Sunday, April 12, 2015

My (almost) Annual Stanley Cup Predictions

Every year I look at the sixteen teams that are in the Stanley Cup playoffs and try to pick the winners.

I use a process of elimination. Single line teams or teams with suspect goaltending can be eliminated rather easily. This usually winnows the two conferences down to two or three teams. Then the fun starts.

So, here is my analysis by conference.

Starting with the Eastern Conference. We can expect that the Penguins, Red Wings and Islanders will be eliminated rather easily in the first round. None of these teams have the goaltending and balanced scoring that are required to make a long playoff run. That has Tampa Bay, the Rangers and Washington advancing to the second round. The Montreal and Ottawa series is interesting. The Canadians should advance, but I wouldn't put anything past Hammond. The Senators may be this years Cinderella team.

In the second round, I expect the Rangers to advance against the Capitals. The Tampa Bay and Montreal match up is a toss up. That would put the Rangers against either the Lightning or the Canadians. I expect the Rangers to advance to the Cup Finals from the East. They have the goaltending and experience to advance.

Now, for the Western Conference. The West is very strong this year. I am picking St. Louis, Nashville, Winnipeg and Calgary to advance out of the first round. The deciding criteria are, once again, goaltending, balanced scoring and experience. I have Nashville and Winnipeg advancing to the Conference Finals and Nashville advancing to the Cup Finals from the West.

That would give us the New York Rangers against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup finals and I expect the Ranger's experience to prevail.

You can laugh at my predictions over the next two months.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


My favorite quote about plans is from Helmut Von Moltke, who was Chief of the German General Staff during Bismark's era and defeated the French during the Franco-Prussian war, which led to the unification of Germany.

No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy.

My variant on this is that "No Plan Survives Contact with Reality."

This maxim has served me well.

There is another interesting quote from von Moltke's nephew who was also named Helmut von Moltke. The younger served as Chief of the German General Staff at the beginning of the First World War. The Germans had an elaborate plan for going to war. It involved concentrating all of their forces against the French to quickly defeat them and then those forces would turn and deal with the Russians. This was an elaborate plan that involved railway schedules and was very German in its detail.

The Kaiser was convinced that he could keep the French out of the war and Germany would just have Russia to deal with. The Kaiser called von Moltke in for a meeting and told him that Germany did not need to go to war with France. Just turn the army around and we will go to war with Russia, instead. The response from von Moltke was:

Your Majesty, the movements of millions are not improvised. 

The German General Staff had a plan and they were going to stick to it. There was no contingency for going to war with Russia and not France. 

The Kaiser replied, "Your uncle would have given me a different answer."

von Moltke the younger was always being measured against his uncle. 

Anyway, Germany went to war with both France and Russia, just as they planned it. This plan involved crossing through Belgium, which meant that Britain joined the war. The rest is, as they say, history.