In case you're new to the FCF (or if you need a refresher), the FCF holds that:
- If one team has fewer former Capitals than its opponent, it is most likely going to win any given series.
- If teams have the same number of former Capitals, the team with the fewer games played for the Capitals is most likely going to win any given series.
- If neither team has a former Capital and one team has a former Capital head coach behind the bench, that team is most likely to lose any given series.
- If both teams have former Capital head coaches, the team with the fewer games coached for the Capitals is most likely going to win any given series.
- If neither team has a former Capital or former Capital head coach, the team with the fewer former Capital draft picks is most likely going to win any given series.
- Addendum: If the teams have the same number of former Capital draft picks, the team with the fewer Capitals ties among assistant coaches/advisors/etc. is most likely going to win any given series.
- Buffalo (1) vs. N.Y. Islanders (8) - Having Dainius Zubrus and former Caps' draft pick Nathan Paetsch on the roster may hurt the Sabres down the road, but not in this first-round matchup against Brendan Witt, Richard Zednik and Chris Simon (in absentia). Buffalo wins.
- New Jersey (2) vs. Tampa Bay (7) - Both teams have a former Caps' draftee who never played for the big club, but the Bolts' Tim Taylor played for the Caps' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, which edges out the Devils' Johnny Oduya, who never signed with the Caps. Jersey wins.
- Atlanta (3) vs. N.Y. Rangers (6) - The Thrashers wisely traded former Cap Glen Metropolit at the trade deadline. The Rangers should have done the same thing with Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander. Atlanta wins.
- Ottawa (4) vs. Pittsburgh (5) - The few games Lawrence Nycholat played for the Caps (and, for that matter, for Ottawa this year) are nothing compared to the years of "defense" Sergei Gonchar and Joel Kwiatkowski logged in Washington. Ottawa wins.
- Detroit (1) vs. Calgary (8) - Detroit's Robert Lang and Calgary's Jeff Friesen... even if you don't count the six games that Brad Norton played for the Wings in October, Lang played more games for the Caps than Freezer, so this one has "upset" written all over it. Calgary wins.
- Anaheim (2) vs. Minnesota (7) - This is a tough one, as both teams wisely have no former Caps on the roster. Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle was an assistant in D.C., but Minnesota goaltending consultant Bob Mason played for the Cap (and in The Easter Epic, no less). Anaheim wins.
- Vancouver (3) vs. Dallas (6) - Former Caps abound in this one, with Jeff Halpern and Nolan Baumgartner on Dallas's side and Trevor Linden and Jan Bulis on the Canucks' roster. Halpern's games played and captaincy in D.C., as well as another Caps' draft pick in Krys Barch on the Dallas roster tell me all I need to know. Vancouver wins.
- Nashville (4) vs. San Jose (5) - Having learned their lesson with Brendan Witt last year, Nashville comes into this series with no former Caps. The Sharks have a former Cap coach in Ron Wilson and, more importantly, player in Mike Grier. Nashville wins.
There you have it: the FCF's first-round predictions. Take 'em to Vegas (or Bodog.com) - they're money in the bank.