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After 82 regular-season games that are basically

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  • After 82 regular-season games that are basically

    rendered meaningless by an inequitable postseason format, the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is set. There are familiar rivals. There are intriguing matchups. There are ... well, a lot of games. So as a service to you, ESPN offers this Hype Ranking for the NHL postseason, using a complicated algorithm that measures several facets of a series: star power, secondary plotlines, the hate factor, the controversy quotient (for potential violent acts or heinous actions), the arena atmosphere, the probability of a Game 7 and, last but not least, the "Beard-o-sity" of a series, in which the face shrubbery of players is weighed as heavily as the fame of that series' players.
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    Each category is given a score of 1 to 10. Now, without further explanation of a completely subjective and arbitrary process, the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff First Round Hype Rankings: This is one of those series that looks rather tepid on paper but could end up being ferocious on the ice, especially given the Devils' 3-0-0 record against the Lightning this season. While the Taylor Hall Show vs. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov brings some star wattage, the rest of it boils down to a heavily hyped team trying to avoid an upset, unless the "Brian Boyle vs. Tampa" or "Devils vs. Rangers South" plotlines do it for you. Good beard series, though: For a fair-haired boy, Stamkos can bring some foliage. The star power rating probably doesn't account for how popular the collective Predators team is, but Nathan MacKinnon can't carry it alone. The Predators as champs-in-waiting vs. the scrappy underdog ... that we can work with as a secondary plotline. Not much hate entering this one, nor controversy, although there's always a chance that, for instance, Gabe Landeskog gets hit with a catfish or P.K. Subban mocks the freshness of Mikko Rantanen's breath. The hockey world would be shocked if this thing went seven games. But then, the hockey world's been shocked about a lot of things concerning the Avalanche this season. Can a coach up the hate factor alone? Why yes, he can, when that coach is John Tortorella and this is the sixth time he's faced the Capitals in the playoffs and one of those times he threw a water bottle at a fan. Not to mention his heated exchange with Alex Ovechkin earlier this season, for which he apologized. So there's a lot going on under the hood here, even if this series doesn't have the allure that either of them vs. Pittsburgh has. Interesting to note that the Blue Jackets have never played a seven-game series, but are playing a team that seemingly can't avoid them most years. The Beard-o-sity could be a 10 were it not Bradley McDougald Youth jersey for the questionable health of venerable old woodsman Joe Thornton and the bleached Brillo pad that Corey Perry calls a beard, which obviously brings the score down. This particular Battle of California hasn't been waged in the playoffs since 2009, but shouldn't lack for intensity or the potential for nastiness, what with Perry and Ryan Kesler and Logan Couture all sharing the same ice. Its weakest score is in the secondary plotlines, because the Ducks were disappointing this season and we literally just did the "Can the Sharks finally win the whole thing?" story like two years ago. But a fun, and probably long, series. Oh boy, this could be delightfully nasty. There are just enough major players left from their insane 2012 nightmare of a series -- six games, 56 goals, 309 penalty minutes -- that those memories are relevant, along with the fact that these in-state rivals just don't like each other. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel vs. the resurgent Claude Giroux is a marquee matchup. Penguins fans defacing the Rocky statue! Flyers fans coming with offensive, disgusting insults to Crosby! Let's goooooo ... Honestly ask yourself: Is there a series you're more curious about? The most intriguing secondary plotlines of any playoff series, what with this being a record-breaking expansion team playing in front of rabid fans who have been looking to it for solace in the face of tragedy, battling a formerly dynastic team determined to climb back atop the throne. Throw in the fact that these are geographic rivals that'll have fans in each other's arenas, and you have a must-see series -- if only to see how Vegas, which is already one of the best game-night experiences in pro sports, ups the ante for the playoffs. And by that we mean "Cirque du Soleil Presents: Stanley." There's just no getting around the fact that 2013 happened, even if the Toronto Maple Leafs are a remarkably different team than the one that blew a 4-1 lead, including two goals in 31 seconds, before losing in overtime Womens Trent Murphy Jersey of Game 7. You add that to the Bruins playing http://49ersauthenticofficialstore.c...sey_c-385.html like a potential Cup winner and the Leafs seeking to break their decades-long drought. You sprinkle in some expected Brad Marchand line-crossing. Add a dash of Auston Matthews vs. Patrice Bergeron, and the extension of this season's Zdeno Chara lovefest into the playoffs. It's a shame that these teams have to meet in the first round due to the inequities of the NHL playoff format -- in the 1-through-8 format, this would have been Boston vs. Philly -- but at least when it comes to the Hype Ranking, it's produced the most compelling matchup of the first round. cheap jerseyscheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china