Playoff Time 2016!

It's time for the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs!  It's gonna be a slimmed-down version of the Atom-Bomb Bikini Playoff Challenge this year, and thanks to a time crunch, I wasn't able to create any new pin-up art, but don't worry, I haven't gone soft on you... I'm hopeful to get some together for round two hope. And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these illustrations from a book I did for The Hockey News last year! This my favorite time of year, I LOVE hearing y'all's Cup picks, and you can win some art, books, stickers and other great stuff...so let's GO!

EASTERN CONFERENCE – Atlantic Division Semifinals

(1) Florida Panthers vs. (WC1) New York Islanders

It's hard to imagine the Florida Panthers as a #1 seed, but here they are. They came out of the gate on fire and put together a really solid season...I kept expecting them to backslide, but it never happened. They're a feel-good story... and you have to love that Jaromir Jagr is still contributing at age 65.

For the Islanders, it's gonna be a tough climb. Beset by injuries, they've been fading for the last couple months. Cats in five.

(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings

A rematch of last year, this series features the Stamkos-less Bolts against the Red Wings, who managed to play just well enough to reach the playoffs for an impressive 25th straight year. Even without their superstar, I still figure Tampa Bay to dispatch Detroit fairly easily.  Bolts in six.

EASTERN CONFERENCE – Metropolitan Division Semifinals

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (3) New York Rangers

Another rematch (actually a three-match), but with a decidedly different. I lambasted the Pens in this space last year, and deservedly so. They were a complete mess, and though they managed to make it a little closer than I thought they would, they still got their asses handed to them. What a difference a year makes. The Pens are the NHL's hottest team, and have been on fire since mid-March. They've had their usual spate of injuries, but youth and depth have carried them through, unlike in the past. Everything seems to be lining up for them as it did in 2009...can they stay hot and continue their good fortune?

The Rangers, on the other hand, seem to be in a little bit of the same spot as Pittsburgh the last couple seasons. Still very good, but a bit older, banged up and showing some mileage. Still, anytime you have King Baby Stuff Henrik in goal, you've got a chance to come out on top.  Penguins in six.

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (WC2) Philadelphia Flyers

The Caps had pretty much sewn up the President's Trophy by Valentine's Day, giving their fans a full two months to stress about going into the playoffs as the NHL's top team. For all their trouble, they end up matched against the Flyers, whose late-season tear propelled them past the Bruins for the final wild card spot. It'll be a tough battle for the Caps, who will suddenly feel the weight of expectations against a team that figures to at least decapitate your best players if they can't beat you on the scoreboard. Sphincters haven't been this tight in the nation's capital since Bush/Gore in 2000. Caps in seven.

WESTERN CONFERENCE – Central Division Semifinals

(1) Dalas Stars vs. (WC2) Minnesota Wild

The Stars are the class of the west, an offensive powerhouse and solid in all phases of the game. They figure to have an easy time with the Wild in this battle of Minnesota's old and new teams. Stars in five.

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

You gotta feel for the always-a-bridesmaid Blues. They're always good and seem loaded with potential, but always seem to get the toughest draw. This time around it's the Blackhawks, who simply seem incapable of losing this time of year. Blackhawks in six.

WESTERN CONFERENCE – Pacific Division Semifinals

(1) Anaheim Ducks vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators

Anaheim started the season looking awful but finished strong...thanks, inexplicably at least to THIS Pens fan, to the addition of David Perron mid-season, who contributed mightily to their offense until being sidelined with an injury a few weeks back. The shaky health of Anaheim's forward might finally allow the Predators, extremely good for a wild-card team, to take that next step into the second round. Preds in seven.

(2) Los Angeles Kings vs. (3) San Jose Sharks

After getting burned more times than I can count, I set up an iPhone alert several years ago to go off every year on April 12 that says "Don't pick the Sharks!". San Jose has switched back from their lousy black alternates to their regular teal home uniforms for the playoffs, righting one of history's greatest wrongs, but will it be enough to beat the rival Kings, who always find an extra gear in April and May? I'd like to believe, but I don't. Not yet. Kings in seven.

Now on to the contest...


As in years past, the rules are simple...pick the teams you think will advance to the final four, the conference champions, and the eventual Stanley Cup winner. One point for each correct final four pick, two for each final two pick, and three for picking the champs. Whoever has the most points when that cup is hoisted in June will win the big prize! 

Here's what you're playing for: The big winner will receive a custom piece of original artwork of a pinup girl wearing the jersey of his or her favorite team, along with both issues of Old-Timey Hockey Tales, and pack of Atom-Bomb stickers. Two runners-up will just get the books and stickers...and in case of a tie, I'll put all the names in a hockey helmet and select a winner at random.

How to enter: Write your picks in the comments section of this here blog post. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not in an email, but in the comments section of this post. And as usual, struggling as I have to finish the art on time, everybody gets one free game! That's right, you have until the pucks drop on Friday night to enter!

And finally, please, if you have a Twitter handle or something like that that you wouldn't mind adding to your post, that'd be great....I don't want to have a prize go unclaimed because I had no way of getting in contact with the winner! Enjoy the playoffs... and good luck!

And of course...

CRASS COMMERCIALISM DEPT: Lots of original, hand-drawn art for past year's Stanley Cup picks  is currently available at my Etsy store! Good deals abound, and if you're looking for a specific team that you don't see listed, PLEASE drop me a line and I'll see if I can dig it up for you!

And as always, 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


Johnny Bacardi said...

Once more, no Flames in the playoffs so I guess I gotta root for the "local" team, the Preds.

I'm gonna enter this thing this year!

Redbuppy said...

Penguins over Panthers
Stars over Kings
Like 1991, Penguins over Stars.

Frederick said...

Lightning vs Capitals - Lightning win
Ducks vs Blackhawks - Ducks win
Ducks vs Lightning - Ducks in six.

Unknown said...

I got Blackhawks vs Stars - Hawks win
I got Panthers vs Pens - Pens Win
I got the Hawks winning in 7.

Unknown said...

Caps over Panthers
Ducks over Dallas
Caps over Ducks in 6.

Jason A. said...

Penguins vs Flyers - Penguins win
Islanders vs Red Wings - Islanders win

Wild vs Blues - Blues win
Predators vs Kings - Kings win

Penguins over Kings for the Cup

PK said...

Blackhawks over Ducks
Panthers over Caps

Blackhawks over Panthers

Abram said...

Caps over Lightning
Ducks over Blues

Caps over Ducks for the Cup!

Unknown said...

Stars over Sharks
Caps over Panthers
Stars over Caps

Johnny Bacardi said...

OK, after much deliberation:

Blackhawks over Ducks
Caps over Panthers

Caps over Blackhawks.

Really stepping out on a limb there.

Doug W said...

Pens over Caps
Ducks over Hawks
Ducks over Pens

Unknown said...

Capitals over Panthers
Ducks over Blackhawks

Capitals over Ducks

Jerry LaClair said...

Anaheim over Dallas...
Caps over Florida...

Caps over old coach... Boudreau... This is their year! CUP NV...

Q said...

Pens over Panthers
Stars over Kings
Stars win

Meanwhile, I lament another season of Blue Jacket mediocrity....

Patrick said...




Unknown said...

Pens beat Panthers
Kings beat Stars


Unknown said...

Pens over Cats
Kings over Hawks
Pens over Kings

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