Saturday, September 12, 2009

My NHL Predictions For 2009-2010

Time for a little fun. I have watched the NHL for a good 35 years now, and I believe I'm pretty good at seeing talent and trends and making predictions. In keeping with the vegan athlete theme, by default George Laraque's team, the Montreal Canadiens, get an automatic first place prediction in the Eastern Conference's Northeast Division! I'm predicting regular season division standings only. Oh, and that it will be a Chicago vs. Montreal final for the first time since 1972-73.

Eastern Conference
North East Division
1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Boston Bruins
3. Ottawa Senators
4. Buffalo Sabres
5. Toronto Maple Leafs

Notes: It's more than just Georges Laraque that will propel Montreal into the first place finish - New ownership and new exciting acquisitions in the off-season make the Habs the team to beat. Boston will be a strong second but just doesn't have what it takes. Ottawa will be a surprise 3rd place after finally off-loading bad attitude Dany Heatley. Buffalo is just Buffalo. Toronto will hopefully not win a single game along with the New York Rangers, the two teams that are single-handedly responsible for the greed and high prices in the game.

Atlantic Division
1. Philadelphia
2. Pittsburgh
3. New Jersey
4. New York Islanders
5. New York Rangers

Notes: Philadelphia is going to bully their way to the top just like they did in the 1970's. Pittsburgh's defence is just too questionable - Malkin and Crosby can score a lot of goals but not that many. In Jersey, will this be the year that Brodeur acts his age? All I have to say about the Islanders is poor, poor John Tavares (please trade him or send him back to the Knights for one more season of junior). Rangers will finish last just like the Leafs.

South East Division
1. Washington
2. Carolina
3. Tampa Bay
4. Florida
5. Atlanta

Notes: Ah, the indifferent division. Throw your names in a hat and draw to see who finishes first. Washington is a one man show. Carolina is a collection of no-name diggers and has-beens. Tampa is on the rise with Lacavalier and some good young talent. Florida - do they still have a team? Atlanta is just another place where hockey does not belong. Hell, hockey doesn't belong in the South East Division at all. Sorry - I'm Canadian - teams belong in Winnipeg, Quebec City, Halifax, Hamilton, London and Regina and not places where you go to the rink in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter.

Eastern Conference
Central Division
1. Chicago
2. Columbus
3. St. Louis
4. Detroit
5. Nashville

Notes: This is the year for Chicago to finally knock Detroit out of the #1 spot. Columbus is led by the London Knight connection of Rick Nash, Marc Methot and Steve Mason. St. Louis is just too fun to watch and they look like they're having too much fun playing the game - and why not - they're mostly kids barely out of diapers playing a game for a living and getting paid millions. It's finally time for Detroit's fountain of youth to run dry - sorry. Nashville... see my above notes about the South East Division.

Pacific Division
1. Ananheim
2. San Jose
3. Los Angeles
4. Dallas
5. Phoenix

Notes: I had San Jose pegged for #1 until today when news broke that Heatley was going there in exchange for Cheechoo. Anaheim now has the edge. It's such a waste for San Jose to finish at the top of the division anyway when they inevitably choke in the playoffs. Los Angeles will fool all the experts and actually have a decent season - the law of averages says so. Dallas - whatever... The Hamilton Coyotes will start their re-building process while still in Phoenix so they start the 2010-11 season with a bang.

North West Division
1. Calgary
2. Vancouver
3. Edmonton
4. Minnesota
5. Colorado

Notes: Calgary will fire on all cylinders this season - possibly with Theo Fleury in the lineup - as stick boy or something. I'm not against Sweden, but sorry Vancouver, too many Swedes! The Oil will be mired in mediocrity yet again but at least they know that everyone in Canada loves them like the little brother that is hopelessly lost in the world. Minnesota - whatever... Go Colorado! - Collect those big draft picks!

Of course, good or bad results, I will do a follow up post every 20 games or 1/4 season. I would love to hear anyone else's predictions or opinions on mine. If you're from the Southern United States - again, sorry...

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