Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – May 2nd

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So it is that silly time of year again when I make a fool of myself and tell you just how the NHL playoffs are going to happen. Many folks in Readerland have played his annual ritual before.I make these silly NHL playoff predictions, readers then clip them out of the paper and post them on the fridge (wallboards are optional) and then laugh at my predictions throughout the remainder of the playoffs.So let’s start close to home with the Western Division:Vancouver – San Jose. This will be a hotly contested battle that will come down to the goaltenders especially – in the final three games. Look for Vancouver to win it all in seven games. Garrison, Roy, and Henrick Sedin to step it up the final three games of the series. Schneider will pull off this series for B.C. fans.Chicago Black Hawks will take out Minnesota in five games. Dany Heatley will finally wake up after his shoulder injury but it will be too little too late for Minnesota and their fans.St. Louis versus Los Angeles. This is probably the hardest series to call. Logistics say St. Louis in six however I am going with LA in seven games. These are two tough teams who will grind out every game. Last year’s cup-winning experience will help the Kings in the end.Detroit versus Anaheim. The Ducks should win this in five or six games but I am calling the Red Wings in seven because of three players: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Kronwall. Anaheim will take a three game to nothing lead and Detroit will then do the nearly impossible.In the Eastern Division it is easier, sort of.Pittsburgh – NY Islanders.  Pittsburgh will sweep this series in four games and the Islanders will hardly see the puck.  In fact they may ask to concede or surrender after three games.  If the Penguins sit on John Tavares hard enough the Penguins will likely not score five goals in total.Rangers – Washington. Washington to take a 2-0 lead but lose series four games to three after Rick Nash and Brad Richards finally wake up. Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin will play his heart out but is likely already injured and will not be able to handle the heat.Ottawa – Montreal. Based on nothing but pure despite for the Habs – Ottawa will win six games. The Senators are on a roll and if they had Jason Spezza healthy they could have gone to the finals perhaps.Boston over Toronto in six. This one could turn ugly but Boston’s depth will win out in the long run.The final two teams in each division will be Chicago and Vancouver in the west and Pittsburgh and the Rangers in the East with the Penguins and Rangers meeting for the cup. Penguins to win it all.There you are – short and sweet just like moi.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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