So much to talk about over the past couple of weeks. Honestly, if I put hands to keyboard on some of the percolating things, I would have something reminiscent to Homer's Odyssey, if Homer had a blog and used random, funny to only a few dated pop culture references. Brevity is the soul of wit, so I will try and touch on a couple of issues after delving into OHL playoff predictions, the main reason for this blog.
So happy that the regular season is over. I loathe those in the media who play the "If the season ended today, this would be the playoff match up" It is irrelevant while the season goes on. Now we know the playoff match ups, lets have at it!
ICEDOGS OVER OTTAWA IN 6 . I like Ottawa, I really do. The IceDogs 2nd half juggernaut is too tough to resist and they can get scoring from three lines and at least four defensemen. Ottawa is not quite as explosive but has some dependable players, and great coaching. I will say though, if this goes 7, I'm not as much of a fan of the IceDogs on the road....
OSHAWA OVER PETERBOROUGH IN 6
I said on the air that this series reminded me of the battle that the 8th seeded Oshawa team that gave the 1st seeded IceDogs team fits a few years back. Oshawa is the runaway favourite, but Peterborough has some vets who underperformed, but formed the large part of the core that came back against Kingston last year
BARRIE OVER BELLEVILLE in 5
One nostalgia victory for the Bulls at the soon to be vacated Yardman Arena, but Belleville has been trending downwards for the better part of the 2nd half. Barrie has the ability to beat themselves with undisciplined play, but not in this series.
NORTH BAY OVER KINGSTON IN 7
This represents a flip on what I said on air a week ago. That is how close this one will be. Sam Bennett X factor aside, North Bay has enough depth and home ice advantage for a game 7 to squeak this one out.
SOO OVER SAGINAW IN 4
Saginaw just squeaked in. Soo is a juggernaut. This one should be over quickly.
ERIE OVER SARNIA IN 4
Well, at least the Sting will get two home dates with Connor McDavid in town. Sarnia is a team with a lot of talent, but has been uneven this year. Erie's young team has come together wonderfully.
LONDON OVER KITCHENER IN 6
Two awfully inconsistent teams. Both have looked terrible at times this year, and traded off significant assets. I will take Domi, Marner and Dvorak, even though goaltending has been spotty .
OWEN SOUND OVER GUELPH in 6
Some of these Guelph holdovers have played an awful lot of hockey over the past couple of years, plus they will not have Zack Leslie. Owen Sound, on the whole, has been more consistent than Guelph.
BULLDOGS AHL --OUT. BULLDOGS-OHL IN.
Honestly, even after a couple of weeks, including a week in sunny Florida I have not been able to fully wrap my head around this one. While it was not an Art Modell, moving trucks in the middle of the night approach to shifting franchises, it was awfully sudden and out of blue. One thing I will say is that I feel for the community of Belleville. I have friends there, and have been there quite a few times. Attendance had dwindled, but that city lost a centrepiece to its core. As for Hamilton and the OHL, those predicting doom and gloom should realize that this is not the Hamilton Dukes. That was 25 years ago. New owners. New era. Lets see what transpires. It is a real shame that the Bulldogs do not get to commemorate 20 years of AHL hockey next year in Hamilton. I think that would have been a lot of fun with a twist of nostalgia.
There, that is out of the way. Likely will have more thoughts, as things get crystallized as the spring and summer approach.
LEAF TANK NATION
I'm just sickened by the constant references to "Tank Nation" and the goal of the Leafs drafting very high as they lurch and stumble their way down the stretch. Fans are tuning out (I don't blame them), but others, including Leaf fans, are revelling in the piling up losses because it gets them closer to Connor McDavid. I'm wired to cheer for the success and winning of a team, regardless of how it impacts their draft status. That's why I have been so impressed with Leafs reporter Paul Hendrick. He blocks out the negativity and turmoil of the team and focuses on what is happening on the ice, and telling those stories. He does not ignore the turmoil, but instead chooses to rise above it. That's a true pro. Selfishly, I hope that the team gets Dylan Strome in the draft (if they don't hit the draft lottery jackpot). Man, what a talent. Great bloodlines with brother Ryan on the Islanders, and yep, there is another Strome gaining notoriety. Matty Strome, who scored the GWG in OT in the OHL Cup is tagged to be a first round pick in the OHL draft. He's the captain of his Toronto Marlboro's. Future IceDog anyone? That would be nice
Thats all for now.