Exotic Wagers: EA Sports predicts Boston Bruins as Cup champs

(Ed Note: Exotic Wagers looks at the unusual ways through which the outcome of the Stanley Cup playoffs can be predicted. Join us in the next two days for more peculiar experiments regarding fate, probability and utter coincidence.)

It's been 37 years since Boston Bruins fans have had a chance to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship; but if you're one to believe in both the Easter Bunny and video game simulations, then start lining Cambridge Street in anticipation of the coming parade.

In their annual virtual experiment, the gaming gods at EA Sports have simulated the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and came to an 'Original Six' match-up with the Bruins defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Phil Kessel took home Conn Smythe honors and Marc Savard providing the theatrics with two overtime goals in the finals.

If you recall last year's playoff simulation, EA Sports told us that the San Jose Sharks were going to dispatch the Montreal Canadiens in a classic seven-game series to finally get over their annual Stanley Cup playoffs fizzle. Of course, the Dallas Stars bounced the Sharks in the Western Conference semifinals and gaming geeks hung their heads in shame.

EA doesn't just simulate the Finals; they also predict the first three rounds. This postseason, EA's simulation featured all the higher seeds -- save for the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings -- advancing out of the first round.

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The Eastern Conference Finals featured all chalk, with the top seed Bruins eliminating the Washington Capitals in seven games. Out west, the Blackhawks followed suit, knocking out the reigning video game champion Sharks.

What is EA Sports' method behind their madness? According to the EA's 'Inside' blog:

"The NHL 09 computerized simulation is conducted using artificial intelligence that uses real-life data from each team, such as player ratings and line combinations, and includes variances such as injuries and hot streaks to predict a realistic outcome of each game and series."

All of this sounds much more advanced and accurate than when we used to release and add players on NHL 96 until the Lightning had a top line of Gretzky, Jagr and Fedorov ...

Check out EA Sports World to see to see the full playoff simulation.

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