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It's coming down to the wire in the Eastern Conference with none of the playoff matchup set yet....
This evening I was a guest on the Team 1200's junior hockey show with Lee Versage and John Abbott, which was a rare appearance for me since I'm not really a good talker, like, and um, stuff. Anyway, the guys asked for my upset picks in the east and west... here they are kids:
OTTAWA 67'S: I've really liked this team in the second half of the season. Consistency might be an issue, but if you look at their play heading into the playoffs they're 6-3-1-0 -- including a 6-3 slapping of first place Barrie Colts. I was talking to another Eastern Conference coach about the 67's and he says he's not sold on their goaltending -- but I like Chris Perugini (liked his brother Andrew too).
Centre Cody Lindsay's been hot and working well with linemates Tyler Toffoli and Dalton Smith, and they've been able to get scoring from Thomas Nesbitt, Anthony Nigro and Ryan Martindale -- so there's good depth. Tyler Cuma is a leader on the blue line.
MISSISSAUGA MAJORS: Uh, yeah... well I'm not so confident about this pick after the Majors latest slide, where they've gone 4-6 in their last 10. Talking to Dave Cameron recently, he chalked it up to complacency, which means terrible timing heading into the playoffs. On the bright side, they've got all-star defenceman Cameron Gaunce back in the lineup as well as first-round blue liner Stuart Percy.
Offensively, the Majors need to put out an APB on William Wallen, who has one goal in 27 games entering tonight's contest with Belleville. If I had to pick kids to go in a shootout, he'd be one of them for sure, but hopefully for Mississauga fans Wheels will be back on the Majors' bus for the post-season. The Majors still have a pretty balanced offence will keep relying on the likes of Casey Cizikas, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jordan Mayer and Riley Brace to put the puck in the net.
NOTE: Riley Brace has become my favourite Majors' player to watch -- the kid works hard every shift, doesn't get pushed around as often as his frame would suggest and found his touch round the net.
In net, they're solid with 1 and 1A -- Chris "No Shenanigans" Carrozzi and JP Anderson. The pair are without question two of the Conference's best thanks in part to a stable blue line in front of them. The Majors also split the regular season series with the Barrie Colts 3-3.
So there you have it, my two picks to potentially unseat the first place Barrie Colts in the Eastern Conference.
As always - questions, comments, compliments, complaints, threats etc: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @loosepucks
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