Stanley Cup and Cheesecake 2014 — Central Division Semifinals

WESTERN CONFERENCE – Central Division Semifinals

(1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (WC1) Minnesota Wild

Wow, who thought the hiring of Patrick Roy as coach would have this big an effect on the Avalanche? Though I suppose the arrival of Nate McKinnon was a pretty big deal too. Colorado was good right out of the gate and simply refused to ago away all season, and then swooped in to take the division crown after Chicago and St. Louis couldn't stay atop the perch. The loss of Matt Duschene will no doubt hurt the Avs in the scoring department but they should be able to hold off the Wild, who again come into the playoffs as a low seed with little chance of advancing past a powerhouse team. Avalanche in six.

(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (3) Chicago Blackhawks

It's hard to believe that one of these teams, each of whom seemed a shoo-in at times for the President's Trophy at some point, is not going to get past the first round. Such is NHL realignment, I suppose. Up until two weeks ago, the Blues looked like a lock for the conference finals, until a brutal swath of ill-timed injuries struck, causing them to lose their last six games and the top spot in the West.

Chicago has seen many of it's bright stars sidelined over the course of the season, but they seem to have weathered the worst of it, finally getting healthy and looking to oust their old foes. It's imperative on the Blues to pile it on early and end the series quickly, because if it goes the distance, Chicago's experience will win out and it'll be Blackhawks in seven.

CRASS COMMERCIALISM DEPT: All of the original, hand-drawn art for this year's Stanley Cup picks will be on sale soon...but much of the art from previous years is currently available at my Etsy store, and on sale for 30% off through the end of the playoffs in June, when you use the code CUP2014 at checkout!

Of course, if you'd like to go the extra mile and get a personalized, one-of-a-kind uni-girl illustration of your very own to your exact specifications, that information can be found here.

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