For the Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jeff Rimer and Bill Davidge correctly picked both Stanley Cup Finals participants, while Brian Engblom and George Matthews each correctly picked Edmonton to win the West, but misfired on the East, picking Buffalo.
Of the numerous entries that CBJ.com received, many people picked both series correctly, and Sara Hemly from Columbus, was randomly selected to win a free personalized jersey from The Blueline.
For the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Davidge will again breakdown the Stanley Cup Finals. Davidge has provided color analysis on Columbus Blue Jackets radio broadcasts since the inaugural 2000-01 season. He brings three decades of hockey experience as a player, scout and coach to game broadcasts on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM (Sports Radio 1460 the Fan) and WWCD-FM 101.1 (CD101). He is also a regular contributor to the "Between the Pipes" show that airs weekly on 1460 the Fan during the hockey season.
Prior to joining the broadcast team, Davidge spent the 1999-00 season as a scout for the Blue Jackets and from 1995-99 he served as part-time scout for the Florida Panthers. He assisted with the evaluation of players as a part-time scout for the Detroit Red Wings from 1990-94.
Stanley Cup Finals Schedule: * If necessary
No stranger to Columbus, Davidge played four years of hockey at Ohio State, earning scholar-athlete recognition in each of his seasons as a Buckeye before graduating with honors in 1976. After serving the 1977-78 season as a graduate assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) University, he was hired as an assistant coach and served in that capacity for eight seasons. In 1985, he was promoted to head coach and spent four seasons behind the bench before retiring to spend more time with his family and continuing to teach at Miami as a professor in the physical education department.
Below is Davidge's analysis of the Conference Finals as well as the pick of each of the Columbus Blue Jackets' broadcasters, Engblom, Rimer, George Matthews. Our Expert's Picks
Stanley Cup Finals
Western Conference No. 8 seed Edmonton Oilers vs. Eastern Conference No. 2 seed Carolina Hurricanes
Will the Boys from the West be the Best? OR Will the Beast from the East Feast?
One thing is clear…Hold down the hatches and be prepared for pure hockey excitement with speed, hard hitting and even the consistent penalty calling in the Stanley Cup Finals. Two teams that originated from the defunct WHA, are now closing in on the coveted Lord Stanley’s Cup, the most treasured symbol of achievement in pro sports today.
There are questions to be answered by both teams so let us look at the obvious. With Edmonton and their much talked about layoff, can they prepare for the drop of the puck on Monday night in Carolina? They are in New York State practicing in the Eastern Time zone. In as much as they are away from Edmonton, preparation in the physical can certainly be overturned by the mental aspect of not doing what daily routines bring to each and every one of them. Will Edmonton be able to sustain the solid goaltending in Dwayne Roloson? Can Edmonton pride itself with the solid play of Chris Pronger on the defensive corps, or will this be a series where he is being worked on low with constant cycling and workman-type offense? Can he continue to stay out of the box? Will Ryan Smith find a home in front of Cam Ward without opposition? There are a lot of questions to be answered.
Can Edmonton still have guys like Michael Peca and Fernando Pisani add to the offense with their roles as defensive specialists? What about Jaroslav Spacek? He brings the great one timer to the net on the right point of the power play, but he has spent more time handing out brochures as players have beat him one on one(-5). Will face offs be a key? Has this team done anything easy at all? Did they not finish the season battling just to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the west?
And what about some questions about the Carolina Hurricanes? They lost out to the Red Wings in five games winning game one and then losing four in a row a few years ago in the Stanley Cup Finals. But does this team possess some intangibles this time around? Cam Ward the rookie, can he hold up? Rod Brind'amour the leader, can he continue to lead his team to their first ever Cup? Can the defense hold up against an Edmonton team that does not quit? Health is the positive issue with both teams as they both play a calculated pressure game, neither one will sit back and watch. The Kevyn Adams, Chad Larose and Craig Adams line, which is their energy fourth line, will they match up with the likes of George Laraque and Todd Harvey? Will the great offensive play of Eric Staal continue to dominate the opposition? Can the experience of the guys like Glen Wesley, Ray Whitney and Bret Hedican push this team as well? Is Cory Stillman really a gamer? Is Mike Commodore an icon with Cup experience with Calgary under his belt? Peter Laviolette is he really a master of decisions when it comes to goalie moves?
Will the series boil down to power plays and penalty killing like it has all playoff season? Will there be a Conn Smythe trophy to Chris Pronger or Rod Brind'amour?
I ask the questions for all of us to answer in our own minds. My pick is with my head in the Carolina Hurricanes who have demonstrated reserve all year long with the No. 2 seed in the East, but in my heart goes to the underdog Edmonton Oilers who have proven anything can happen from one year to the next. Both teams did not participate in the NHL Playoffs the last year played in 2004, so when push comes to shove, Carolina led by the ex-Oiler Doug Weight will bring Lord Stanley to North Carolina...that is not a question it is my answer!!! Throw out all the statistics and let the boys play and one warning...keep your head up!!!
Our Expert's Picks: