“Our words of advice: DO NOT MISS THESE GAMES!!!”
The past week or so the tour took on a lil damage. First on Saturday, our brothers in Sleepwave broke down in Kokomo, Indiana as it fell on the holiday weekend and the part they desperately needed was nowhere to be found. Eventually the tour moved on without them, and they had to cancel the rest of the dates. Next up was our turn, we blew up the engine of our trusty RV on Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa and had a similar issue with it being the holiday weekend and all parts and repairs would not reopen til Tuesday. One of the cooler gestures I’ve seen in all my years of touring was by our buddies in Toronto based metal outfit, Where Giants Once Stood, they drove back two hours to pick us and our trailer up and then haul ass to Des Moines so we could play our set. Unbelievably cool of those guys! As if things couldn’t get any worse, our buddies in Toothgrinder had a family emergency back home in New Jersey and had to send one of their guitarists back to attend to the family situation. We are wishing Matt (milky) and his family the best! So now we are back in Portland, Oregon tonight for a killer show at the Hawthorne Theatre and we have 2 more gigs after tonight to finish up the nearly 3 months straight we have spent in the states this year so far. Special thanks to everyone for coming out to the shows and look forward to the next US tour in Late June with In This Moment!
Deeeep breath….. Ok back to the NHL, these playoffs have not disappointed and the best teams are still battling it out. Huge game 7 tonight in NYC and the Rangers just look determined to continue their winning ways. I’ll be honest I didn’t think Tampa would match up as well as they have with New York but they certainly have! Lundquist looks like he has righted his ship and will be tough to score on tonight at home. Can’t wait for the puck to drop on the mutha!! The Western Conference final has been one badass game after the next and game 7 tomorrow in Anaheim should be one for the ages! Hometown hero Nate Thompson has been awesome this series and he is bustin’ ass trying to bring that cup home to the great white north!
Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better….we get treated to a true hockey fan’s paradise!! What do we mean by this? It can be summed up in rather simple fashion…..TWO GAME SEVENS!! Each of the Conference Finals are deadlocked at 3-3, and will be decided by a final game. In the Eastern Conference, the Lightning and Rangers game is on Friday night at 8pm on NBCSN. While in the Western Conference, the Black Hawks and Ducks will square off one more time on Saturday night at 8pm on the flagship NBC channel.
Both of these Conference winning series have had some great underlying story-lines throughout the first 6 games. Funny, just when you think one of the teams gains some kind of momentum advantage….guess what? It does not exist. Each of these 4 finalists has displayed a high level of resiliency that somehow allows them to come back the next game (after a loss) and act as if it never happened. This is obviously a huge sign that each of these teams has tremendous leadership, incredible character and the deep desire to capture the hardest trophy in sports to win. Our words of advice: DO NOT MISS THESE GAMES!!!
OK…lets break ‘em down.
EASTERN CONFERENCE- Tampa Bay vs New York Rangers
Game 7 will be held at Madison Square Garden….perfect ! This legendary setting will host yet another pivotal game in Ranger history on Friday night. Thus far, the outcomes of these games have been completely unpredictable. There have been low-scoring & high-scoring games. There have been games when each teams goal-tending has struggled a bit. Home-ice advantage has been non-existent too! All of this leads up to what should be a game 7 classic.
On the Lightning side, the major concern for game 7 is Ben Bishop in goal. Big Bish has been kind of inconsistent throughout the playoffs (starting with the Detroit series) and some game 7 pressure may be too much for him to take. But on the other hand, just when you think Bishop is done he comes back and has a solid game. I’m guessing the Bolts will be crossing lots of fingers for Big Ben! Beyond that, the Lightning don’t really have anyone slumping or playing at a level that should be worry-some. Captain Steven Stamkos has elevated his game, and is playing a true all-around style. If you’ve been paying attention you will see some magnificent defensive plays being made to go along with his natural offensive wizardry. Also playing very impressively this series are: Palat, Killorn, Flippula, Kucherov and Stralman. We do have to single out both Tyler Johnson & Victor Hedman for their play because these two guys continue to bring it every game, and have each elevated their games to amazing heights. We can see Tampa Bay being contenders for a long time if they keep this roster together for awhile.
For the Rangers…all we can say is JT Miller ! not that he is the only guy playing well, but where did he come from all of a sudden? Look we understand he was a first-round pick in 2011..so he has talent for sure…but we are watching him really develop in these playoffs. His game 6 (1 goal, 3 assists) was huge!! Whats kind of interesting for the Rags is that some of their “older” stars took a bit longer to get rolling in this series…but now that they have risen…look out! Rick Nash was under some major scrutiny, along with Marty St. Louis for a clear lack of production in games 1-3. In fact St. Louis did not have a single playoff goal until game 4 of this series! Both guys scored in game 4, and Nash has really stepped it up with a huge game 6 effort as well. We also like the way both Kevin Klein and Keith Yandle are playing on the back-end now to go along with the steady play of the rest of the defensive corp. Not a lot of worries on the Rangers back-end for game 7. If Henrik Lundqvist plays like Henrik Lundqvist in game 7 the Rangers have a big advantage in goal.
So….it all boils down to one game! Who do we think will win? It kind of depends on whether or not the Rangers can stay out of the penalty box as the Bolts power-play is lethal. With Stamkos heated-up and Tyler Johnson always lurking, New York cannot afford to take bad penalties in a game 7. The goal-tending of Bishop is also going to be a key factor. If he can have one of his bounce-back games, he could make life tough on the Ranger shooters…if not, well that remains to be seen. We like the way the Rangers played game 6, but momentum has meant nothing in this series….and the Bolts have played some equally good games, and of course have that quick-strike offense which is built for a game 7 scenario! OK OK…we predict a New York victory in OT 3-2. GWG could be by either Brassard or Kreider.
Wow…game 7 is heading back to the Pond !! What a crazy series this is playing out to be! This series through the first 6 games has been nothing less than a classic. Both teams are exhibiting remarkable come-back skills with (again) momentum meaning absolutely nothing in this series. This series has literally gone back and forth with each team winning every other game. The Ducks took games 1, 3, 5…while the Hawks have taken games 2, 4, 6 !!! Is this a good omen for the Ducks? Not so sure. Should Anaheim manage to win game 7, the Hawks will (no matter what) have proved themselves to be one of the most resilient teams in the history of sports…not just hockey. Each time it has looked like the Ducks are going to deliver the decisive knockout blow, the Hawks respond with a tremendous effort! Game 7 should truly be an instant classic.
For the mighty Black Hawks, much respect must given to this team for the amount of heart and fight they have in themselves. We cant recall a team that was harder to eliminate from the playoffs than the Hawks. Whatever the outcome of game 7, the Hawks have definitely earned our respect once and for all! I’m not really sure what else you can say about the play of the Captain Jonathan Toews on a nightly basis…other than he epitomizes what a Captain should be. The guy is amazing. To steal a quote from my buddy Sean..”He (Towes) is their Yzerman”. Also, and no less important is the play of Duncan Keith! If you watched game 6, you saw a performance for the ages out of Keith. The play he made on the Marian Hossa goal (You-Tube it) was simply amazing. The Hawks defensive corp….even though they are a bit hobbled is taking the Ducks punishment and keeps making plays. This will need to continue in game 7. Also Corey Crawford in goal has been both good and bad at times, so he will need a huge game 7 should the Hawks hope to advance to the Cup Finals.
OK….on to the Ducks. Game 6 was the first game the Ducks have lost in regulation time…so that certainly says something! In fact the only game of this series in which we haven’t been impressed with the Ducks was game 6. That was the first game that the top 2 forward lines were not very impactful. Getzlaf, Perry and Maroon were not their dominant selves, and in fact (each one) finished the game at a minus-3…..which means they were on the ice for 3 Hawk goals. Not good. The Kesler, Silfverberg and Beleskey line also racked up a dismal minus-2 for the game. While this all seems like bad news heading into game 7, we believe these guys will all bounce back and have a great game 7. Captain Getzlaf has taken full responsibility for the game 6 loss, so expect a monster game from that top line. In goal, Freddie Andersen recovered from an awful game 5 (that the Ducks still won..luckily) to play a better game 6…but in truth it was still kind of a “meh” performance. He will need to be his normal solid self in game 7 if the Ducks are going to advance to the Finals.
So, with this series quickly becoming a classic, it is only fitting that it come down to one game! It would not surprise us if this game 7 also goes to an overtime…perhaps even double-overtime, although the Ducks would like to avoid that situation if possible as it always seems like the Black Hawks have a certain magic or karma that they pull out in times of need…such as overtime in huge playoff games!! Yeesh..trying to predict this game 7 is not an easy task. If Anaheim gets back to playing its super-hard forechecking game and Andersen is good Ducks can certainly win, but if the Hawks are allowed to use their speed and skill and Crawford is great, well the Hawks have a solid chance as well. Ok…gun to our head..we pick the Ducks to hold serve on the odd number games and take game 7.
Lastly, our AWESOME collaboration between 36 Crazyfists and PUCK HCKY is now available at www.puckhcky.com. Make sure to check out the “Brock Street Bully” design which is of course in honor of Brock and the boys in 36CF. Stay tuned to Metal Insider for an upcoming contest which you can score some of the gear and other signed items from the band!!
Keep your head up,
Snipe City is a weekly hockey column by 36 Crazyfists vocalist Brock Lindow and PUCKHCKY founder Matt Marini.