Many websites and blogs have thorough breakdowns and analysis of the first round NHL playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. This isn't one of them. Instead, I posed five hard-hitting questions to hockey fans about the series. Here are your contestants:
• Alex of Everybody Loves You and the guy who created the annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event.
• James Santelli who penned Everyone Expects the Penguins To Lose. Perfect. for Pittsburgh Magazine.
• Phil, one of the few people with a blog older than mine (though Phil's Occasional Musings is defunct at the moment).
• Josh of Josh's World. I'm going to win his fantasy baseball league this season.
• Brian of Blitzburgh Blog. Sure, he writes about the Steelers, but he is very well-rounded.
• Mike Darnay of PensBurgh. He organized a real Pens roundtable like I mentioned in the first sentence.
• Nicholas of PSAMP adjlkadf! (There's no need to write more.)
• Adam of The Pensblog, my favorite Pittsburgh Penguins blog.
• Sean of Sean's Ramblings. You're already here, so like my Facebook page!
1. Who will be the leading scorer in the series?
Alex: Does Gretzky still play for the Rangers? If so, him. If not, I'll go with Sidney Crosby.
James: I'll go the easy route and take Rick Nash, who scored a career-high 42 goals in the regular season. Also, how is Rick Nash only 30 years old? The dude has been around forever and he's still 30? I demand to know his secret.
Phil: Rick Nash
Josh: Already starting off with a tough question. By scorer do you mean goals or points? Do they say scoring points though? I am not sure. Rick Nash will score the most goals. I think Crosby has the most points. (Sean's note: I meant points.)
Brian: Mats Zuccarello so we have to learn how to spell his name.
Mike: Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'm gonna go with Derick Brassard. High chances to put up points in bunches while centering Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello
Nicholas: Sid. He has to be a massive difference maker if the Pens are to have any chance. Or Geno. Basically any Penguin.
Adam: Leading scorer will be Rick Nash. No questions asked. It’s painful to not give Crosby or Malkin this title, but the Rangers might have the Pens on lockdown all series long.
2. Game two of the Pens-Rangers series airs Saturday night on NBC. This means that Mike "Doc" Emrick will likely call the game. How many Pittsburgh Pirates references will Doc make?
James: Just the requisite one reference, perhaps to Andrew McCutchen. Though Lord knows he will be asking crew members to give him a score update on the Buccos during every commercial break.
Phil: Three, one in each period
Brian: Just one. If the game were in Pittsburgh, two if you count a mention of PNC Park.
Mike: I hate the Pirates....so hopefully zero. but I'll go with two. (Sean's note: Hate the Pirates? What the what?)
Nicholas: Seriously, he'll have two at the very minimum. This is the playoffs, Sean.
Adam: Doc will make two Pirates references. It would’ve been driven up to 3 if the game was in Pittsburgh.
Sean: Once in regulation and once during each overtime if that happens.
3. Who will have a better series: Craig Adams or Tanner Glass?
Alex: Tanner Glass, because his first name reminds me of Full House.
James: Craig Adams. The dude's 38th birthday is April 26, which is when the teams will play Game 6. I know it's cliché, but the age-38 breakout season is real and it is spectacular.
Josh: Craig Adams...only because his kid spilled a drink on Lindsey at a game one time.
Brian: Glass for sure. He makes like three times what Craig Adams does, and I'm not sure if that says more about Craig Adams or Glen Sather.
Mike: Tanner Glass. simply on the grounds that Craig Adams had a total of 35 seconds of ice time in the final two games of the season.
Nicholas: I cannot recognize any player on any non-Pens team, even if they formerly donned the Black and Gold, so Craig Adams, of course. Adams catches his heat, most of the time rightly, but his work on the penalty kill and his willingness to block the heaviest of shots translates so well to the playoffs. Tanner Glass...who cares what that guy does?
Adam: Neither will have a better series than the other. It is impossible. Both are the worst things to happen. Gotta ride with Craig Adams now, though, so I’ll say Tanner Glass is gonna be awful.
Sean: None of the above.
4. When the Penguins last won the Stanley Cup, the team won nearly every time coach Dan Bylsma got a Qdoba burrito. What will be Coach Mike Johnston's lucky food?
Alex: Isaly's Chipped Chopped Ham.
James: I would pay money to see Johnston go to town on a bucket of hot wings from Quaker Steak & Lube, so let's go with that.
Phil: Smiley cookie from Eat 'n Park. (I haven't been to Pittsburgh proper in about 5 years, and I have no idea where anyone eats. I always go to Eat 'n Park if I find one.)
Josh: I am thinking double cheeseburgers from Steak 'n Shake.
Brian: Mike Johnston doesn't eat. He's a weird puppet-mannequin possessed by the soul of a bored librarian.
Mike: Well, we know HCMJ and his wife love tapas restaurants. so...one of the local ones in town. take your pick.
Nicholas: Mmmmm anything peanut butter. Or hummus. I'm just going to list every food that I love. Ice cream.
Adam: Hopefully Mike Johnston’s lucky food will be wings from Big Shot Bob’s House of Wings. Pens need wingers.
Sean: Smiley cookie. Even if this doesn't work, you can't be upset while eating a Smiley cookie.
5. Final prediction: Who will win the series and in how many games?
James: Rangers in 7
Phil: Rangers in 6, and I feel like that's optimistic. I'm rooting for the Pens but I'm not getting my hopes up.
Josh: I hate to be negative, but the Rangers in 6.
Brian: Rangers in 3, have you seen the Penguins lately? Jeez.
Mike: Rangers....in 6.
Nicholas: Pens in 7. I refuse to pick against them despite how gigantic the Rangers look right now.
Adam: The Rangers will win this series in 6 games. Here’s my bailout clause: If this somehow gets to 7 games, the Pens win it.
Sean: Pens in 7. Why not? (And then the Islanders will win the next series.)
Let's Go Pens!