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Grabner's Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket + Q&A

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Q: Do you follow the Stanley Cup Playoffs closely?

A: I watch them pretty close actually because I don't really do anything now with the baby, except sit at home. There are some pretty good matchups this year. It's been a lot of fun.

Q: What are some of the best matchups out there right now?
A: There are a lot of great matchups. The Canucks-Blackhawks is now three years in a row and the Coyotes-Red Wings from last year. The Bruins-Canadiens game are always great also because they have an exciting rivalry. So there are a lot of good matchups. I think it's tough. Even the Flyers-Sabres games have been real close so far. So it's going to be interesting just to see who wins. It shows how good the hockey is. Anyone can really beat anyone.

Eastern Conference

Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.

Championship Series

vs.

2011 Stanley Cup Champion

 vs.
 vs.
 vs.


Western Conference

Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.
 vs.

Q: Were the Playoffs televised in Austria when you were growing up?
A: They weren't really televised back home. Maybe the final, but not much - and that was at like three in the morning.

Q: What about in junior, did you follow the Stanley Cup Playoffs then?
A: My junior career was pretty short. It was done in April every year because we didn't make the playoffs. So I went home (to Austria). Over the years there was better coverage, so I was able to watch them a little bit, but it was still tough getting up at 3 a.m.

Q: I noticed you pegged the Canucks to win the Cup, why?
A: They have great depth on their team. When you watch them, they have a pretty strong team. They have one of the best goaltenders (Roberto Luongo). And I think it's just their year with the way they played all year. They obviously have a tough matchup coming with the Red Wings. So it's going to be tough for them. They're (the Red Wings) playing pretty solid right now too, but I think they're (the Canucks) going to win it.

Q: You already explained your reasons for the Canucks, but what about the rest of your top four teams (i.e. the Red Wings, Flyers and Capitals)?

A: The Red Wings are always one of the best teams in the league and they always come through in the playoffs. Right now they're playing without Zetterberg and they're still strong. They have the puck most of the time, they're a puck possession team. They have a tough matchup right now, but I think they'll come through over the Coyotes.

We played the Flyers a lot this year. It's a tough building to play in. They're kind of like the Canucks, they have a strong group, they have 12 forwards where everyone can score. If (Chris) Pronger comes back, they'll have a solid D group. The only thing where I could see a weakness is maybe the goalies, but Boucher played pretty good last game.

The Capitals, they have one of the best scoring lines in the league with (Alex) Ovechkin, (Alexander) Semin and (Nicklas) Backstrom so I think they're going to come to the final four.

Q: Have you noticed a big difference between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference?
A: I don't think it's that much different anymore. It used to be that the Western Conference was much more defensive minded, but I think these days it's all the same. There's not much difference in systems. We watch the same video. So it's pretty close I think.

Q: Were there any goaltenders you found particularly hard to beat?
A: I had a lot of chances on (Martin) Brodeur, but I just couldn't really solve them. There are a lot of good goaltenders in this league. Tim Thomas is having an outstanding year. (Roberto) Luongo is having a great season. And Brodeur is always up there. So it's not like there are any goaltenders who are easy to beat.
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