Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Past Six Months

Hoke Year 3 and we're still searching for the future in Peppers

This site still exists?

I accidentally stumbled upon my own site today, which is kind of embarrassing, and reread my last post over six months ago. The season, the bowl game, players committing and decommitting, National Signing Day – all of it has largely passed me (and clearly this blog) by unnoticed. Two years ago, I spent my weeknights putting together post-game impressions and half-assed analyses, driven by my excitement for and investment in Michigan Football. Today, I look at a picture of George Campbell and check my pulse.

Rehashing arguments bounced between blogs all season is of little use to me right now. I’ve been told to look forward. We all have. But we also know that our (often unhealthy) relationship with Michigan Football can be very personal, and it’s never that simple. Our collective experience, whether it be last year or last decade, shapes our bias -- the lens in which we view the program. The lifers have the luxury to keep zooming out and putting things into “perspective”. I can’t. My lens only goes back until 2003. And I hate my camera.

As we head into the equivalent of college football abyss – post-National Signing Day and pre-spring practice – I’m left, like most, with mixed emotions.  With the exception of Michigan Football, sports serves me purely as a form of entertainment: I cheer for close games, I follow exciting players, I root for drama good or bad. Michigan Football is officially a chore – an obligation, as opposed to a privilege, rooted in some hazy sense of loyalty not to the program, but in sharing the disappointment with everybody else as if my involvement somehow helps dilute the pain. This is new normalcy of the Michigan Football Experience, TM by Dave Brandon.

I don’t have any grand commentary to offer on Brady Hoke or the direction of the program. And this post really wasn’t meant to be some sob story. I will gear for 2014 via self-generated hype – I’ve gotten pretty good at it – like everybody else. Like an addicted gambler, I will double-down again – this time on Coach Nuss, Jabrill Peppers and Team 134, and hell, even believing George Campbell will recommit. But constantly searching for the future makes you weary if you’ll ever enjoy the present.  Michigan makes you work to be a fan these days. Here’s to the day it doesn’t. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Future: George Campbell


5-star FL WR George Campbell committed to Michigan during the Big House BBQ today, which, like, first: WOOOOOOOOOO. Working on a Saturday never felt better as I stumbled upon the news refreshing Twitter aimlessly on my office computer. I then had the distinguished honor of re-breaking the news to my friends first via text. These are the things that matter to me. I'm being serious.

As with any big time commitment, Campbell's presence has both on and off the field implications. On the field is easy: Campbell, teammate of 2014 OL commit Mason Cole, is currently the #1 WR in his class and #3 overall recruit on ESPN. He clocked a 4.37 Forty at this year's The Opening as a sophomore -- one of the fastest times among other elite recruits, most of whom are upperclassmen. At 6'4", Campbell gives Michigan the lengthy, over-the-top, outside receiver it's been dying, and quite frankly struggling, to land over the last few years. It's safe to say both Morris and Speight have huge smiles on their faces today.

Off the field, Campbell's commitment effectively ends a lingering concern among Michigan fans--and occasional criticism from national media--of Hoke's inability to land elite players at skill positions. This conversation first emerged around RB, which Derrick Green addressed head-on. Then came whispers surrounding WR. After whiffing on recruits like Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss) and even to some extent more recently Artavis Scott (Clemson), who is also teammates with Mason Cole, Campbell (+ Drake Harris) not only shuts that door, but also serves as the cornerstone commit for the 2015 class. He is Michigan's future, in more ways than one.

via mgoblog

That Hoke can only recruit in the trenches or Midwest holds little weight these days. With Mattison by his side, Hoke has brought in arguably two of the most dynamic players in the country in Jabrill Peppers (NJ) and now George Campbell (FL) back-to-back. In the Rivals/Scout era, 5-stars coming to Ann Arbor have been few and far between, even for Carr and definitely for Rodriguez; Hoke is starting to land them at an alarmingly consistent rate, with more players potentially still in the pipeline like DE De'Shawn Hand and RB Leonard Fournette. No more perception: the reality is Hoke and his staff have emerged as some of the best recruiters in the country, grounded by growing evidence with guys like Kalis, Pipkins, Kugler, Poggi, Morris, Green, Ferns, Cole, Harris, Peppers and now Campbell.

All of this, of course, has little to do with the Michigan team who will take the field in a month. Actual college football is and should be back on everybody's radar. But I'm a firm believer that a program's energy, momentum and direction matter, even in off-season recruiting. News like Campbell's commitment reaffirms Michigan is moving forward in a big way. Competition breeds success. And with elite talent, it produces championships. Peppers said he wanted to play with the best. Well, he's getting his wish: Go cover Campbell.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Furbush, LB Recruiting and the "4-3 Under"

Shirtless

Yesterday, OH LB Noah Furbush committed to Michigan, becoming the Wolverines' 3rd linebacker of the 2014 class. Most assumed Furbush, standing at 6'4", 235 lbs, would project at SAM and wrap up the class. Instead, he was recruited to play inside; Hoke/Mattison will be looking for a 4th (!) linebacker, likely the SAM we thought, in a class with fairly limited scholarships.

Linebacker has been a position of both strength and turbulence, with considerable movement over the last several months. Jake Ryan's injury and Kaleb Ringer's departure probably accelerated the decision to move Allen Gant to SAM. With Michael Ferns III coming in at MIKE and Chase Winovich coming in at SAM, here's how the depth chart shakes out by position:

SAM
Cam Gordon, redshirt senior
Jake Ryan, redshirt junior (injured until early November)
Brennan Beyer, junior
Allen Gant, redshirt freshman
Mike McCray, freshman
Chase Winovich, commit
(Potential commit)*

MIKE
Desmond Morgan, junior
Joe Bolden, sophomore
Mike Ferns III, commit (EE)
Noah Furbush, commit

WILL
James Ross, sophomore
Antonio Pool, redshirt sophomore
Royce Jenkins-Stone, sophomore
Ben Gedeon, freshman

*As Ace mentions in Furbush's "Hello" post, Mattison is still eyeing CA LB Dwight Williams and MO LB Jimmie Swain--both play on the outside--among others to round out the position group in this class. 

3-4 vs. Northwestern via Bleacher Report

When Mattison first arrived, he dismissed any notion of installing his Ravens' 3-4 defense, emphasizing the importance of a 4-man front. True to his word, he implemented the 4-3 Under as Michigan's base--same as all his previous college stops. Yet on game day, he runs out several different formations, many which resemble more of a 3-4 look. Some of that is the Wolverines' inability to rush the passer, but Mattison has always been creative with his defenses, disguising blitzes in offset formations and using extra nickelbacks/linebackers moving before the snap.

The emphasis on recruiting linebackers, based on the numbers at least, reinforces the fact that Mattison values maintaining a flexible enough personnel to comfortably switch to a 3-4-style defense at a moment's notice. He and Hoke took four in 2011, four in 2012, two in 2013 and will likely take four again in 2014. Kellen Jones and Kaleb Ringer have left since, but that's still 14 linebackers in 4 years-- more than enough depth for a position group that's supposed to trot out 3 every down on defense.

In the end, it really doesn't matter what you call the formation or how it looks on the field; as long as it's effective. But expect Mattison to continue reserving a solid portion of each recruiting class to the linebacker position.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SCF Viewers Guide

Ugh,


So my team got destroyed and now I still have to write this preview even though all I want to do is go hang out with the Sonic guys and try all the milkshakes. I also just want to sit and listen to my new new favorite song “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer” while trying all the delicious flavors.


I have no idea what happened to the Pens so don’t ask. Somehow they couldn’t score and that makes no sense. And I get it you hate them and Crosby is a bitch or whatever. Lets just move on.


Recap of the uneventful Conference Finals:


Best game/series: Kings/Hawks Game 5 by default. Although Game 3 of Pens/Bruins had its moments. Each of the CBC Intros to the games was fantastic as well. Pretty much CBC intros were the best part.


MVP: Tuukka Rask. He gave up 2 goals. I am pretty sure he is not human and instead he is actually General Zod.


LVP: Everyone involved with the Penguins not named Vokoun. This includes myself. If you watched I am sorry for wasting your time. You should have been out trying to meet your future wife at an arts festival or something.


Best Goal: Kane doing Kane things.


Worst Goal: MAF doing MAF things.


Best Team: We find that out starting Wednesday. Both teams are clearly capable of winning the Cup and the matchup is great for the NHL given that they are each one of the first six members of the NHL. (I think they have a phrase for that.) The Bruins have been on a tear since Toronto put them on the brink and failed to knock them out. The Hawks have been on a tear since Detroit put them on the brink and failed to knock them out. These sentences are similar.


Here is the schedule for the next two weeks. Lets break this thing down before I fall into a milkshake coma.


Stanley Cup Final


1) Chicago vs 4) Boston


Blogs to Follow: Committed Indian vs Days of Y’orr


Lowdown: We get it. These are Original Six teams. This hasn’t happened since 1979 when none of us were born. The bigger story to me is that one of these teams will be the first to win the Cup twice since the 05 lockout. Parody has been the name of the game ever since the salary cap was instituted eight years ago and we will finally have a team lift the Cup up for a second time since that horrible time. Also Jagr can lift the cup again for the first time since 1992 and um I guess Michael Handzus is your Ray Borque for Chicago.


Why you should watch: Because of the Cup and all that stuff. (Despite me being a Debbie D this commercial sums it up perfectly. One team gets to raise the beautiful trophy.)  The main reason you should watch is because we will have some good quality hockey. The Bruins depth is insane and now that their blueline is healthy they can use their entire bench against you. (Minus Gregory Campbell who is a war hero apparently.) The Hawks have been the most consistent team all year. Outside of their start to the Wings series, they have been about as solid of a hockey team as anyone can remember. While their stars have struggled at times someone (mainly Bryan Bickel) has stepped up when the team has needed it.


Favorite Moments from rivalry: These two teams used to play all the time since, you know, there used to only be six teams. Since the growth of the league however these two rarely cross paths outside of the random regular season meeting. (The last one was in 2011. The Bruins won in a shootout, how exciting.)


As far as the two cities are concerned the extent of their football rivalry is the Bears winning their only Super Bowl vs the Pats. (Yes thats the entire game. No it does not surprise me its on the web.) The Red Sox beat the Cubs in 1918. (There is no video footage.) I also know the Bulls and Celtics played some epic first round series when I lived there I am just too lazy to look up when.


The real rivalry as far as I am concerned is between the bands Boston and Chicago. Boston has sold 31 million records while Chicago has sold 38 million. And While “More Than a Feeling” was one of the better Rock Band songs to play I don’t think it can touch Chicago’s greatest hits of “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” or “Saturday in the Park” among others.


Players Under the Most Pressure: I am going to put both goalies of Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford here just because neither was the starting goalie when these teams won the cup in recent years. Tim Thomas is off fighting big government and Niemi is at home with the rest of the Sharks. Each Rask and Crawford has been great and will need to play big in order for their team to win. (In Rask’s case if he plays like he did against the Pens we can just wrap this thing up and ship it up to Boston. (Do you see what I did there? I hate myself too.))


Why You Won’t Watch: Because you figured the lockout would last the whole year and you planned a vacation for this time of year or even worse someone you know planned a wedding. Come on people, July and August are the only months you can get married. Get it together. (Not nearly the sin getting married in football season is but still.)


Meaningless Prediction: Hawks in 7. Sorry Hawks fans but I am picking you guys for 2 reasons. One because your team has had that team of the year aurora all year. Secondly because I like to sing the new version of “We Love the Hawks” to myself all the time. Is it weird that I sing a song with 6,000 Youtube hits? Probably but you already knew this. (Every time Hjalmarsson touches the puck I yell “Hrjam-Awesome!” I have problems.) And if you do lose Hawks fans don’t blame me, blame your own city for cutting this guys lawn.


So there it is, I am done. (With the preview at least, I still have about 10 more milkshake flavors to try.)


Monday, June 3, 2013

Projecting the Rest of Project 135

Be Jake Ryan Now

Right on the heels of landing Peppers last week, Hoke and company followed it up this week by receiving Chase Winovich's commitment. With the 2014 class roughly two-thirds filled, the focus has now shifted largely to guys like Hand, the nation's #1 overall recruit, and other high-prized targets. In case you forgot, it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

It will be critical to balance momentum with selectivity--something the staff is used to by now given the timelines of the past few classes--the rest of the way. Team 135 currently stands at 11 commits in a class projected to be no more than 20 strong. I wouldn't be surprised if we're debating the last few spots left by UTL.

College football in June equals exaggerated recruiting news and useless predictions. Here's my attempt at the latter on how the rest of the class plays out. No rhyme or reason to these, just finger in the wind which, as we know, is how all useless predictions generally work:

  • Quarterback: Speight. Done.
  • Running Back: None so far. There's an argument that several strong 2015 candidates and having both Green and Smith makes this moot; redshirting Smith would essentially fill this spot. However, Hoke has said he wants at least one back in every class and I think he sticks to it. No Joe Mixon's, but a sleeper back. I'm putting some weight on the Commish getting in the ear of a local NJ guy like Jonathan Hilliman. Get him on campus for an official and the chips could fall our way.
  • Wide Receiver: Harris and Ways on board. We could probably go 4 here based on need, but given the limited class size, it would be too many scholarships at a single skill position. Corey Holmes, KJ Williams and Artivis Scott are your front runners here but the Cole-Scott connection, plus added pressure from Harris, gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You know, the one that says Artivis Scott is headed to Ann Arbor. We wrap up receiver before the season starts.
  • Tight End: Bunting, who just got invited to The Opening. He'll be a 4-star by NSD. Done.
  • Offensive Line: Bushell-Beatty and Cole on board. Alex Bars chose ND a few weeks back and Jamarco Jones is on deck June 27th with Michigan, MSU, ND and Ohio as his leaders. I don't think we get Jones; we just seem a step behind on him. Also, given how strong the last few O-line classes have been, PT is a potential concern for elite targets. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping for Jones here as it would feel like a steal, but I think it'll end up being somebody currently off the radar: Yet To Be Offered.
  • Defensive Line: Lawrence Marshall at WDE, Mone at DT. Here's where we cash in--Hoke's response to Urban's 2012 D-line--and have a real chance at closing a small class strong. Whether the writing is on the wall or it's wishful thinking, Da'Shawn Hand is going Blue. It's no easy assumption that the #1 overall recruit in the country heads to your school but at this point, how much evidence is out there to bet against it?  Malik McDowell, who is apparently transferring to Southfield and will play alongside Marshall for his senior season, would be the other obvious candidate to finish a ridiculously talented D-line. I want this too much not to predict it.
  • Linebacker: Winovich at SAM, Ferns at MIKE. Here's where I think the staff has some flexibility depending on how the scholarship numbers shake out. Since Kyron Watson went somewhat unexpectedly to Kansas, there's a potential spot here for a WILL or more likely another SAM. Ace mentions to keep an eye out on Darrion Owens. I expect a few more offers to go out and we'll load up another 3 LB class: Yet To Be Offered.
  • Secondary: Some scrub named Jabrill Peppers is coming. Parrker Westphal has been on Michigan's radar, and vice versa, for some time now so let's put him on the board. Feels like a Big House BBQ announcement, although that's a stretch. The other two big names, of course, are a pair of California DBs: Juju Smith and Adoree Jackson. Neither of which would normally be so plausible in our minds had Peppers not committed and proceed to tweet every Top 100 player. No recruiting tool is as powerful as an elite player wanting to play with other elite players, and actually going out and trying to get them. I think this will largely fall on deaf ears since it's so hard to pull Cali guys (Hi, Donovan) but Hoke and Mattison will get an impact safety here. Montae Nicholson is a guy who's camped at Michigan and been on Mattison's radar for some time. He's cooled a bit recently, but here's a shot in the dark that he comes back for an official and can't resist.
  • Special Teams: None and will stay none. Will Hagerup should try to join this class though. I'm not sure how that would work, but it would be awesome if he stuck around for another 4 years. 

There you have it: 8 more commits for a class of 19. You heard it here first. Unless Hand commits to Hawaii tomorrow, in which case I'm deleting this post from the Internet. It'll be like this never happened. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

NHL Conference Finals Viewers Guide

Hello internet,

It has been a while but I figured with the rebirth or Maize Pages I would throw my NHL Conference Finals viewers guide on here. I normally email this to about ten people and I think only five of them read it. 5= Reggie Bush so it is all good.

Anyway, I was driving home yesterday from Eastern PA and I found the NHL channel on Sirius and they had the Hockey Night in Canada radio show so I got all my fill of the Conference Finals and I am ready to prime you for what we are about to experience. (Plus I listened to the country station and found my new favorite song “Parking Lot Party.” It is going to be a good summer people.)

Before we move on to the next round lets take a look back at the 2nd round:

Best game/series: Detroit vs Chicago. Pretty easy choice here. This series had everything. It started off with a Chicago win and then Detroit flipped the script and went up 3-1. The Hawks won Game 5 and set the stage for an epic game 6 that included a freaking penalty shot. And then game 7 happened that ended in OT. I am still exhausted from it and I don’t root for either team. It also produced the best CBC intro of the playoffs featuring emo Jonathan Toews. All in all it was a hell of an ending to the Hawks/Wings rivalry as conference opponents. While the Wings needed to move East I think we will all miss the regular meetings between these two.

MVP: Jonathan Quick. He gave up 10 goals in 7 games. Made saves like this. Insane. He has officially entered wizard territory.

LVP: I was going to harp on Tortorella but no need to beat a dead horse so I will instead talk about the officiating. While I understand that officiating is a big part of any sport I think the NHL needs to review just what the hell they want. They just randomly enforce rules. Its like officials are like dudes on a first date, just all over the place. Puck daddy has a good breakdown here.

Best Goal: I have to do the Penguin thing here and go with Neal’s toe drag for his hat trick in game 5.

Worst Goal: Hagelin used his mind powers to make Rask pull a MAF.

Best team: I put the pressure on the Hawks last time and I am not going to do that again. These are all good teams and as you may have heard these are the last four Stanley Cup champs so it won’t be a shock if any of them win. These is as close to a dream final four as the NHL would want. (except the Crown Jewel the Leafs aren’t in it, sad) For all the crap about the lockout this season has taken off with the Hawks streak to start the year, the Pens going perfect in March and two compelling rounds that ended in OT with two longtime rivals. Its almost as if the NHL might not screw this up.

Wait, what's that? O they already screwed up the schedule for next round. The Bruins/Pens having a week off (I wrote the preview to that series on Monday) and the Kings/Hawks playing back to backs to start the series. Glad to see you still have it in you Bettman. Lets not complain anymore as we have 2 glorious matchups ahead of us. Lets dive in...

Eastern Conference Final

1) Penguins vs 4) Bruins

Blogs to follow: The Pensblog vs Days of Y’Orr

Lowdown: With all due respect to Montreal (and by that I mean no respect, fucking Frenchies) these are the two best teams in the East. The Bruins roster is mainly intact from their championship 2 years ago. (Minus tea party member Tim Thomas) For the Pens they are finally healthy and added bulk at the deadline to go up against the big bad Bruins. The series discussion will turn to the Iginla/Jagr trades for each team. To review the Bruins thought they were going to get Iginla but Iggy decided he would rather play with Pittsburgh and used his no trade clause to get brought to Yinzerville. This pissed off Boston and instead they traded for former Penguin Jaromir Jagr. Yes this will be brought up when each fanbase boos the opposing player. Fans are stupid. (O and the Bruins hate Matt Cooke too since he took Marc Savard’s head off in 2010. Long line at the Matt Cooke hate booth apparently.) (Another sublot the high level of “They aren’t booing...” with both Tuuka Rask and Tomas Vokoun. Which fanbase can be more annoying? It will be fun to watch)

Why you should watch: Let’s do this one more time: GOALS. These are the top 2 scoring teams in the playoffs with the Pens averaging an absurd 4.25 goals per game and the Bruins at 3.25. While both of these teams are built with size and have big name scorers it is their depth as to why they can put up such big numbers. The Pens have guys like Jokinen and Morrow on their 4th line and the Bs 4th line dominated the Rangers and won them game 3. The Bruins also showed their depth with rookie D men Bartkowski and Krug stepping in and contributing with their banged up lineup. (Other reason for me to hate the Bs, Bartkowski went to OSU and Krug is a Sparty. Yes I will use these as logs of hate to fuel my fire)

Favorite Moments from rivalry: These two have met 4 times in the postseason including back to back years in the ECF in 91 and 92. The Pens won both those series on their way to Stanley Cups and the highlight is Mario undressing Ray Bourque. Some people are Hall of Famers and others are Legends. (Watch that whole Mario Top 10, it makes no sense) These two have somehow avoided each other recently despite their success. The Bruins somehow lost to Carolina in 2009 when the Pens won the Cup and Malkin and Crosby were hurt when the Bruins won in 2011. This year the Pens went 3-0 vs Boston including this 3rd period comeback.

Penguin under the most pressure: Tomas Vokoun. It is his job now and he will once again be under pressure to just be good. We know the Pens can score so just decent goaltending will give the Pens a chance to win. Vokoun was in net for 2 of the wins versus the Bs this season so he has seen them before.

Bruin under the most pressure: Zdeno Chara. The big guy can play over 30 minutes a game and will need to be on top of his game against the Pens firepower. Its one thing to shutdown the Rangers who, to be honest, got shutdown by their own coach just as much as the Bs did. The Pens have 5 guys in the top 10 in scoring. Good luck sleeping at night Zdeno.

Why You Won’t Watch: Because your team has been eliminated and you want nothing to do with the NHL playoffs anymore. As someone who had his team eliminated fairly early in the playoffs the past three seasons I understand and I suggest you get ready for Man of Steel. Just look at this new trailer. Holy Shit is it going to be awesome. (There had better be a “Neal before Sid” sign at the next Pens game)

Meaningless Prediction: Pens in 6. The Pens went out and got guys like Iggy, Morrow and Murray to beat this team specifically. The Bruins no longer have the physical edge with those additions and with all of the Pens stars clicking I don’t think the Bruins can keep up over the course of a series. And yes I am picking them to close it out on the road even though they finally won a series at home under Bylsma. I can’t help myself.

Have things changed since Monday when I wrote this: No. All the articles are about Iginla, Jagr and Matt Cooke. Glad to see I have the ability to see the future.

Western Conference Final

1) Blackhawks vs 5) Kings


Lowdown: So the Hawks won the Cup in 2010 and the Kings won it all last year. The Kings were still celebrating in January when the Hawks came and crashed the party and started their point streak in style. Now we are back here as each team has survived a Game 7 against their rival and now must battle each other to get back to the Cup final. The Hawks won the season series 2-1 but other than that it is a tough to gage who has the leg up in this series.

Why you should watch: These are two contrasting styles. The Hawks play their puck possession skill game while the Kings take away every bit of ice and rely heavily on Quick. Last round I compared each series to a college football matchup and this time I will try my hand at soccer. While I know very little about the sport I am going to make a comparison anyway. The Hawks are like Spain in that they intended to have the puck the majority of the time. They may not score a ton of goals but they will limit your chances and use their skill to poke home 1 or 2. The Kings are like Germany in that they are big and physical and while it may not always look pretty but when they are clicking they can dissect an opponent and make them look foolish. (Like England, suck it Norton.) This may all be completely wrong but I figured I would try anyway. If I just ruined this series for you I apologize.

Favorite Moments from rivalry: These teams have met once in the playoffs in 1974 with the Hawks winning in five. Since I have never heard anyone ever bring up this series prior to looking that up it means this rivalry really started between Trent and Sue in Swingers. Much like the Matt Cooke hit, Kings fans still have not forgiven Roenick or Vince Vaughn for that fictional headshot on Gretzky. It might get heated between these two fanbases.

Hawks Player under the most pressure: Toews. He has not had the best playoffs but rebounded from his awful game 4 against the Wings. The Kings now know they can get in his head.

Kings Player under the most pressure: Quick. Not a shocking pick, I know

Reasons you won’t watch: You are a Wings fan and still bitter about losing after being ahead 3-1. But lets be honest, you are still going to watch but you will just “hate watch” and not so much root for the Kings but root against the Blackhawks. As someone who tried to hate watch the Ravens this past year this can end poorly. Maybe you should just read War and Peace like Timmy instead.

Meaningless Prediction: Hawks in 7. I am picking the Hawks but I would be wary of Justin Williams if this goes to a 7th game. The guy apparently is Scott Brosius and saves all his big moments for the biggest moment.

Regardless of who wins we will get a great final. I have ranked my list of the potential matchups:

1. Pens vs Hawks: I have prayed for this match up to the Hockey Gods every day since the regular season ended. I won’t talk much more about it here since I don’t want to get ahead of myself. (Could I be talked into going back to Chicago for a game and watching it at Halligans? Of course since I would be the one who would talk myself into it)

2. Bs vs Hawks: Both are Original Six teams. This will be brought up if they play

3. Pens vs Kings: The Pens offense vs Quick. It might be the Smiths vs Neo

4. Bs vs Kings: DEFENSE, CLAP CLAP, DEFENSE, CLAP CLAP

Anyway you shake it we are going to have a compelling final. I hope the Pens can advance so I don’t go crazy and go become an Amish person. I feel like I could fit in among the Amish though. Black is very slimming on my round figure. I would be pretty good at churning butter. Plus when I finally die they can eat me as a meal. I really bring a lot to the table.

(That got weird, enjoy the games everyone.)