Although I don't write about Pittsburgh sports much these days, I still follow the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins, particularly the past few months, very closely. With the Penguins reaching the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks, I thought I would ask some folks their thoughts and predictions about the series. Please note that if you're looking for detailed predictions based on puck possession, Corsi, and other stats, you'll have to go somewhere else. Instead you get this. Before we begin, let me introduce this esteemed panel:
Ron of PGH Sports Daily (@PittsburghSport on Twitter)
Josh of Josh's World (@ngewo)
John of Ya Jagoff! (@YaJagoff)
Nicholas aka PSAMP (@psmap)
Sean of Sean's Ramblings (@seansramblings)
Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH)
Sarah of Sarah Sprague (@sarah_sprague)
1. Better beard: Nick Bonino or Brent Burns?
Ron: Bonino - he wears it likes he not trying to make a statement. You see the clothes Burns wears? He wants the attention a little too much.
Josh: Brent Burns, it just looks like something you would see on Game of Thrones.
John: Burns for sure but we have to give that to him since he won't have a Stanley Cup to hold
Nicholas: Well Nick Bonino has the best first name in the league, and he's about to win a Cup, and he can't win everything...so I'll also say Nick Bonino.
Jeff: Burns (I hate saying it, but it has to be said).
Sean: Burns. It's really an amazing beard. Not quite the level of Brett Keisel but really, really good.
Alan: Going off the board with Jumbo Joe.
Sarah: Nick Bonino
2. How many times will the announcers (including the studio show folks) mention that Paul Martin, currently on the Sharks, is a former member of the Pens?
Ron: 12, Half of which will occur when the Sharks score and they berate the Penguins for letting him go.
Josh: Is this per game? At least once a game.
John: 15 times over a 6 game series.
Nicholas: Seven jillion. I will be exhausted after the first, as it'll merely remind me of the string of disappointing playoff defenses led by Paul Martin that heaped scorn on Marc-Andre Fleury.
Jeff: At least 7 times per game (How many times will the announcers mention that Nick Spaling was traded for Phil Kessel and is now the Sharks 4th line center? :))
Sean: The first time Martin touches the puck each game and at least twice during each pre-game and post-game show.
Alan: Three times and then once for every goal. So I'll say four.
Sarah: Low, they'll all forget. Eight times max for the entire series.
3. How many times will the same announcers mention that Tyler Kennedy and Douglas Murray played for both the Sharks and Pens?
Ron: Once - because neither player will have cause to be mentioned come game time.
Josh: More importantly, how many times will they mention that Kennedy was on the Stanley Cup winning Pens team and scored 9 points? Each time he gets the puck.
John: Under 5 in a 6 game series.
Nicholas: Far too few. Douglas Murray should be included in at least 70% of all hockey discussions. Even if we're talking about goal scorers or whatever, you gotta shoehorn Doug Murray in there at a two in three clip.
Jeff: Once per game (I forgot Douglas Murray even existed)
Sean: Negative one.
Alan: Probably not that many. Maybe once.
Sarah: 10,289 times.
4. Better mascot: Iceburgh or Left Shark (from last year's Super Bowl)?
Ron: Shark....let's be real...Sharks are badass
Josh: I have to say Iceburgh. What is a Left Shark?
John: No doubt Iceburgh because he knows more dance moves than Left Shark.
Nicholas: Iceburgh was in a Van Damme film. Left Shark was in a halftime show that wasn't the Prince one. Iceburgh in a landslide.
Jeff: Iceburgh (The one from Sudden Death)
Sean: I really, really, really like Left Shark. However, Left Shark's 15 minutes of fame are over. Iceburgh still lives on in Sudden Death two decades later.
Alan: Iceburgh. He has a SAG credit.
5. Do you know the way to San Jose?
Ron: I've been away for so long....
Josh: Not sure, but I hear you can really breathe in San Jose and they've got a lot of space.
John: No but I hope my NHL Uber driver does.
Nicholas: No. I've never been to the West Coast. It is unnecessary.
Jeff: Yes (Very nice city)
Sean: Go West. Though that might just be me being the king of wishful thinking.
Alan: West on 80, stop before you get to San Francisco.
Sarah: Go to San Francisco, then go south through the rich parts of Silicon Valley. When you've reached the armpit, you're in San Jose.
6. Do you think any of the characters on Silicon Valley care about the San Jose Sharks?
Ron: Unless a shark is a term for a circuit board or some such computer gadgetry, they won't have a clue what the Sharks are.
Josh: Obviously Gilfoyle since he is an illegal Canadian immigrant!
John: No. They only care about how to grow hipster beards on the real sharks that swim near the San Jose area.
Nicholas: Kumail and every character Kumail plays has a pretty good grip on what's going on, so I'd imagine he knows to hate the Sharks.
Jeff: Probably don't even know they have an ice hockey team.
Sean: I don't think sports have ever been discussed on this show, so I'll go with no.
Alan: I've never heard of Silicon Valley.
7. Who will win the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP?
Ron: Crosby unless Kessel just goes off this series.
Nicholas: Phil Kessel. Then he will show up to next season's camp with the body of a Greek god. Because things just keep getting better all the way once you leave Toronto.
Jeff: Sidney Crosby (after he takes over the Final and makes everyone forget their sudden love affair with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau)
Sean: Kessel. And Toronto will riot outside the CN Tower.
Alan: Phil Kessel
8. Finally, who do you think will win the series and in how many games?
Ron: Pens in 6. SJ plays a Pens-Style game but less effectively, in my opinion. As long as Pens refrain from foolish penalties they should take this.
Josh: THE PENS IN 7!
John: Pens in 6
Nicholas: Pens. 6. Because they just refuse to win one at home. Party hard.
Jeff: Pens in 5 (Yeah, I'm going there)
Sean: Pens in 6. I'm clearly a homer here, and like Nicholas wrote, they never win at home.
Alan: Pens in 6
Sarah: Pens in seven.