Playoff Predictions: 2014 Conference Finals

I was right on three of my four picks in the second round, up from five-for-seven in the first round. As per those two sets of predictions, I’m leaving out any explanations this time around.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings
Blackhawks in 6

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers
Rangers in 7

In the second round I nailed New York beating Pittsburgh in seven games. I had the Kings and the Blackhawks advancing but they each took one more game than I expected. I once again picked against the Canadiens and they made me look bad, but that’s not stopping me from doing it again.

Babcock Named Jack Adams Award Finalist

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock was named a 2014 finalist for the Jack Adams Award on Tuesday.

The award, presented to the coach who “contributed the most to his team’s success,” is voted on by members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche were the other finalists.

Babcock led the Red Wings to their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance and a 39-28-15 record despite the long-term losses of forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The team faced a franchise-record 421 man-games lost due to injury and was forced to use 38 different players in the regular season. Nine Red Wings players made their NHL debut in filling in on the depleted lineup.

It is the second time Babcock has been named a finalist for the award after placing third in voting in 2008.

Cooper’s Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 46-27-9 record in his first full season behind the bench. Their youth-heavy roster featured eight rookies who played in forty games or more and spent much of the year without star forward and eventual captain Steven Stamkos.

Former Detroit nemisis Roy helped the Avalanche to a 52-22-8 record in his first year behind the bench. Colorado became the first team since the NHL absorbed four WHA teams in 1979 to go from a finish in the bottom three to the top three in the league in a single season.

The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show on Tuesday, June 24.

Three Red Wings’ coaches have won the Jack Adams Award: Scotty Bowman (1996), Jacques Demers (1987, 1988), and Bobby Kromm (1978).

Playoff Predictions: 2014 Division Finals

I went five-for-seven in the first round (opting not to pick a winner for the Boston/Detroit series), which is better than I expected. I guess that means I should do this again for Round Two. Once again, no explanations, just picks.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
Blackhawks in 5

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
Kings in 6

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
Bruins in 6

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Rangers in 7

For the record, the only series I was 100% right about in the first round was Los Angeles over San Jose in seven games. I had Pittsburgh over Columbus but predicted seven games instead of six, the Rangers over Philadelphia in a sweep instead of seven games, Chicago over St. Louis in five instead of six, and Anaheim over Dallas in four instead of six. I was totally off in picking Tampa Bay over Montreal and Colorado over Minnesota.