like it’s a battle of established vets against teams with new blood who are hungry to prove something. Will Reap and the Red Wings repeat as Eastern Conference champions? Will YesC and the Stars become Western Conference champions in his second season as a GM? Will Dirty-D win his third Eastern Conference title and fulfill Kozmo’s prophecy of bringing a Cup to Ottawa? Will the Canucks make it four more games to #doitforsedin?
So many storylines will unfold over this week, and we will hope to cover them in more detail this Saturday night on SPNHL: Off the Ice! It will either be myself or Pliskin hosting, as we get ready to pull the curtain on Season 34 of the SPNHL with the finals next week! We’ll have a fresh panel of guests, fresh topics to talk about, recap the series, debate about chicken sandwiches, and more! Please tune in and join the conversation at www.twitch.tv/thespnhl_media!
In the meantime, good luck to the three other remaining teams, and to our opponents in Detroit, I wish you the best of luck and hope you’re ready to
See you on the ice!
DD & YesC