In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Sean Reis, asks our panel of experts three questions as they play for a championship spot in our Wednesday, May 4, issue: Which NHL team will win the Stanley Cup? Is Ian Poulter passed his prime after his poor Masters performance and what are your predictions for Summer Split in the “League of Legends” (“LoL”) season?
1. What NHL teams will come out of each conference and which team will win it all?
Tom: It’s that time of the year again. Flowers are blooming, the thought of summer is entering everybody’s minds and both Americans and Canadians alike are preparing for the NHL Playoffs. Unfortunately for our neighbors to the north, this year the playoffs this year will be composed of American teams, perhaps the way Donald Trump would like it. In the Eastern Conference, I think that the Washington Capitals are going to clinch the title, though the Florida Panthers could upset the favorite. For the Western Conference, I see the Dallas Stars soaring and the Los Angeles Kings marching not far behind. As for who will win the Stanley Cup, the Capitals’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, April 7, seemed like nothing but pure luck, as Sidney Crosby was able to squeak one in for a goal. Despite the loss, the Capitals seem to be unstoppable, having one of their best seasons in history. I don’t see anything stopping them from hoisting the Cup over their heads.
Chelsea: I believe the Capitals will come out of the Eastern Conference and the Stars out of the Western Conference. The downpour of goals the Stars made against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, April 7, made their opposition crumble. Even rookie forward Jason Dickinson scored a goal during his NHL debut. Despite this, I don’t think they will win in the playoffs. The team to win it all will be the Capitals. They’re 55-17 and have 118 points overall in the season, which is far more impressive than the Stars’s 49-23 record and 107 points. With right wing Tom Wilson’s recent inpatient actions leading him to commit a five-minute major and forward Evgeny Kuznetsov only scoring two goals in 20 games, I’m concerned Washington might fall apart. But for now, I have faith that the Capitals can win their first-ever Stanley Cup.
Colleen: I’m tempted to say the Capitals will finally have their shot at the Cup because of their strong play thus far, but in the end, the Penguins will be the team from the east to make it out of the conference and onto the Cup. Their competition from the west will be the Stars, but the Penguins’s strong defense and equally as strong offense will prevent the Stars from earning the Cup. They’re second-best in the league this season in puck possession (the Stars are fourth and they’re competition in the east, the Capitals, are 10th). Even with the loss of two key players — forward Evgeni Malkin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury — the team has still been at the top of its game, making it to the playoffs for the 10th time in a row. They’ve shown that they’re a consistently powerful team and that will prove true again this year.
Tom gets 3 points because #Trump2016. Chelsea gets 3 points because the Capitals were the “right” answer and Colleen gets 1 point because Crosby is a little bitch.
2. Was Poulter too hard on himself after his Masters performance or, at 40 years old, has he past his prime?
Tom: Honestly, miniature golf was always hard for me — the windmill was never my friend — so it’s hard to criticize Poulter’s abilities to play actual golf. If he continues to think he can play, then let him. At the same time, I think he needs to chill out and practice. Poulter seems to be developing a bit of a history of hitting the dreaded shank shot, as seen at this year’s Masters and last year’s Honda Classic. While this would totally be a putter-downer for any golfer, the English 40 year old needs to stop being a dramatic crybaby on the course after he messes up and just practice. Without this, these hosel rockets — slang for shank shot — will inevitably lead to the explosion of Poulter’s career. But cheer up, Poulter — perhaps the windmill will be nicer to you.
Chelsea: With his plaid golfer’s pants, signature clenched teeth and his half-spiked, half side-swept hair, Poulter doesn’t look a day over 30 years old. This man has style, grace and a look only Guy Fieri could love. As of Friday, April 8, Poulter isn’t doing too shabby, as he’s been around or in the top 10 for most of the first two days of the Masters. He’s too hard on himself. After completely botching the 14th hole on April 8, he threw his club. It was actually quite graceful. I’m not sure how his plans to improve are going since he does not seem to be doing all that bad, except for the occasional blunder. We all have our off moments — once you have the skill, the outcome of the shot depends mostly on your state of mind. Besides, this is an old man sport, so you’re reaching your prime, Poulter!
Colleen: Olympic swimmer Dara Torres was 40 when she won two silver medals at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. As she shows, hitting 40 doesn’t automatically mean that athletes lose their abilities. While athletes’ primes vary depending on the person, if Poulter truly believes that he has more in him than he has been showing lately, then who’s to say he’s past his prime? Heck, Bernhard Langer is 58 and currently sits in third in the Masters’s standings. He might not have had the best showing at the Masters, but that’s one of the toughest courses to play and rarely does anyone play as well as they would have hoped. These challenging greens of Augusta, Ga., shouldn’t stand as the nail in the coffin for the fashionista, Poulter. He thinks he has more in him. Let’s believe in his abilities, too.
Chelsea gets 3 points because I aspire to have Poulter’s style. Colleen gets 2 points for good examples of “old” athletes and Tom gets 1 point because he never got a hole-in-one.
3. The North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) Spring Split will come to a close next weekend, but what are your predictions for the Summer Split?
Tom: It’s always hard to tell what the world of “LoL” will look like, but I think this Spring Split has definitely shown the world who the best-of-the-best are. Even though they are a brand new team, the five members of Immortals have shown that they have what it takes to dominate. When they went against Cloud9 earlier in the year, the newbies overthrew the two-time winning NA LCS champs. While this Spring Split has certainly shown that the Immortals have a few things to work on in order to live up to their name, they still had the biggest gold lead on average at 15 minutes through a game than any other team in NA LCS. I think they are going to go on and win the Summer Split and until then, all the other teams will just have to L2P, or learn to play.
Chelsea: Based off their regular spring season rank of 17-1, I think Immortals are going to decimate the competition, even into the Summer Split. A likely contender is Counter Logic Gaming, as they have the second best rank at 13-5. Regardless of their performances during the end of the Spring Split, these teams are the teams to beat. They have been consistent throughout the season and will definitely bring their game. Immortals have players like the aggressive and risky Jason “WildTurtle” Tran as well as Seung-hoon “Huni” Heo, who brought his prior team, Fnatic, into the halls of the immortals with an 18-0 score during the 2015 Summer Split. But, I mean, with team members like George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis and top champion Darshan Upadhyaya, how can Counter Logic Gaming lose, either? My money’s on both teams going far.
Colleen: After a 17-1 showing in spring, Immortals will again be at the top come summer. Immortals will continue to have tunnel vision throughout the competition, getting ahead, staying solid and never fleeing from their top spot. While their haters might feel like Immortals are better off dead, the top team is quite alive and will continue to get bread — thanks, G-Eazy for the inspiration. CEO Noah Whinston will be proud of the performances his players give and others can continue to look to the team for tips on how to improve their play.
Colleen gets 3 points because G-Eazy is amazing. Tom gets 2 points for an allusion to mythology and Chelsea gets 1 point because “HotshotGG” no longer plays for CLG.
Chelsea wins Around the Dorm 7-6-6.