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Well the torturous regular season is over for the Maple Leafs and the playoffs have started. Usually, this means that I start blogging my predictions of each playoff series and compare how prescient I am.

Well this year, I decided that I won’t be doing this. I haven’t been following hockey this year due to the mess that is the Leafs (I expected this season to be horrible from the beginning) and any of my guesses would just be based on impressions of previous years’ results and rosters. I think that would especially be bad because there seems to be a changing of the guard going on – established teams like Boston, LA, Pittsburgh are floundering; and there are new up and comers (NYI, Winnipeg, Calgary??)

I’m excited that the Leafs cleared house and have to hire new scouts and head office. But the rebuild process is going to take a few years so I might have to wait before checking in on them again.

Well I did it. I think I had my best year ever in predicting the playoffs this year. I correctly picked LA to win the Stanley Cup and my record is 13/15 or 86.7%! For some reason, I added my previous post incorrectly – I didn’t have 11 correct predictions at that point, only 10.

I only got 2 series wrong – the Eastern Conference semifinal (picked Boston over MTL) and St Louis over Chicago in the first round. There were a bunch of upsets by underdogs this year and I got most of them (except MTL). Too bad.

I think I should quit predicting – getting 13/15 is pretty good (I only got 9/15 in 2013 and see this blog for even further back). Maybe it’s a good time to stop paying attention to hockey in general. I get the feeling the Leafs will have another backwardly horrible off season.

The Stanley Cup finals are set for this season and it will be the New York Rangers vs the LA Kings

I correctly predicted that the Rangers would in over the Canadiens as they have a superior team (“on paper”). Actually, after further consideration, Glen Sather should receive a lot of credit for the team he’s put together. When he first started managing the Rangers, they spent a lot of money on big name free agents but they seemed to be doing it poorly (Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden). The last few years, they’re still spending a lot of money (signing Brad Richards, Gaborik before trading him) but they actually have a lot of home grown talent (Stepan, Haglin, Kreider, Giradi + Dubinsky & co who were traded for Nash). They made some smart trades (getting Nash, getting McDonagh for Gomez a few years back, getting St Louis for Callahan) and have some solid free agent signings (Boyle). Having a world class goalie in Lundqvist certainly helps, but the team in front of him is pretty good too!

That being said, I’m not convinced that their team will be better than the Kings. Both of the Western Conference finalists have well put together teams, that work collectively. They might have had a harder time getting to the final, but I think the Kings will win it.

So far this year, my record is 11+2 = 13/14, hopefully I can make it one more!

The second round sure passed by quickly, because I wasn’t paying attention to hockey at all! The only series I watched a bit of was the MTL/BOS one, which I think MTL won because of their goaltending. I picked NYR and Chicago correctly, but was wrong with Boston. This puts my overall record at 7/8 + 3/4 = 10/12!

In the conference finals, I’ll pick NYR over Montreal. Carey Price may steal another series, but I think NYR have the overall better team. The Kings/Blackhawks series is going to be a great one. I think both teams are better than their eastern counterparts. The Kings are amazing this year, you can’t count them out. They came back in both series that they were in to win it. I’m going to pick LA over Chicago this year.

The first round of the playoffs are over. I didn’t watch a lot of it but caught parts of a few games (stuff that was on CBC – MTL/Tampa and Pens/CBJ). My prediction record in the first round was an impressive 7 out of 8! The only series I got wrong was STL/Chicago. It was not looking so good in the early going though as Minnesota was losing to Colorado and my LAK pick was down 3-0 to SJ. It’s becoming more and more frequent that teams rally from a 3-0 deficit, but you really must feel for SJ. This seemed like the year they would shake off their playoff curse – nope. Try again next year.

Here are my thoughts for Round 2:

Boston vs Montreal
Montreal are on a high after knocking off Tampa, but Boston is entirely different. Plus Boston had a few days off too. I think Boston will win this one.

NYR vs Pittsburgh
If I were a Pittsburgh fan, I would be confused about what team I have. Until Malkin broke out in the last game, the stars weren’t scoring. The goaltending can flip on a heartbeat (and MAF doesn’t have a real backup right now). NYR have a solid team and seem to be more consistent. I’m just not confident that Pittsburgh can right their ship so I’m going to pick NYR.

Minnesota vs Chicago
I’m happy (and kind of surprised even though I picked them) that Minnesota won, but I don’t really think they can challenge Chicago.

Anaheim vs LA
I never know what to expect from Anaheim, but they seem to be successful somehow. I think the LAK are rolling on all cylinders now, full playoff mode. I think LA will win this one.

This year’s conference finals were a surprise as they were not a hard fought nor long affair. The Bruins easily swept the Penguins in their series. Pittsburgh seemed frustrated and didn’t seem to try very hard to win. I got my prediction wrong as I had picked Pittsburgh.

In the West, I correctly picked Chicago to win. This leaves my record this year at 9/14 which is still slightly better than the favorites record of 8/14.

I think the Bruins will end up winning the cup this year. When the played the leafs, they didn’t seem to be clicking, but I think they are now. They’re playing the Bruins’ game which was effective against the Penguins. I watched a couple of the Chicago games and they were not that impressive, so even though they are the favorites, I’ll have to go against them.

We’re in to June and we have just started the Conference semifinals. In the last round, I picked 3 out of 4 series correctly, getting the NYR-Bruins series wrong. That puts my record at 8/12. I was also curious what would happen if you ONLY picked the favorites in each round and so far your record would be 7/12. All the favorites won in Round 2, but prior to that your record would have been 3/8! So far, I’m slightly better than that guideline.

For the next round, I think Penguins will beat the Bruins. It’ll be a tough series because Boston has good chemistry having gone through these battles as a group for several years. On paper, Pittsburgh has better skill, and great acquisitions at the trade deadline; but I don’t think they are working as well as a group as the Bruins. I’m actually kind of disappointed that Iginla hasn’t made an impact – the Malkin-Neal-Iginla doesn’t seem to be that effective.

The Chicago-LA series will be another tough one. LA is battle hardened but I think they are tired and weary after the battles against St Louis and the long series againt San Jose. Chicago had the best record in the NHL this year, but they seemed to be having at tough time with the well coached but weaker Detroit team. I think Chicago will win because they are not as tired as LA.

Looks like I picked the favorites on both sides, so my record should still be better than the baseline regardless of the outcome!

Well the Leafs ended up playing 3 more games than I thought they would, but eventually they ended up losing to Boston. They even lost in a very ’10s Maple Leafs way – they looked very solid and competitive, with a 4-1 lead going into the last few minutes of the third; only to implode and end up giving up 4 straight goals to lose. It was the same as last season, but instead of taking a month to do it, they did it in five minutes.

From my round 1 predictions, I correctly predicted that series as well as 2 other wins in the East. I correctly picked the NYR to upset Washington but didn’t pick Ottawa to upset Montreal. In the West, I correctly picked Chicago and the LA upset, but missed the SJ and Detroit upsets. That leaves my overall record at 5/8.

In the next round, I think Pittsburgh will beat Ottawa while NYR will beat Boston. In the West, I’m picking Chicago over Detroit and LA over San Jose.

It’s another year and another round of playoff round predictions. It seems that I play attention to hockey at the beginning of the season but that attention starts to waver towards the end of the season (it could be because the Leafs are eliminated by then, but this year’s no excuse). Then I can’t really do predictions well, and just end up defaulting to the favorites. This year’s no different:


  • Pittsburgh over New York Islanders easily
  • Montreal over Ottawa
  • New York Rangers will upset Washington
  • Boston over Toronto


  • Chicago over Minnesota
  • Anaheim over Detroit
  • Vancover over San Jose
  • LA Kings will upset St Louis

So 6 favorites will win and 2 underdogs might surprise me.

I recently realized that I never blogged about the result of the Stanley Cup final! It was just forgetfulness rather than embarrassment because I picked the right winner. I’m quite happy for the LA Kings to win it. They have had an exciting and young team for several years, and I am glad that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter teamed up to win the Cup after being shockingly traded a year ago. That pick put me over .500 with a 8/15 final record.

Here’s my prediction record over the last couple of years:

  • 2012 – 0.533
  • 2011 – 0.666
  • 2010 – 0.666
  • 2009 – n/a
  • 2008 – 0.600
  • 2007 – 0.800
  • 2006 – 0.533

I blogged about the Stanley Cup so late, that the draft passed too! Toronto had the 5th pick which was promising because that pick usually yielded a decent, if not amazing pick. Kessel was a #5 pick. Toronto’s last #5 pick ended up being Luke Schenn.

Toronto has been looking for a #1 center for the last few years, and picking early gave them an excellent opportunity to grab one. When it came our turn, there was still a center left (Grigorenko) and another promising forward (Forsberg). We ended up taking a defencemen (Reilly) and I was quite disappointed about that. The Leafs already have a great number of young, promising defencemen (Schenn, Gardiner, Blacker, Holzer, Gunnarssson, Franson, Percy) and a number of older defencemen signed for several more years (Liles – 4 years, Komisarek – 2 years, and we’re not trading our Captain Phaneuf). We might end up winning the Schultz sweepstakes as well. What are we going to do with a logjam on defence? I would have rather we bet our pick on a high skilled, potentially elite forward.

Then, after our controversial pick, the next 5 picks were also for defencemen! That’s 8 defencemen in the first 10 picks. I don’t think that has ever happened before. Time will tell whether that was a good idea or not; Grigorenko and/or Forsberg might be this year’s Cam Fowler and Sean Couturier.

After going 5/12 in predicting the first two rounds, I did great in the semifinals and picked both LA and NJ to advance. That leaves my record at 7/14 and a respectable 50%?

For the Stanley Cup finals, I’m going to go with LA again. I haven’t watched them play and only watched a little bit of the NJ/NYR series, so I’m just going to go with my gut. Will I end this year’s predictions over or under .500? We’ll see in a few weeks!

My round 1 predictions were a disaster, and my round 2 predictions were actually worse! I correctly predicted LA but failed on the other three. That leaves me with a 25% percentage and an overall record of 5/12.

At least, the worse that I can do now is 5/15; but hopefully some of my picks will be right. I’ll pick LA and NJ to meet in the final. Even if I get it wrong, it will be hilarious if the NHL-owned Coyotes make the final instead of LA. I don’t have much faith in the NJ, but I have even less faith in NYR.

Well the regular season has ended and the playoffs have begun, but I am not very enthusiastic about it due to the disappointment of a season that the Leafs gave us. I really thought they were promising this year, but they had to somehow collapse spectacularly (but not spectacularly enough to get a top 3 pick).

In any case, my playoff predictions for the East are: Rangers, Boston, NJ, and Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh/Flyers series is a disappointment because these are two really good teams and only one will make it out of the first round.

My picks for the West are: Vancouver, SJ, Chicago and Nashville. I hope Nashville wins, one because it knocks out Detroit (they need to be on the decline eventually) and because it will give ownership the signal that they should keep their promising core together.

There is an interesting infographic about the units of computing products shipped per year:

It seems like most products have a steep uptake and then a consistent slope downwards. Two interesting questions:

  1. Whether PC/Macintosh are in a “steep uptake” or following their own trend? and
  2. When will the Android/iPhone/iPad hit their peak?

While I was writing my year-end recap for 2011, I realized that I kind of expect certain changes in 2012. So here’s my list of predictions:

  • Interest in travelling/exploring is starting to wane – we went to Europe several times last year and visiting cities is just not that new or interesting now. Planning the entire trip is starting to feel like a chore. I kind of want to just go somewhere with some friends and be spontaneous
  • I need to find a balance between purchasing power and disposable income – I am probably in the years of my life where I have the most disposable income (no need to save for down payment, no kids) and can afford a lot of things. Do I decide to pay premiums for certain brands (i.e., clothes, cars), or buy whatever I feel like (i.e., lots of tech toys, experiences)? and if I do decide to do this, how do I not “make it a habit” for when I have less disposable income (hi kids)?
  • Decide where I want to go with my career – I’ve just changed jobs into an entirely new industry. Will I stay in this industry? and if so do I pursue a technical or management path?
  • Will play (even) fewer games and try and learn more things – I’m not interested in sinking my time into games anymore, and do feel interested in learning about different things. But what will those things be? Languages? Hobbies? Reading?

I feel the need to give my predictions of who will make it past the first round of the NHL playoffs, but I’m kind of resigned to the fact that I will have Very Good Reasons to just pick the top seeds. At the same time, I don’t think I am knowledgeable enough to guess how many games each series will go to. Then, it’s not really a prediction is it? Oh well, here they are anyways:

Washington (1) vs New York (8)
Rangers are injured and Washington look to recover from last year’s shocking playoff defeat. I don’t think Lundqvist will steal the series so Washington will win.

Philadelphia (2) vs Buffalo (7)
Miller may still be injured, and Philadelphia has a great team (they would be my favorite to make it out of the East).

Boston (3) vs Montreal (6)
I would like to see Boston make it to the Stanley Cup finals so that we can get the 2nd round draft pick from the Kaberle trade, but they seem to have some consistency issues. They are better than Montreal though, because although Montreal plays a very good defensive system, I don’t think Price will duplicate Halak’s performance and their forwards are struggling right now.

Pittsburgh (4) vs Tampa (5)
I think this series has the best likelihood of an upset, although I don’t think it will happen. MAF is having a good season in net and Pittsburgh has a lot of playoff experience.

Vancouver (1) vs Chicago (8)
Vancouver has lost against Chicago two years in a row, but this year’s Chicago team is a shadow of its Stanley Cup winning self. Plus there is no Dustin Byfuglien to stand in front of Luongo. Vancouver should win this (although it may go to the length)

San Jose (2) vs Los Angeles (7)
I would have picked this as an upset series, just because San Jose is so unlucky, but LA just has too many injuries to their top scorers to provide a challenge.

Detroit (3) vs Phoenix (6)
No one takes Phoenix seriously, while Detroit has a lot of seasoned veterans. They may be old, but they should last at least one round!

Anaheim (4) vs Nashville (5)
Surprise! I think Nashville will win this series. They have better goaltending and well I’m not sure how Anaheim got into fourth place when they were fighting for a playoff spot last week…

The Blackhawks listened to me and beat the Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup last night. I wanted them to win and also thought that they would win, meaning my 2010 playoff record is 10/15. That’s pretty bad, but I got the last 2 rounds completely right! The Blackhawks were the longest active team without winning a cup, but now that they’ve won, the title of shame goes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Round 1 is done, and boy did I get things wrong. The East was a disaster. I thought the favourites would win but Buffalo, NJ and Washington were all upset. I guess I called MTL’s win a bit, since I thought they had a chance. So I’d give myself 1½/4 in the East. I did a bit better in the West, or at least it played out according to odds better. Again I picked the dark horse correctly so I’ll give myself a 3½/4 and 5/8 in the first round.

For round 2, I think Chicago will beat Vancouver and SJ will beat Detroit in the West. I watched a fair bit of the Canucks games and they didn’t seem that strong, nor is Luongo as good in net this year as in years past so I would favour the Blackhawks. I also saw San Jose a lot, and they played much better than the Avs did (although the score and series didn’t show it). I think they’ll have a harder time with Detroit, but should be able to overcome them.

The East is all messed up because teams aren’t playing like they were in the regular season. Both Boston and Flyers struggled leading up to the playoffs, but it’s difficult to ignore that Philadelphia is now missing two of its top-six forwards. Plus they get to face a hot goaltender, so I think Boston will win that series. I still like Pittsburgh, even if they have to play Halak. Canada beat Halak (eventually) so Sid the Kid should prevail.

The NHL season wrapped up over the weekend and there were some exciting finishes. The final spot in the East was decided in the final game, after regulation time, after overtime, and in a shootout! The only thing more exciting would be if NYR and PHI were playing an 83rd tie-breaker game instead of the 82nd.

For first round of the playoffs, it’s difficult to pick against the favorites. In the East, it would be very difficult to pick against WSH, PIT, or NJ. Buffalo is a bit less certain because their players don’t stand out aside from Miller, but they’re playing against Boston with an anemic offense which I think even PHI could protect against. If there’s a chance for an upset, I would bet on No. 1 seed Washington losing against No. 8 seed Montreal. Why? because WSH seems to be able to score through anything, but the playoff is a different game and Halak has shown that he can stymie all-star teams (hello Canadian Olympic team).

The West is much like the East. The dark horse is possibly Detroit over Phoenix. Phoenix has had a Cinderella season but now they’re up against an experienced Detroit team. I still think Phoenix can win it, you can’t fluke 82 games, but would not be surprised if Detroit beats them.

I think I have been guilty of picking who I want to win rather than picking who I think would win. That is my excuse for picking Pittsburgh to win the cup even though they were severely outplayed (except for game 3). I should have picked correctly. I knew Pittsburgh didn’t have a Cup-calibre team; they didn’t have the experience, the skill or the depth of Detroit. But I wanted Pittsburgh to win because they are the next generation of stars (and potentially a dynasty).

With that, my playoff prediction record is a dismal 9-6, barely beating TSN’s monkey picks (8-7). I sound like the Leafs, but “well there’s always next year”.

I thought the Hossa deal at the deadline was not worth it, but looking back at it now, I think Pittsburgh did get enough bang for its trade. It’s difficult to quantify how valuable this (losing) experience is but they sure did make some money by playing the maximum number of games at home!

I flirted with the idea of going to Pittsburgh/Grove City if the Penguins made it into the Stanley Cup final; because Pittsburgh isn’t that far away, there are a lot of Canadian players on the Penguins, and hockey can’t be THAT popular in Pittsburgh. All this was, of course, contingent on the Penguins making the Stanley Cup finals. Well they finally made it but unfortunately I had not made any plans.

In any case, the Penguins were my one successful pick in the conference finals. I thought I had made a horrible pick of Dallas over Detroit when Detroit went out to a 3-0 lead for the second round in a row where I picked against Detroit. But the Stars made it interesting before losing 4-2. That puts my record this season at 9-5.

The finals will be pretty good I believe, the Penguins are well rested and hungry. The Red Wings are equally hungry after dropping out of the playoffs the last few years while having the best record in the league. I’ll stick with the Penguins, and hope that they contain Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen. And hopefully Detroit’s beyong aging defense (Chelios is 45!) can’t stop Crosby, Malkin, and Hossa.

The second round has come and gone and I’m now 4-2 in each conference. I picked both East series correctly, including the underdog Flyers over the Canadiens Canada’s team. The Eastern conference final is a battle of Pennsylvania. I’m still rooting for the Penguins and think they’ll win.

All through the second round, I could swear that I picked the Stars over the Sharks, but reading over my previous blog, I noticed I picked the Sharks. Hmm. Plus, I royally screwed up the Avs and Detroit series, seeing as how Detroit crushed Colorado. In the final, I like the Stars over the Red Wings, although I haven’t seen any of the Dallas games.