by Patrick Hoffman on 04/16/10 at 12:44 PM ET
Tim Rosenthal of Inside Hockey was kind enough to answer a few questions via e-mail regarding the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
PH: Which teams do you think will surprise in the playoffs? Why?
TR: Well, to start off with a bold prediction for this would be an understatement. I said it before the playoffs started so I should try to be true to my word. My pick for the Western Conference finals was Kings and Wings and the reason being is the Wings playoff success and the Kings youth movement are two things I really enjoy seeing on a daly basis. You can never count a team like Detroit out even if they aren’t one of the top four teams in the West and the Kings are a very talented bunch on both sides of the puck and have had Vancouver’s number recently. I can also see Phoenix making a surprise run with so much uncertainty with that franchise.
PH: Which teams do you think will disappoint in the playoffs? Why?
TR: What would this question be without mentioning the San Jose Sharks? Every year they’re one of the biggest disappointments in the playoffs because of their early exits. I don’t see what that will change right now. I can also see a team like the Washington Capitals or the Chicago Blackhawks being a disappointment based on their goaltending concerns. While Jose Theodore has the ability to steal a game or two, he is still very inconsistent and the Blackhawks are riding an unproven rookie goaltender into the playoffs in Niemmi.
PH: Which players do you think will step up their games in the postseason?
TR: There’s actually a few players on this list for me. One is Tuukka Rask, who’s been really solid after taking over for Tim Thomas. While, I don’t have the Bruins advancing out of Round 1, I can see Tuukka stealing a few games and forcing a Game 7, in what should be his coming out party. I also like Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty to both have strong playoffs after a good regular season.
PH: Which team will be left standing when all is said and done? Why?
TR: I honestly have the Devils winning the Cup. Yes, they have a tough first round matchup and they need to adjust, but with the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk, the team is now that much better offensively with him, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner. The only concern is their depth on the blue line, but there is some guy named Martin Brodeur between the pipes (you might of heard of him by now) who can help ease the pressure for those defensemen.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.