I didn’t have the privilege of becoming a hockey fan at a very young age. The inaugural season of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000-2001 was my first dose of major league hockey and I’ve been hooked ever since. I knew that I didn’t want to push my interests on my kids, but I certainly hoped hockey would become a passion of theirs as well. My son ended up taking a natural interest, unlike his younger sister. He’s now eight and is often talking in my ear as I type out a game recap, making sure I don’t miss any of the action and letting me know what he’s seeing. We play a game of hockey behind the couch during intermissions — games that he wins more often than his old man would like to admit.
His love for hockey is several years old at this point, but this season was the first that he paid a lot of attention to the teams the Jackets were playing. He’d measure the odds of a Columbus win each night based on the opponent and starting keeping an extra eye on opposing star players. Noticing his developing love of all things hockey, I thought this year would be a great time to capture his thoughts on the playoffs to share with all of you. So without further ado, here is an eight year old’s preview of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Avalanche vs. Predators
“Definitely the Avalanche because Nashville’s not very good. Avalanche has been winning a lot of games.” He highlighted for a second time that he thinks the Preds aren’t very good. We currently live in Nashville and he probably won’t be shy about this predictions with his friends.
Prediction: Avalanche in 5
Coolest jersey: Predators — “I like their away jerseys.”
Wild vs. Blues
“Because the Blues lost to the Blue Jackets big time.” Most of us don’t want to remember that game in November either, buddy. He talked about the two games the Blue Jackets played against the Wild and how he didn’t think St. Louis could match up with Minnesota’s toughness.
Prediction: Wild in 5
Coolest jersey: Wild — “I like their home jerseys with the stripes.”
Flames vs. Stars
“Flames are going to win, definitely. Because they’re tough, their goalie’s really good, and they have really tough players.” Man, this one is spot on. His analysis here may be accurate, but it’ll lead to a surprising prediction later.
Prediction: Flames in 4
Coolest jersey: Flames — “Their jersey’s are just cool I think.”
Oilers vs. Kings
“It’s really close. I think the Oilers will win because they have good offense.” More on this later. He also predicts McDavid will score five goals in the series.
Prediction: Oilers in 7
Coolest jersey: Oilers — “I like their orange jerseys and their dark blue jerseys.”
Western Conference Champion: Edmonton Oilers
“I think the Wild will beat the Avalanche in seven games. I think Connor McDavid’s team will beat Calgary. Because if you aren’t really good at going super fast [the Oilers] can bump you really good. But since Connor McDavid’s fast and has really good moves I think they will win.”
Panther vs. Capitals
“Panthers. Because they are really good and have really good players. Most of the times they beat bad teams like 9-4. They also have Bobrovsky.” He was a huge Bobrovsky fan when Bob was in Columbus, so no surprises here. He also said that Ovechkin is the only reason the Capitals will win games in this series and he may not be wrong.
Prediction: Panthers in 6
Coolest jersey: Tie
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning
“I think Maple Leafs. Because Toronto has really good offense and really good defense. Also because their goalie went to the All-Star game.” He predicts that Auston Matthews will score seven goals in the series.
Prediction: Maple Leafs in 7
Coolest jersey: Lightning — “It’s really similar, but I like that it has a lightning streak on the jersey.”
Hurricanes vs. Bruins
“I don’t know — it’s a hard one. The Bruins are really good. I think it’s going to be Hurricanes. They have really good defense and really good offense, but Boston usually gets a lot of penalties.” His most random prediction for the playoffs is that he thinks Marchand will intentionally hit someone in the face with his stick. It already happened once this season, so not necessarily out of left field.
Prediction: Hurricanes in 6
Coolest jersey: Hurricanes — “My favorite color is red.” It was blue a week ago, so don’t put too much stock into that.
Rangers vs. Penguins
“It’s really hard. I would say Rangers because they have really good offense and really good defense. They have the best goalie in the league. They also have Fox and they have Chris Kreider and they also have Panarin. The Penguins have really good defense, but I don’t think their offense is better than New York’s.”
Prediction: Rangers in 7
Coolest jersey: Rangers — “Because they have red, white, and blue.”
Eastern Conference Champion: Florida Panthers
“I think the Panthers are going to win and beat Toronto.” He thinks the Rangers take out the Hurricanes, but lose to the Panthers in the conference finals. He made sure to point out that he wants the Hurricanes to beat the Rangers, but doesn’t think it’ll happen.
Stanley Cup Champion: Florida Panthers
“Because the Panthers are really good at keeping it in the zone and not letting it out. The Oilers are good at that too, but not as good.” So there you have it. McDavid is able to propel his team to the Finals, but they fall short to the mighty Panthers.
MVP: Aleksander Barkov
Most goals: Connor McDavid
Highest save %: Sergei Bobrovsky
Most penalties: Brad Marchand
Most disappointed fans: Colorado Avalanche