Has anyone else noticed the almost cowardly way that predictions are being handled this year by the MSM Web site personnel?
I almost want to say that there is a AP Style on how to pick a Stanley Cup winner:
1. Pick the Wings: Failing to pick the Wings will result in a backlash of hate mail from the most "sensitive" sports fans outside of the Professional Crying League. Not only will you have your hockey judgment questioned for not being fully aware of the postseason magic of Darren Helm, but you also may lose a pet if you leave them outside your house.
2. Pick the larger East Coast market: The next best bet to avoid hate mail is to go with the larger population, hence eliminating the greatest number of respondents. New York is already out of the playoffs, therefore Boston and Philly now take on that mantle of being the teams to beat.
3. Go with the past winner: You can't go wrong with picking Pittsburgh because you can repeatedly type "experience" to fill out that required word count.
4. Pick against the team with the bad reputation: This mostly goes for general sports
writers, columnists trolls who haven't watched a game all year but have no qualms bringing up the Sharks' past playoff failures or the Coyotes' lack of ownership or the Nashville coach's lack of a neck. (No offense Barry, just sayin' you probably don't own too many scarves.)
5. Add in a special section to predict an upset: Too cowardly to pick Los Angeles to win it all? Call them the most likely to upset everyone. That way, you get to have two predictions but only man up for one of them, while allowing yourself the ability to quote your cowardly upset pick next year by referring to that prediction. You may think you're being creative with your predictions, but mostly it just proves that even you don't believe the crap you are spewing and will therefore acknowledge that fact by picking a separate team, despite the fact that there's no reason for us to believe your reasoning for your second team any more than your first, other than you wanting a preemptive mulligan on your picks.