Rolling Rock (Unofficially) Presents: The 2017 Bench Life Stanley Cup Prediction Battle

 

The Bench Life team are taking the gloves off for a winner-take-all prediction battle to prove once and for all (at least for now) who is most in tune with playoff hockey. Winner of the challenge gets a case of ice cold Rolling Rock beer paid for by the losers. Whoever finishes dead last will get punished in some sort of humiliating way, so stay tuned for whatever that ends up being. I had envisioned some sort of tie Goldberg to the net situation but that could potentially be too harmful. This is a classic TBD situation.

Without further ado, here are the categories for the challenge with each of our various picks.

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Stanley Cup Finals Preview and Prediction

Another round of the NHL Playoffs has come to an end, and we’re left with only two teams. In the Western Conference, the underdog Nashville Predators have been the surprise of the playoffs this year, taking down Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim on their path to the Finals. From the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to be the first back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions since the Red Wings repeated in 1997 & 1998. They beat out Columbus, Washington and Ottawa en route to their shot at the Cup. With Game 1 set for tonight, let’s take a look at the series and I’ll tell you why the Predators are going to stun the defending champs. Read more

Bench Talk 05/26/2017

“It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win. This life hasn’t turned out, quite the way I want it to be.” — Chad Kroeger

Losing can be tough. Losing while riding the pine is downright insufferable. Reach into the styrofoam cooler, crack a cold one and let’s talk some sports.

In the News

IIHF World Championship ends Gold Medal Game in Shootout. Is this a crappy way to finish?

Brendan Ballantyne (BB):

Of course it’s a terrible way to finish, who wants to watch someone win a gold medal on someone missing a shot on net? That’s exactly what happened when Mitch Marner was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist this past Sunday. The shootout is simply a weak way to decide a hockey game and the NHL only gets away with it is because it avoid ties and because shootout results aren’t quite as glaring due to the the length of schedule.

The fact is though, the NHL should be credited because at least they acknowledge that the shootout belongs nowhere near the games of most importance. I don’t know what the IIHF is thinking. Do they have somewhere to be? What’s the rush? Why does this game need to end like that?

Sudden death overtime is the best part of meaningful hockey, nobody has memories of game winning shootout goals (or even saves) because it’s so unnatural in comparison to the game. It’s a let down. The OT period between Sweden and Canada was entertaining hockey and the shootout ruined what could’ve been a potentially historic memory. You may say I’m biased because Canada is on the losing end this time around, and the World Junior team lost in the same fashion etc.. But I firmly believe this is a waste of great game on the IIHF’s part, and I’d say even that if the results were reversed.

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Bench Talk (05/19/2017)

“It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win. This life hasn’t turned out, quite the way I want it to be.” — Chad Kroeger

Losing can be tough. Losing while riding the pine is downright insufferable. Reach into the styrofoam cooler, crack a cold one and let’s talk some sports.

In the News

What should the Celtics do with the 1st Overall Pick?

Brendan Ballantyne (BB): You’ve go to draft the best available, and Markelle Fultz is just that. At 6’4”, 195lbs, the Point Guard out of Washington enters the draft as the consensus number-one pick following an incredible Freshman season. Fultz possesses impressive physical tools for the Point Guard position with incredible length (6’10” wingspan), leaping ability and quick feet which allow him to change pace with ease.

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Blue Jays Time Capsule: The 2012 Mets and Marlins Blockbusters Trades

This week the Jays have been getting slugged in a four game home-and-home series against the woeful Atlanta Braves. One storyline that was not lost on fans and media alike was RA Dickey’s return to Toronto. The now-42 year-old Dickey continues to float knuckleballs south of the border and his return has unearthed some feelings in Jays nation.

Coincidentally, the last time the Jays were this disappointing this early in the season, the 2013 Blue Jays team had just acquired RA Dickey off of an NL Cy Young winning season and made a blockbuster trade with the Marlins where  they pretty much acquired Miami’s team for the Jays’ farm. Vegas had them as the odds on favourite to win the World Series that year and… they finished last in the AL East with a 74-88 record.

So in the spirit of depressing Blue Jays baseball, let’s take a look back at those two trades made in November of  2012! Read more

NHL Conference Finals Preview and Predictions

On Wednesday night, the second round of the NHL playoffs came to an end in one of the most exciting ways possible: not one, but TWO Game 7’s.

First, the Penguins went into Washington and shutout the Capitals on their way to another series win for Crosby over Ovechkin. After coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to tie the series at 3, the Capitals looked to head back to the Verizon Center and complete the comeback. Honestly, I was really looking forward to all the “Pittsburgh blew a 3-1 lead” jokes. And for the sake of my bracket, I was hoping that Washington would move on. However, the Penguins decided they didn’t want to be added to the list of teams to have blown a massive lead in the last year or so. Washington struggled to generate offense, Ovechkin was quiet and Marc-Andre Fleury was playing like it’s 2009, making 29 saves. Pittsburgh advanced with a 2-0 win, and will look to get ready to take on the Senators.

The second game of the night featured the young, up and coming Oilers against the older and experienced Ducks. After putting up 7 goals in Game 6, Edmonton looked to be in control of the series heading into the final game. But it turns out they should’ve saved some of those goals, because they could’ve used them in Game 7. After scoring early in the game, the Oilers offense was held in check, being held to just 3 shots in the 2nd period and 8 shots in the 3rd. Andrew Coglianio tied the game in the 2nd, Nick Ritchie scored the game winner a few minutes into the final period, and the Ducks managed to hold on for the win and will move on to play the Predators. Read more

Bench Talk (05/12/2017)

“It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win. This life hasn’t turned out, quite the way I want it to be.” — Chad Kroeger

Losing can be tough. Losing while riding the pine is downright insufferable. Reach into the styrofoam cooler, crack a cold one and let’s talk some sports.

In the News

Big Baller Brand ZO2

Thomas Waind (TW): The best article I could find about these stupidly expensive shoes was by Dan McQuade on Deadspin (http://deadspin.com/why-the-hell-are-lonzo-ball-s-sneakers-495-1794953264).

The ZO2’s are essentially an on-court shoe that looks like it could be a knock-off Kobe (typically $215 to $295 at Foot Locker), but are priced as though they’re luxury Jordans. Except instead of paying for the Jump Man you’re getting…

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