With the 2006-07 season all of three nights old, I thought it high time to shove my nose out into the corner boards and bring up the predictions I made weeks ago at the urging of a few overzealous bloggers. As every team has now played a game or two, and I haven't looked at my predictions since posting them (I will not update or change them, as some people did!), we'll take another look at them to see if I want to swallow my words any where yet.
For a refernce point, I will tie in the offseason players transactions blog I posted round about the same time. Note that it has not been updated since a month ago, as very little roster changes have been made since then.
Below is quick recap of how I saw each division ending up. Teams in brackets are missing the playoffs. To link to the details why I've made these choices, click here.
Northeast - Mon, Buf, Ott, (Tor, Bos)
Atlantic - NJ, NYR, Phi, (Pit, NYI)
Southeast - Car, TB, (Atl, Was, Flo)
Central - Det, (Nas, St.L, Chi, Clb)
Pacific - SJ, Ana, LA, Pho, (Dal)
Northwest - Cal, Edm, Min, (Van, Col)
Rankings by conference went like this. The added italics are how I feel about certain predictions at the moment.
Carolina - May be more Cup hangover than I first thought!
Montreal - I'm not buckling on this one, not yet anyway!
New Jersey - I'm impressed enough by Lamouriello's moves to beleive they are again a contender.
Buffalo - Can you admire and hate a team all at once?
Ottawa - A Jekyl and Hyde year all the way! Major weakness is behind the bench.
New York Rangers - If they put in a better month of March, they may get scary!
Tampa Bay - Jury is out on this pick. Depth is in question.
Philadelphia - I might have rated them too high. They've gotten slow and it will be up to the kids, Forsbergs health and answering the eternal net question.
Toronto - Will be a tough opponant some nights, but tired and thin on too many others.
Boston - Much improved but not enough. Core is strong but D is thin.
Atlanta - Four number three centers and six annonymous defenseman.
Pittsburgh - Will be a surprise due to Crosby's growth. A year away from the post season still.
New York Islanders - Should have a noose for a logo!
Washington - A competitive team defensively with only one line that can score.
Florida - Maybe not this low on second thought, but still not playoff bound. I'll re-evaluate at the 20 game mark!
San Jose - Still my pick for the Cup!
Calgary - If Tanguay can adequately center Iginla, the sky is the limit.
Detroit - 1st place due to playing in the weakest division still. No illusions, but still solid lineup.
Anaheim - Will battle it out with SJ right down to mid May.
Edmonton - The D took a hit, but they remain young and fast.
Phoenix - Unrecognizable from last year. A dozen positive changes.
Minnesota - Vastly improved and well coached. Additions of Demitra and Johnsson makes lineup come to life.
Los Angeles - Just a hunch here - I could be way off! Lots of freshness and youth combined with a coach who hates to lose.
Dallas - A mystery! Dubious additions detrimental to team chemistry. Could sink or swim.
Vancouver - All rides on Luongo. A strong start will change everything.
Colorado - Theodore and rookies hold the cards.
Nashville - Lost half of lineup over the summer and D is harmless.
St.Louis - Rebuilding with seniors makes for nice window dressing.
Chicago - Has promise and may be a big surprise, but maybe we've seen this all before.
Columbus - Could go all the way to eighth or drop like an anvil. Some good additions, but always in turmoil.
Here are my predictions for the top 10 scorers and where I see the individual awards going.
TOP 10 Scorers
2 - Jagr
3 - Crosby*
4 - Ovechkin
5 - Cheechoo
6 - Marleau
7 - Iginla*
8 - Richards
9 - Alfredsson
10 - Spezza
AWARDS ( 1-2-3- finish)
Hart Trophy - Thornton/Huet*/Neidermayer
Art Ross - Thornton/ Jagr/ Crosby
Calder - Malkin/ Wolski/O'Sullivan*
Norris - Phaneuf*Neidermayer/ Pronger
Vezina - Brodeur/ Huet*/ Kiprusoff
Byng - Kariya/Sakic/ Whofuckincares
Selke - Iginla*/Richards/Madden
Smythe - Thornton*/ Cheechoo*/Marleau*
Jennings - Kiprusoff/Brodeur/ Huet*
Adams - Laviolette/ Carbonneau*/Wilson
The asterisks are my "out on a limb/has he f*ch*ng lost it" picks!
Just being a total shitster here, but I must take a swipe at Zandstrom at WFS for updating his predictions. In the course of five weeks, he's been all over the place. Check it out. I predict he'll be dead on by the 81st game!
The changes made are in brackets. Notice how the Habs and Devils have switched spots! Can't tell if he liked Ribeiro or Lamouriello more! He's also backing off some on his bold Florida pick. Don't worry, after his Panthers kicked the Bruins butts, he'll have them winning their division for a week. But where does that leave the Teddy Bears, Zan? At least he hasn't he hasn't bailed and upgraded the Canucks yet. It's okay man, I'm expecting any day now! Giver!
NY Rangers (Fla)
New Jersey (MTL)
NY Islanders (Atl)
Tapeleg at JAHL has been bullied into making some Western Conference predictions. What happened to the East where all the good hockey is played? Should we wait?
Finally, the Hab hating Raking Leaves site did their thing on the eve of the season. Check out their predictions here. If me and Zan were smarter (and less bored in mid summer) we'd have waited it out longer. Credit to Ninja for sticking with his original picks - as wrong as they will be!
All told, we can't do worse than Sports Illustrated or THN!