My Equally Valid Opinion

My Equally Valid Opinion: 2013-14 "FULL SEASON NO-SKIP EXPERIENCE" PICKS EDITION

In 2006, Cam Cole wrote an article describing the NHL's immunity to logic. Every year, I set out to prove him right. This is My Equally Valid Opinion!

Hockey! A full season of hockey! Proper preseason games in September and shit! No fucking around with Gary Buttman's haphazard late-night press conferences! Weird new divisions and every team in a home-and-away and FOUR OF THE ORIGINAL SIX in every goddamn preview and how is everyone really this goddamn excited. I get that in 2005 we had just come off a completely canceled season, but we got our hockey last year, remember? Maybe I'm gettin' too old for this shit. I somehow managed to pay attention to the Blue Jays from April to now.

In a way, this season's house is just last season's nearly-toppling shanty-shack in the backyard with a new coat of paint. I don't think the power dynamic between teams has changed that much; top teams are still good, lousy teams are still bad. The one big game changer is the realignment. Let's take a look at how it'll affect the standings:

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Worldmaker

Places I've been that I'll Never go

There's places I've been that I'll never go, because I've been trapped in this forest since the Dawn of time, which was When I came to it after everything else was destroyed, which was when I was Born. I've been dead for a thousand years. When I left the forest I'll come down to the river and wait for my Shot, and when I was done doing waiting I went Back to the House (the Old House) and started Waiting for when you Got back to me; before I ditched you by the Side of the Road (the Fork In The Road) and considered us all open to enter every single option for Entering; over and over again, we compared and Compared and COMPARED them over and over; there were too many to Stay And Count so I'm leaving and you'll catch up to me in a bit I Guess. I've been dead for a thousand years. I've been Counting Time many times and this forest is full of creatures like me sustained on the water that leaks out of the green sky canopy and the charred meat this planet is at least partially Based on. It tastes a little Acidic though. When we got back together, we'll buy a motorcycle, and then we're going to drive through the door: the one we didn't get a chance to Consider because it was too far Down from Everything Else, but at Last we're at Least we're going someplace instead of standing around. I'll feed you (tea and oranges) (orange tea) (orange tease) (taste tease) this bag of cookies I bought which is obviously kinda unhealthy but hey, that's why they gave me the money before they left. We think we're going to live in this box, this cardboard box, but when the trees shook their sweat from the leaves of skin it got soaked and it's breaking down, and then those breakdancers come along and their shoes scuff it to dust and it peels away from the floor with all the subtlety of a plastic bandage tearing off a tender tendril. I've Been Dead For A Thousand Years. The worst part is the ripping: because the rip noise comes out of my mouth. Let's travel Together: let's take a quick journey down my throat. There's a correlation here between being swallowed and putting yourself in a drawer: for a little While, let's live in among the Socks, safe and warm in the thread count (Threat Count) of thousands of hundreds (hungered) (Hunted) of thousands of Thousands of

<Don't interrupt me when I'm trying to kill something,> he has to remind me. I can't help it, can't help myself. When you spend as much time in the company of a psychic as I do, you start to connect to the minds of others, and I haven't got the built-in receptor shields that he does. It flows in weird ebbs of freeform thought, almost like poetry, and I can't sort out which of them are his and which are mine, or if we're sharing them, or if part of it comes from the big slow herbivore from which he's trying to rip the throat veins. Probably, yes: it's close to death now (very close) (damn close) (synonyms for 'said') and in all likelihood its mental state is confused and rushed. When you die, your whole mind lights up, burning all the information it can into your long-term memory, just on the off-chance you survive somehow and it needs to refer back to the time you almost ate it (bit it) (bought a Piece) ("took it on the chin") to remind itself, "don't do THAT again." I know that because I died once, right before I met Clarence. He likes telling me he's been dead for a thousand years, even though we both know neither of us could've possibly been alive that long. He's the psychic wolf I'm watching try to bring this thing down so we can have supper.
My Equally Valid Opinion

MEVO 2013: STANLEY CUP FINAL PICK

Well, this is it. The best of the west meets the eastern beast. The invisible hand of the playoffs has determined the champions of the respective conferences, regular-season standings be damned except not really because hey, the Blackhawks won the President's Trophy. It's even like old-timey baseball, in that these guys didn't play each other all season long (and haven't since October 15th, 2011.)

So, how do you prepare for such an unknown opponent? Well, if you're Joel Quennville, apparently you start making line changes before you've even played the first shift of the series. Is he nuts, or are we? On paper, these teams should both have ferocious offenses, meat-grinder D-lines, and brick wall goaltending... but on paper, Chicago would be using the same lineup it beat LA with, not bringing in some headbanger who hasn't played since last May.

Contrary to the widespread belief that this one will go the distance, I think the Bruins take an early lead in this one and never really relinquish it, but I'll give the 'Hawks one for spoiler's sake. Boston in five. Currently 8 for 14 on calls and dead even in game estimation.
My Equally Valid Opinion

MEVO 2013: UGH HAHA I TOTALLY FORGOT TO MAKE MY PICKS HERE edition

UGH HAHA AND I HAVE TO LEAVE FOR WORK IN TEN MINUTES HAHAHA WOW I AM LAZY, INCOMPETENT, AND FORGETFUL, I SHOULD JUST MOVE SOMEPLACE WHERE THERE IS NO INTERNET AND JUST BE A WEIRD CREEPY GUY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

So anyway, "anything can happen" apparently includes "the last four teams to win the Cup can be the four conference finalists." Los Angeles over Chicago in seven and Pittsburgh over Boston in five. The Pens will probably win the big show at this point, too. Hey, I'm fan enough to pick my home team to win it in a shortened season, but I'm man enough to admit when a team is getting everything to go their way, both legitimate and illicit.
My Equally Valid Opinion

MEVO 2013: You Tried, Caps.

Seven for eight on picks! This ties my best first-round record from 2011. And I would've had a clean sweep too, if it weren't for the STUPID NO-GOOD WASHINGTON OVECHKINS FEATURING ADAM "HEAD FULL OF" OATES blowing their 3-1 lead. Gah! Why do I always think I can trust them? Next year I'm not taking them in any playoff round, even if they make it to the final against Anaheim. (Of course, if they were playing the Ducks then I'd still root for 'em, but it'd be a "prove me wrong" scenario.) I may even take ol' #8 out of the official MEVO LJ icon.

Speaking of proving me wrong: I got three, count 'em, three callups for the second round. Ottawa over Pittsburgh in six, Detroit over Chicago in five (ha!), and Los Angeles over San Jose in four. And hey, yknow what? Rangers are the new Caps. New York over Boston in seven. Henrik Lundqvist just has to outplay Tukka Rask. #sportsmismatchsentences #exceptmaybenotreally

Currently 7 for 8 in picks, -1 in game estimation.
Mark!

My Equally Valid Opinion: 2013 PLAYOFFS ROUND ONE PICKS

Whew! That "shortened" season still felt long enough to me. Every injury, every winning and losing streak, and every decision at the trade deadline was amplified by the constricted space around it. Drop five games on a road trip in a regular year? Not a big deal. But that's ten percent of your games this year. Making the playoffs isn't just a job-well-done scenario -- it's survival. I wish we could have part-season lockouts all the time now.

The Also-Rans

New Jersey Devils (called 4th, finished 11th)

Here's the weird thing about the Devils: they only scored 112 goals, tied for second-last in the league, but they also only let in 129, better than any other non-playoff team except Columbus. In a normal year I'd call that good old-fashioned New Jersey hockey and expect Brodeur and Hedberg to step up their games down the stretch to drive the team back up into contention. This is another reason to like The Shortening: stall-and-defend tactics don't work. Every team in the playoffs is there because they went after the puck on a regular basis, except maybe a couple of guys near the bottom of the seeding. We'll get to that.

Tampa Bay Lightning (called 6th, finished 14th)

Good news, guys! Next year you won't have to worry about losing to Washington over and over again. Thanks to realignment, you can lose to Detroit over and over instead! No, but seriously, with the two top-scoring players in the league (Marty St. Brodeur in particular reminds me of Alfredsson's '07 campaign) and some actual goaltending in Ben Bishop (you're welcome!) these guys shouldn't miss the playoffs again next year. I'm not even sure how they missed them this year. They were fantastic out of the gate, and then they just fizzled. Too many one-goal losses. See ya next year, Bolts.

Philadelphia Flyers (called 7th, finished 10th)

Oh, there's the disappointing deflation from trading all their stars away two years ago. It just took longer than I thought it would, that's all. I also like how Ilya Bryzgalov completed his transition from "media darling" to "standoffish clubhouse distraction." Can you imagine if they still made the playoffs in spite of it all? Every road game there'd be a fan with a "No Napping!" sign behind the goal.

Florida Panthers (called 8th, finished dead last)

If it's any consolation, fans will actually come to watch you play in Quebec City. Also of note: the nickname "Jose Three-Or-More" fully applies this year (his GAA was 3.29).

Phoenix Coyotes (called 2nd, finished 10th)

Same as above only with "Seattle". But come on, what were you expecting? Your top three scorers were Doan, Vrbata, and Keith Yandle. Try to draft somebody useful this year, alright?

Nashville Predators (called 5th, finished 14th)

Last year: "We're signing Shea Weber to a massive deal because we're here to play!" This year: "what do you mean we're not getting any playoff revenue??" Next year: "How come we keep losing to the Jets?!" Eeesh. I still say it should've been the Preds who got shuffled east, nut I'm not a hotshot league geography planner guy. (There's probably an actual name for that job, but I'm too lazy to look it up.)

Edmonton Oilers (called 8th, finished 12th)

No playoffs? No problem! They didn't finish close enough to the bottom for a reasonable shot at another #1 draft pick, so now they can take someone they want, like a defenseman, and work at improving their standing for next year. Sooner or later at least one of these kids has to become the franchise star they're supposed to be, right? Can we get Wayne Gretzky to appear in a swirl of storm clouds and order them to rediscover their place in the Circle of Life? Hell, at this point the Oilers would probably settle for Jari Kurri in a Tim Hortons cup.

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Mark!

The feeling of a Pendant you were wearing

This one means a Cat in an old, dead reckoning of our fortunes by the times and circumstances of our births, using a now-discarded cosmology as its chart.

This one means an Unfortunate Lady in the same system. I have two because of a snake.

This one has my Name on it, but it's a Fake name, so it's not much use for identification.

This one means Good Luck, but it's too heavy for every day. You don't need the best of luck most of the time; just to keep things going is enough.

This one means a Rat. If you combine it with the others, you get a more nuanced result, but that's too hard for most people so we ignore it. After all, if you start getting too specific then you slowly lessen the number of people who disagree that it means anything, and replace them instead with people who melt down at the idea of becoming voluminous generations of mass. It also means I like having and spending money, but show me anyone who doesn't, yknow?

And this one... when I first received it, I was led to believe it gave me Self-Esteem. Turned out I'd misheard or misread, and it simply represented the deep wells of bold reflection which I already possessed. It's my oldest one, and the only one I think a little of me has rubbed into. It takes a very long time to harness useful amounts of power. If someone else wore it, then it might just do to them what I thought it did to me after all.


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Mark!

I'm sorry.

If I hadn't existed, everyone would've had a much easier time of it. The teachers who wouldn't have to pass me despite knowing I should fail. The classmates who wouldn't have to put up with me ruining their perfectly good explanations of troublemaking. My parents could've had a better kid than me. Consuming guilt. Dream up promises. I want to die.

Stompin' Tom died well known and respected, calling on all of us to be better Canadians. I have only ever been in love with American women since high school. I am a disgrace to my country. I want to die.

This used to be one of my favourite songs, Neil. "When will I see you again?" Now I know, for so many of us, though we wish otherwise, the answer is "never." The plaintiveness in your voice and mine, betrayed by simple physics. I want to die.

Well, no. Having written all of this, I want to listen to "Sultans Of Swing". I am fickle? The god pulls its fangs out of my hide.


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