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George Zoran
Top Prospect

55 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2006 :  12:27:17  Show Profile
Both teams have had a good little vacation – Edmonton more so than Carolina. The Oilers waited in New York at the Rangers’ new practice facility (thanks to Glen Sather) while the Hurricanes defeated a broken Buffalo team in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hopefully the rest won’t get in the way of a series that we fans deserve.

So it all comes down to this, East versus West for the right to have their names on the sacred cup. Who’s got the edge?

What more can you say about Rod Brind’amour? At 36, he is playing the best hockey of his career, and he seems to get better every series. He not only leads the team but is also their MVP. Add point leading superstar Eric Staal (7G, 13A) and runner up Cory Stillman (7G, 12A), to the deep lineup that also includes Doug Weight, Justin Williams, Ray Whitney and Mark Recchi and you have a very dangerous team. Even with the outstanding play of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Sergei Samsonov and Mike Peca, the Oilers are still one step behind the Hurricanes on both the depth and talent charts.
EDGE: Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have a well balanced defense with Bret Hedican standing out as the leader in ice time (23:31), points (2G, 7A), and plus-minus (4). Can Mike Commodore’s size and strength, Frantisek Kaberle’s offensive capabilities, and Glen Wesley’s veteran leadership match the Oilers defense led by Conn Smythe candidate Chris Pronger. While averaging over 31 minutes per games, Pronger has amassed 17 points (4G, 13A), leads the Oiler D in plus-minus (9) and has been a force on both the PP and PK. Pronger along with the gritty Steve Staios, the gifted Jaroslav Spacek, and the heart and soul that is Jason Smith get my vote as the dominant defense in this series.
EDGE: Oilers

Cam Ward has stepped in nicely into a team that was back stopped by Martin Gerber for most of the season. Ward’s save percentage is a solid .919 and his goals against average an impressive 2.07. Carolina can feel confident that both Gerber and Ward can get the job done if needed, and Laviolette has proven he is not afraid to change things up. On the contrary, Dwayne Roloson has been the only goaltender that MacTavish has needed during the playoffs. In fact, it has been so long since another Oiler goaltender has started a game that I couldn’t tell you if it is Markkanen or Conklin that opens the door of the Oilers’ bench. With an amazing .931 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average, Roloson’s mirror Ward’s. However, he has meant so much to the Oilers and I think that his veteran presence gives him the advantage over Ward.
EDGE: Oilers.

PREDICTION: I know that the forums on have contained many predictions leading up to and throughout the 2006 playoffs, so I wanted to bring your attention to an excerpt from an article I wrote in January:

“Ottawa will sweep Montreal, and then beat Philly in seven to advance to the semifinals. There they will destroy Buffalo just as they have all season long and Dominik Hasek will dominate his old club. I am calling for an all Canadian Stanley Cup Final. It is too easy to pick Calgary and I think they will get knocked out of the playoffs early. The other team from Alberta will upset the West and take on Ottawa in the finals, but will lose in seven games”.

Remove Ottawa and replace with Carolina, and it seems that this guy was one of the few that predicted this Oiler run. I will stick with my prediction of the Oilers losing in seven games.

Have an opinion on George's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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