Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 - 2011 NHL Predictions

The 2010-'11 season begins tomorrow. Woooo! Seems like the Hawks hoisted the Cup forever ago.  We want to kick off the new season with our own set of predictions by conference.


East

 1. Capitals - Washington brings same offense. They win a lot of fun and gun contests, but not by the margin they did last season.

 2. Penguins - Pens got better on defense and may have solved their wing issues by moving Malkin there and adding even more grit with Asham and maybe a big surprise in Comrie.

 3. Sabres - Essentially the same team from last season.  Not much better, but not any worse either.

 4. Flyers - Flyers will compete for a top spot in one of the best divisions in hockey.

 5. Bruins - Boston is already dealing with injury issues and the season hasn't even begun.  Otherwise we would have liked them to take the division.

 6. Devils - Jersey invested too much in Kovalchuk and Arnott, but will still have scoring issues. Volchenkov will give them a Scott Stevens-type impact on the blueline, yet they will take a step backward in the division and conference too.

 7. Rangers - The Blueshirts were eliminated by the Eastern Champion Flyers on the last day of the regular season in a shootout.  They were that close.  They won't miss out this year.

 8. Thrashers - Chicago South with make it to the post-season for only the second time in franchise history, but will have even a tougher time gaining the franchise's first playoff win in round One.

 9. Senators - Ottawa isn't getting any younger, and certainly not any better.  They will miss out which will cause a major stir in the nation's capital.

10. Canadiens - What Montreal fans already know: Carey Price is not as good as Halak.  What they don't know yet: No Halak means no post-season.

11. Maple Leafs - The Leafs will be improved from last season's debacle, but not enough to get the team back into the playoffs... next year!

12. Lightning - Yzerman won't get them back to Cup contention overnight.  However, he may make us regret picking Tampa to finish this low in the standings.

13. Islanders - Big injuries to Streit and Okposo will cost the Isles any chance to improve on last years' finish.

14. Hurricanes - The Canes went with youth.  They will be tough to play against, but won't win much.

15. Panthers - Florida will flat out suck from the start despite Vokoun's acrobatics each night.


West

 1. Red Wings - Jimmy Howard will be even better with a season under his belt.  The Wings have an embarrassment of riches at nearly every position.  Only catastrophic injury issues keep them from the top spot.

 2. Canucks - Vancouver added to their strength on the blueline and got rid of some dead weight up front.  They will be in command all year long.

 3. Sharks - San Jose will find out quickly how much Evgeni Nabokov was worth to them.  Their tandem in net will be inconsistent, but they have too much forward firepower to fall far.

 4. Kings - The Kings will be right with the leaders all season, but may just wait in the weeds until playoff time to do their real damage.

 5. Blackhawks - The Hawks kept their core intact, but the won the Cup last season because of the peripheral pieces they just sold off during the summer.

 6. Coyotes - Phoenix might be even better than they were the season prior, but without the regular season fanfare.  The guys they added in the summer were playoff players.

 7. Blues - The Blues added the piece they needed to get them over the hump.  They got very good goaltending last year, but Halak gives them a miracle worker in the pipes.  St. Louis is back in.

 8. Flames - Calgary added some retro-fits, nothing more, really.  But they get back in to the post-season because the teams in front of them last season will regress a bit.

 9. Predators - Nashville is always under estimated, and they most likely will be our regret pick in the West.  Where will they get the goals from?

10. Avalanche - The Avs surprised a lot of people last season, even though they faded down the stretch.  Their rookies from '09-'10 hit the sophomore slump, and so goes the team.

11. Ducks - The Ducks just couldn't be as bad as they were for much of last season, could they?  We just don't see any improvement from them this year.

12. Wild - Scoring will still be an issue in Minnesota.  Bad news for a team that wants to play an up-tempo Pittsburgh style game.  They are the Penguins without Crosby and Malkin... it doesn't add up.

13. Oilers - Edmonton will be much improved thanks to their super rookie trio of Hall, Eberle and MPS.  They all will battle for the Calder and the rookie scoring crown.

14. Stars - Dallas is a mess financially and it will probably translate into getting worse on-ice, before it can get better.

15. Blue Jackets - Columbus needed some fresh faces to improve.  They didn't get any.  How many ping pong balls will they get?


Trophies

President's: Detroit Red Wings

Art Ross: Sidney Crosby

Rocket Richard: Alex Ovechkin


Playoffs

ECF: Penguins over Capitals

WCF: Canucks over Kings

SCF: Penguins over Canucks

There ya go.  Have at it!

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