Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Inevitable, but Hopefully Entertaining

2007-8 season predictions. Every damn blogger out there has 'em, and who am I to challenge my betters? It's mindless conformity that has made me who I am. And attracted our attractive readers, which I think I can now describe as "several", rather than "few" (recently upgraded from "both"). Don't worry, I won't let it go to my head.

Atlantic
1. Rangers - I drank the Kool-Aid, awright? I don't think Drury or Gomez will rock the boat too much. And I'm a fan of Jagr, though I forgot why. Their goaltending and D are definitely better than the...
2. Penguins - Young, dumb, and full of... you get the idea. Their PP will be electric, but winning games 6-5 is a risky proposition.
3. Flyers - Ok, they gained some dudes in the offseason, and they have some young guys. But when Derian Hatcher is still one of your best two defensemen, and you have a backup retread as your starting goalie, you'll be scratching to make the playoffs come January.
4. Devils - with a new coach, and a new system, it's time for this team to falter. The inevitable falling out between Sutter and Big Bad Lou will leave the team without a compass. I'd say it's even money that Lou will pull a "Claude Julien" on Sutter before April.
5. Islanders - Ted Nolan is a genius, and it's ridiculous that he couldn't get a job after leading the Sabres to the SCF all those years ago. But you can't polish a turd.

Northeast
1. Senators - Stood pat in the offseason, and it will pay off. Even if Heatley gets all uppity about his contract, this team has too much talent and experience to lose the division.
2. Sabres - I wanted to put this team after the Leafs, but I wussed out. They still have solid goaltending and some talent. I will go out on a limb and say that we will be questioning Vanek's contract by the end of the year.
3. Maple Leafs - Now with our dearly departed Tosk in net, the Leafs will finally make the playoffs. But if no young guns step it up, it could be a long season of watching Sundin get slower and slower.... eyes.... closing....
4. Canadiens - Just like the Leafs, without as good goaltending or defense. Or offense.
5. Bruins - Unless Kessel gets cancer again, there will be nothing to talk about for the hapless Bruins. You can send your angry emails to biteme@null.com.

Southeast
1. Lightning - Goaltending is a problem, and Boyle, on whom I have a man-crush, is a bit clumsy, ok?! With Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, and several good defensive defensemen, Tampa Bay will again be on top, but only enough for the #3 seed.
2. Capitals - With Semin, AO, and Niclas Backstrom (no, the other one), this team will be dangerous every night. And long-forgotten Vezina winner Olaf Kolzig has still got some gas left in the tank.
3. Thrashers - I'm not sold on Lehtonen. I'm not sold on Kovalchuk, who can light it up, but is a defensive weakling. The only bona-fide they got is Hossa, who will only be looking to pad his stats so he can get the hell out of there.
4. Panthers - I feel bad for Horton, Bouwmeester and Jokinen, but if you can't win with Luongo, Vokoun is not the answer.
5. Hurricanes - So forgettable I forgot to include them in the first version of this post. 'Nuff said.

Central
1. Detroit - Stupid Wings. When are you jagoffs gonna screw up?! Can't a guy get a break?!
2. Predators - Man, I really wanted to put them third, but even though they lost some guys, they still have enough to win some games. I really wanted to push the...
3. Blackhawks - I liked this team even before their owner died. Hooboy, that was even worse than the cancer comment. Seriously though, with young talent and a Cup-winning goalie, and who knows, maybe even the ability to spend at the trade deadline for the first time in 35 years, this team is going places.
4. St. Louis - Odd combination of rickety old guys and not-ready-yet youngsters promises an occasionally-gratifying, yet mostly-frustrating season with plenty-of-dashes.
5. Blue Jackets - Blow it up already. Trade Nash, ditch Foote, and hire a decent scouting department. If they are smart, they'll pack it in by early December and try to get Tavares.

Northwest
1. Flames - This team proved last year that they can finally score, and this year, will lead them to the division title. If Kipper or Iginla falters or get injured though, watch out. They could fall quickly.
2. Wild - Niklas Backstrom (yes, that one) was my great early pick in fantasy, when some a$hole stole him from me. But I'm not bitter. He'll contend for the Vezina this year, and with Gaborik healthy, they'll be able to steal games from the...
3. Canucks - Luongo, while certainly in the Vezina hunt yet again, is not enough. This is the toughest division in hockey, and trotting out 89-year-old Trevor Linden may warm the ol' cockles of the heart, but is worth precisely squat on the ice.
4. Avalanche - Smyth, great addition. Man, do I wish the Sharks got him. Starting goaltender with no playoff experience and 2.75 lifetime GAA? Backed up by the worst backup (and highest paid) in hockey? Not so much.
5. Oilers - Kevin Lowe is becoming the Matt Millen of hockey. I like to see Canadian teams do well, really I do, but they will need divine intervention this year to get 75 points.

Pacific
1. Sharks - but only if the Ducks don't get Niedermayer (motto: "Waaah! I want to play with my brother!") and Selanne back. I still worry about the D, but I think we'll see Michalek turn into an All-Star this year.
2. Ducks - With no Selanne, Neids, or Penner, they are missing 103 goals from last year. I think they are hoping they can create a currency market where they can convert fighting majors (or ill-conceived mustaches) into scoring opportunities.
3. Stars - Booorrrring. I think I've heard this tune before- good D, just enough scoring, great goaltending, then the whole thing falls apart in the playoffs. Just don't sing it to the tune of SexyBack.
4. Kings - One year away from overtaking the Stars, and making a run of it. Let's put it this way- Scott Thornton is still on the roster.
5. Coyotes - Holy criminy, the Yotes are bad. The worst team in hockey. If you are a season ticket holder for this team, my hat is off to you. It's a "My eyes! These goggles do nothing!" situation.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

As good a set of predictions as I've seen. And I'm holding you to them!
Great Simpsons reference. 'Yotes could also be "I think I wet the bed" bad.
...And you're welcome for Backstrom.