Thursday, April 29, 2010

Playoff Predictions from First Round Winner + Economics

As the winner of the prediction contest for the first round of the playoffs, AJR79 gets to write up his predictions for the second round and post a little about a political issue that interests him. So, here are his thoughts.

Remember, get your predictions in before 9 PM eastern time to be eligible for the same prize after the second round. I need winners, and the amount of games. Post your predictions as a response to this post or the one before it.

While there was lots of exciting hockey in round one, it should be noted that the Washington/Montreal series was the most exciting, and watchable. Jaroslav Halak deserves his props for being outstanding in the last three games, but the Habs as a whole played extremely gritty (over 40 blocked shots in Game Seven!), and are playing better defensively then I’ve seen in Montreal for over a decade. If they could keep playing this way, they would be serious contenders for Lord Stanley’s Mug…

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadians

Unfortunately I don’t believe they can keep playing that way. While they no doubt got a boost from winning the series, it probably took a lot out of them emotionally and physically to face three elimination games in a row. They are facing a much more proven team, and will not have the luxury of firing pucks at Semyon Varlamov.

Pittsburgh Penguins in six.

Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Picking Philly is probably the reason I won the pool. I’ll be sticking with them this round. They are big, physical, and skilled. They’ve been playing to their potential these past couple of weeks, and will be too much for the Bruins. Brian Boucher is making great strides towards being considered a legitimate #1 NHL goaltender. Looks good on him.

Philadelphia Flyers in six.

San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings

I have to believe that the “choking dogs” will be showing up in San Jose this round. It’s just a hunch. I am assuming that Detroit’s goalie Jimmy Howard is the real deal, and I have no reason to think he isn’t.

Detroit Red Wings in six.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

I think this will be the most entertaining hockey of the round. There is some serious bad blood here, and my Canucks are out for revenge. With Vancouver’s offence being more high-powered this year then last, I don’t think they’ll have the same trouble putting pucks in the net. Unless catastrophe strikes the Canucks’ blueline (possible), I think this will come down to the goalies, and special teams. Getting centre Ryan Johnson back will be huge plus for Vancouver’s penalty kill.

Vancouver Canucks in seven.

I’m sure all the hockey talk has half the people reading this bored, so I’ll do my best to bore the other half with my political topic: financial reform in the U.S. I’m interested what different commentators think about the causes of the economic collapse, and what can be done to fix it.

Conservative types usually like to point to the government, and the Federal Reserve as the problem.

My view is that there is more then enough blame to go around in the Private banking sector. Just in case your eyes aren’t properly glazed over yet here is an esoteric but informative article about how private banks manipulate interest rates and monetary supply through the derivatives market.

The “money shot” (pun intended): “We have taken future tax streams similar to "receivables" and turned them into securitization products. The government gets upfront cash today along with tax streams going to cover needed principle/interest payments. They face balloon payments in the future. The real benefit to the banks is they get the full value of the asset today which they can use as capital ratios along with ability to fractional lend out 10 times the value of the deposit streams. The deposit streams would be similar to the deposits you make from your payroll and then spend. The banks float is increased and thereby its lending facility is increased. PRESTO - Money is created into existence!”

Reading this has given me a better understanding of how the derivatives market went from 273 trillion in 2004 to over 600 trillion today, and the looming economic disaster towards which we are headed.

Thanks for your thoughts AJR79! Everyone else, get your predictions in!