Bracket Challenge: Early Analysis

Christian Petersen

The brackets are in! I've gone over them all crunched some numbers, ate a sandwich, called my mother (Hi mom!), and now I'm going to breakdown the trends the Bracket Challenge brings.

Greetings Wilderness campers! We are a week into the playoffs and it is time take a look at the Hockey Wilderness Playoff Bracket Challenge. I've got all the entries logged, some of them were even legible which I love, thank you!

These were fun to look through and as I meticulously critiqued each and every one of them with the keenest of eyes, I began to notice a few anomalies, as well as some interesting trends. First things first, lets look at some of the trendy picks.

BOSTON STRONG

The countries love for Boston does not miss a beat here in the Midwest. 17 of you have the Bruins slated to win the NHL's ultimate prize in Lord Stanleys Cup. The road for Boston, according to the numbers you supplied, looks to be a relatively easy one, 22 of you have the opening series with the Red Wings ending in 5 games or less.

Speaking of the Detroit Red Wings, with the copious amounts of love bestowed upon Boston from the Wilderness, the Wings are kind of left sitting with a bum sack on the side of a highway. It's not all bad for the Wings though, one of you has them winning the cup. That's a pile of hockey sticks better than I can say for Montreal however.

THE CANADIENS

With love for one team comes the chaos left in their wake as teams line up to take their shot at Boston's 37 trips to the 2nd round. The Montreal Canadiens are the unfortunate fool that falls to the wayside consistently in the 2nd round. Bracket after bracket came piling in, and not a single one of you pick them to advance beyond the 2nd round.

Their opening round is essentially a wash between them and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens do hold a slight edge in 2nd round appearances at 22 - 18. With last nights action, some of you have earned your first points in the Bracket Challenge. Nobodies bracket has been shattered though, as nobody picked the Lightning to get a cup out of the playoffs. Anyone care to venture a guess as to how many of you called for the Canadiens sweep of the Lightning?

RANGER vs. FLYERS

No clear winner in this first round match-up. Half of you think the Rangers will advance and the other half go out on a limb and pick the Flyers. If there is one thing I can derive from this round its that first, none of you really care about this series and second, you all know how to flip a coin.

GETTING DUCKY

The only team getting to the Stanley Cup Finals more than the Anaheim Ducks are the Boston Bruins (25). The Ducks, according to you, will be teased by the Cup 13 times, but only find glory 5 times. Boston is the trendy pick for the Ducks demise in the finals who's trip through the playoffs trends just a little better than the defending Cup Champs, the Chicago Blackhawks.

BLACKHAWK DOWN

A lot of love for the Hawks early in the playoffs, I'm sure quite a few of you are sweatin' your opening round selection with the Blues up 2 - 0 on the Hawks right now. At any rate, you seem to think the Hawks are good through 2 rounds, but getting though that 3rd gets tricky with just 6 trips to the Finals and 3 repeat Championships from the lot of you.

HOMER KNOWS BEST

I was a bit shocked to learn not a whole lot of you have much faith in this squad after they dismantle the Avalanche in 6 games. A lot of you are piggy-backing on my Wild in 6 games prediction which either makes you genius or just plain foolish! After finishing off the Avs the Wild run into a wall that hits harder than Varly.

With the Wild getting to 6 or more games in 23 wins in the first round they tend to run into that surging Hawks team I mentioned above who are typically quick to dispose of the Wild as a lot of you don't think the Wild can push the 2nd round very deep.

Those of you who have not completely lost faith in the Wild yet are rewarded with getting to move them on in the brackets, potentially looking like some sort of prognosticating genius! Now, to the person who has the Wild beating the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup Finals: Really dude?

SO, WHO WINS THIS THING?
The overwhelming choice to win the Stanley Cup is the Boston Bruins, and it's not even close kids. With 17 Championships the tower over the East as the clear choice to advance through the tournament and hoist the Stanley Cup. With only 22 cups going out to East teams, Boston's margin over the rest is comical.

No clear winners coming out of the West however. Wilderness, you were torn over this. The only team in the West nobody thinks can go all the way, the Los Angeles Kings. With just 2 trips to the Cup and up against Boston nobody gives the Kings a chance.

Leading the West is the Anaheim Ducks with 5 cups to their name in the Bracket Challenge. The rest of the teams, excluding L.A., fight amongst themselves for the scraps Boston leaves, but none of the rest bring home more than 3.

Brackets have already started to crack and the tension is palpable. As more teams start dropping off the radar I will start posting more updates and perhaps a weekly top-10 leader board. Thanks for your entries, now commence with the trash talk!

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