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Mike McIntyre | On Sports
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Polls, playoff predictions and playful puppies
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Polls, playoff predictions and playful puppies

‘Tis the season, folks. One of my favourites, in fact.

There’s nothing quite like the Stanley Cup playoffs, even if those of us who cover/follow the Winnipeg Jets will be watching this one from sidelines when the puck drops on the big frozen stage on Monday.

This year’s annual shinny soirée is starting a few weeks later than usual. Which is fitting, since spring is dragging its heels, too.

Ah well, better late than never.

Even if your team didn’t make it to the dance, will you still be watching? If so, who do you like to go all the way? I’ll weigh in with my picks in a few moments here, down near the bottom of the newsletter.

I’ll also have a column coming up in Saturday’s Free Press in which I reveal which Canadian team — Edmonton, Calgary or Toronto — I believe just might go all the way.

Hint: it’s not that one. Or that one, either!

Speaking of the NHL, I just received my awards ballot via email the other day, and I have to submit my choices by Monday.

As a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, it is a privilege and an honour to be among those selected to weigh in on who takes home the hardware.

There are 180 of us in total this year (and five in total from Winnipeg including yours truly), with a say in who wins the Hart (most valuable), Norris (best defenceman), Calder (top rookie), Lady Byng (best sportsmanship) and Selke (best defensive forward). Our ballots require us to list a top five in each category.

We also vote on the NHL All-Star Team (three centres, three right-wingers, three left-wingers, six defencemen, three goaltenders) and the NHL All-Rookie Team (three forwards, two defencemen, one goalie).

Finally, we also vote on our own PHWA award, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which honours the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” It is named after Winnipegger Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries suffered in a game.

Our local chapter voted Josh Morrissey as the Jets nominee. He was my first choice, and a well-deserved one. Now, we turn our attention to picking the overall winner from the entire league.

I don’t take any of this lightly and will be spending part of this coming weekend wrestling with my ballot to make sure I get it right.

You’ll have to wait a bit longer to commence the mocking and ridiculing, however. Our picks won’t be made public until the winners are revealed later in the playoffs.

Stay tuned!

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre

We did get some hockey-related voting results Wednesday, which provide some insight into how the players themselves view their world.

The NHLPA revealed the findings of its annual internal survey, in which 566 skaters weighed in on 15 questions covering a variety of on- and off-ice hockey topics, including skills and player personalities.

Here’s a few of the results (see the rest online):

If you need to win one game, who is the one goalie you would want on your team?

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Winner: Andrei Vasilevskiy (37.4%). Runner-up: Carey Price (13.9%). Third place: Marc-Andre Fleury (6.7%)

If you need to win one game, who is the one skater you would want on your team?

Winner: Connor McDavid (42.4%). Runner-up: Sidney Crosby (17.3%). Third place: Victor Hedman (6.7%)

Which NHL arena has the best ice?

Winner: Montreal (39.6%). Runner-up: Edmonton (13.7%). Third place: Winnipeg (12.2%)

Which player do you least enjoy playing against, but would like to have on your team?

Winner: Brad Marchand (26.4%). Runner-up: Connor McDavid (18.3%). Third place: Tom Wilson (10.7%)

Who is the best current women’s hockey player?

Winner: Marie-Philip Poulin (43.2%). Runner-up: Hilary Knight (20.7%). Third place: Amanda Kessel (6.2%)

Where is the best NHL road city to spend an off day?

Winner: Las Vegas (30.6%). Runner-up: New York City (17.0%). Third place: Fort Lauderdale (10.4%)

Which NHL player could make it in another sport?

Winner: Joe Pavelski, Golf (4.0%). Runner-up: Anders Lee, Football (3.6%). Third place: Zdeno Chara, Basketball and Greg McKegg, Golf (3.3%).

Which NHL player has the best hockey hair?

Winner: Cody Eakin (8.9%). Runner-up: William Karlsson (7.9%). Third place: Erik Karlsson (4.8%).

Which non-NHL athlete would you like to trade places with for a day?

Winner: Tom Brady (18.3%). Runner-up: Tiger Woods (10.5%). Third place: Lebron James (7.5%).

 


 

I’ve written plenty in this space about the new furry, four-legged addition to our family. And Piper, our one-year-old rescue, decided to make quite the splash the other day while I was making my weekly pit stop with Andrew “Hustler” Paterson and his Winnipeg Sports Talk show on YouTube.

As you can see by this still photo, adorable Piper decided to crash the interview.

And yes, she very much stole the show. Until she got bored of me and decided to resume play-fighting with big brother Bodie, our seven-year-old dog who also makes a brief cameo on camera.

You can see the whole clip here, with my — err, OUR — appearance starting around the 53:00 mark.

 


 

Alright, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. My first-round playoff picks. NOTE — there’s a bit of guesswork involved here since not every series in etched in stone just yet, with two more nights left on the regular-season docket. But I’ve provided the either/or scenario, as you can see.

WEST:

Colorado over Dallas (or Nashville) in 5

St. Louis over Minnesota in 7

Calgary over Nashville (or Dallas) in 5

Edmonton over Los Angeles in 5

EAST:

Florida over Washington (or Pittsburgh) in 6

Tampa Bay over Toronto in 7

Carolina over Boston in 7

New York Rangers over Pittsburgh (or Washington) in 7

As you can see, I believe the East will be a lot tighter and more competitive than the West. Which probably means the complete opposite will occur!

I’d like to think they are more spoilers than predictions, but time will tell. You either heard it here first — or not at all!

Feel free to fire your predictions my way.

Have a great week. And enjoy the start of the playoffs, not to mention some warmer weather that is hopefully just around the corner.

What I've been working on...


Eric Comrie gets first NHL shutout in 4-0 win over Flyers

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Veteran D-men search for answers

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‘It was kind of embarrassing’

Pionk takes ownership for his role in Jets’ disappointing season Read More

 

Perfetti’s missed opportunity

Technicality keeps forward from joining Moose for playoff run Read More

 

In the name of the father

Josh Morrissey’s most difficult season was also filled with joy and dedication learned from his dad, who died in late summer Read More

 

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