Charlie Hodge

Hodge: Looking up from bottom in hockey pool

I have lulled my opponents into complacency when it comes to the upcoming playoff pool

I have my media hockey pool cohorts exactly where I want them. (Sometimes my pre-meditated brilliance astonishes even me.)

Through stunning strategy, perceptive picking, and sound team management my regular season media hockey pool team currently sits at the very bottom of standings. Any further south would be north. I can clearly claim the ugly jacket of hockey pollsters. A brief glimpse at my club would reveal to many observers a team owner that had a pension for injury prone studs, potential stars who lost their potential, or rebounding veterans who forgot to rebound. Regardless of how I wound up in last place and refusing to play the standard bad luck card I have decided to take the positive approach.

The two key factors in my favour are that I have psychologically lulled my opponents into complacency when it comes to the upcoming playoff pool. And I can and will play the sympathy card.

This year, it is time to reclaim my crown, re-climb the podium of a champions, or in other words, Make Charlie Great Again. The trick of course, is Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.

As I scribe this on Wednesday night it is exactly one week until the playoffs start so there is no certainty who will make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Which teams meet in the opening rounds is not even decided. Making playoff predictions is rather silly, at this point, however once the playoff begins it is too easy to not be made a fool of. I have a tradition to up hold.

So with no further shame here is what to expect during the next six weeks.

In the opening rounds Columbus will defeat Pittsburgh in six games. Without Letang on the blue line the series will be too much for the wounded flightless birds. Montreal will defeat the Rangers in a low scoring series won by goalie Carey Price who reclaims his hero status.

In other Eastern Conference matches of the final four remaining in the mix it will be Toronto and Washington that advance.

In the Western Division the four of eight teams advancing to the second round of action will be Chicago, Edmonton, Minnesota and Calgary after wild and exciting rounds. Canadian hockey fans will be in their glory.

By the semi finals the remaining four teams will be: Chicago, Edmonton, Washington, Toronto.

The full blown dreamer within me wants to suggest that either the Leafs or Toronto could actually pull of the amazing and meet each or other or even appear in the final round, however I will call for a Chicago-Washington final. Both Oilers and Leafs will make it nail-biting close though.

At the beginning of the year I thought this was Washington’s season to win it all however there still seems something is not fully copacetic with the team. Much to my chagrin I will give it to the quiet but always dangerous Black Hawks one more time.

Do not be surprised if Connor McDavid or Cam Talbot win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

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