Posts tagged predictions
Just to make it official:
More tomorrow - it’s been an exhausting two weeks of playoff hockey and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the results. Let’s just say I have never been prouder of the Hawks for proving the doubters wrong and fighting to the very end. Oh and that Vancouver has only reinforced the fact that they’re a bunch of classless, crybaby assbags. Have fun choking in the second round again dickheads!
First off, let me apologize for my absence the last couple of months. I have no real excuse besides the fact I’m lazy and it is much less enjoyable to write about your team when they’re kinda stinky. Most of my time has been focused as of late on my Flickr account - I still have well over 500 photos to go through from our trip to Vegas last month (not to mention IceHogs, Cubs & more Hawks pictures). Woo.
But now that we’re on the eve of THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (yes, I love this more than that Xmas holiday thingy), I’ll do my best to be more active for the duration of the playoffs. I will warn you that I take losses hard, so I will apologize in advance for any angsty, despondent or otherwise nonsensical posts I make here in the coming weeks.
Let’s start with a flashback, shall we?
Back in October when hopes were high, gas was under $3 and I had less grey hair, I made my predictions for the regular season. Well, I got some right at least:
Well, not too terrible I guess. All of my misses were only off by a spot.
I mucked this one up a bit didn’t I? I’ll blame my picks in the Central to straight homerism, but what in the hell was I thinking picking Colorado to finish second in the Northwest? JAY-SUS.
And lastly, the playoff seedings:
Well, hey I picked 7 of 8, but the fact I thought New Jersey would make it is comical now. I also said at the time, “The Rangers could squeak into the eight spot, but I won’t hold my breath.” Don’t worry, I’m not turning blue.
5. Red Wings
I picked both the Avs & Blues to make it? LOLLERCOASTER. In my defense though, I did say if the Blues didn’t make it, the Preds would instead. So, NYAAH.
Oh and here’s some gems from that prediction post:
”Why does the NHL Network still run those Tim Thomas commercials? He’s the American version of Cristobal Huet”
”The Capitals have even an easier time in their division than the Canucks, so expect them to again steamroll to the President’s Trophy”
”So who gets burned in effigy first? Carey Price or Brian Gionta?”
”I still love you Nemo but goalie with trampolines for pads + crappy defense = GAA over 3. “
”Are we sure Teemu Selanne hasn’t been mummified yet?”Wow. Just wow.
Anyway, let’s hope I don’t screw up my playoff predictions nearly as badly:
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks
Yes, the Canucks are the best team in the NHL. On paper. And the Hawks barely got in. So you say. But for all the talent in the world, if you’re a mental midget in the playoffs, you won’t be going far. And for the last two years the Hawks have dominated the Nucks between the ears. I think if the Hawks can take one of the first two, the weight of expectation and recent history is really going to wear Vancouver down. Then again, if the Hawks turn into the “Wait, is a game *really* sixty full minutes” Hawks we saw way too often this season, the Canucks probably take this in five. Still…
Prediction: Blackhawks in Seven
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings
If Anze Kopitar was playing, this would be a different series. But he’s out and the Kings don’t have anyone close to pickimg up his missing offense. Add little Nemo to the mix and I don’t think the crowned ones have much of a chance here. But if the Sharks do their little choking routine, I will laugh (Sorry, Antti).
Prediction: Sharks in Five
(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes
The Red Wings haven’t looked their best as of late, having succumbed to injury and a case of the Olds. But this is the Wings we’re talking about here and as much as I hate to admit it, they always bring it in the postseason. This went to seven last year, and if Bryz can steal a game or two, this could be interesting. I feel so dirty with this pick but…
Prediction: Red Wings in Six
(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators
This is the most intriguing Western match to me other than Hawks/Nucks. A high flying, hot team in the Ducks versus a defensive minded team that makes Admiral Ackbar proud. Really I could go either way here, but I think Corey & Teemu continue their torrid scoring pace as of late. But if Pekka Rinne can stop them, look out.
Prediction: Ducks in Seven
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers
As much as I would be overjoyed to see Mr. Ovechkin make another first round exit, I don’t think New York can keep up here. The only way I can see the Rangers pull this out is if King Henrik does backflips all series and the Caps’ net is a revolving door. Then again, ask Jose Theodore what it’s like to be named the starting goaltender for Washington in the playoffs.
Prediction: Capitals in Five
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres
Two months ago, most experts considered the Flyers a near shoo-in to repeat as conference champs. Now, not so much. The Flyers have been doody in the recent weeks - right around the time they traded for Kris Versteeg (Hmmm). Buffalo on the other hand went 8-1-1 to get in, and this was without Ryan Miller for some of those games. It’s going to be a dogfight to be sure, but consider this my upset special.
Prediction: Sabres in Seven
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens
I expect this series to be clean, sportsmanlike…BWAHAHAHA WHO AM I KIDDING? This is the series everyone wants to watch because it’s sure to be a total complete shitshow. Lost in all of this will be the fine goaltending that is likely to be displayed by Thomas and Price. But no matter who wins or loses, if you live in Quebec you might want to find a secure place to park your car.
Prediction: Bruins in Six
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning
Kudos to the Pens for playing so well without Sid & Geno for half the season. But now is when both these guys are going to be missed the most. Sure, Crosby may be rushed back, but what condition is he going to be in? You could say that the Pens have a goaltending edge here, but I’ve never been totally convinced that Flower is an elite goalie. If Stamkos and St. Louis pepper him with wicked shots, it’s game over.
Predictions: Lightning in Seven
Finally I’d like to end this tl;dr post with an advance apology to my co-workers. Sorry, I will be unproductive, sleepy (DAMN YOU WEST COAST GAMES) and moody for April, May and part of June. I’ll make it up to you in August when the Cubs are 15 games out of first.
Last night I rooted for the Detroit Red Wings.
No, this is not an alternate universe. I did not hit my head. And believe me, I made a retching sound when I admitted it.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Western Conference. Where you wake up one morning in ninth place and by the time your head hits the pillow that evening you’re back in the mix in sixth, and you didn’t even play a game. This happened to the Blackhawks just a few days ago.
With most teams having around 19 to 20 games left to play, the Western Conference is so jammed it looks like a truck jackknifed on the Kennedy during rush hour. At the start of the day, only 13 points separate 3rd place from 13th. There is a mere 5 points between 4th in the conference and 11th. THIS IS MADNESS (SPARTA!!!1!). So while the Blackhawks finally decided to wake up (five game winning streak thankyouverymuch), with the conference this close you can understand why tonight I am rooting for the Blues to beat the Flames, the Oilers to defeat the Preds, and that the Stars/Coyotes game just ends in regulation DAMMIT. Excuse me, I think I may vomit.
Let’s look at the Magical Mystery Tour, shall we:
With a conference this close, inevitably teams are going to finish with identical records somewhere along the way. I decided to take a closer look at the NHL’s tiebreaker system to see what will happen in a few weeks. There are currently three tiebreakers - looking at each one separately, you’ll see some teams have an advantage over others. For the sake of argument, I’m just going to assume Vancouver & Detroit are in (MY CREYS) and Colorado and Edmonton are out. That leaves eleven teams battling for six spots. Yeesh.
Tiebreaker #1: The greater number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout
From highest to lowest, here are the number of total wins the eleven teams have in the skills competition: Kings, (7), Calgary (7), Predators (6), Blackhawks (5), Stars (5), Sharks (4), Ducks (4), Blue Jackets (4), Coyotes (3), Blues (3), Wild (2). This was a new rule instituted this season with the idea that teams will play harder to win outright in regulation or overtime. I don’t know if that’s in fact happened, but with the conference this tight, this may decide whether or not a team is scheduling tee times in April. With just a few weeks left in the season, you figure at most a team will have maybe a couple of additional SO wins.
Advantage: Wild, Blues, Coyotes, Blue Jackets, Ducks, Sharks
Disadvantage: Kings, Calgary, Predators, Blackhawks, Stars
Tiebreaker #2: The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.
Huh what? Ok, basically this is the head-to-head rule. The team with the better record in games against one another wins. I don’t think the “odd” game rule will come into play here as most teams will either have played four or six games against one another. If there’s a three (or god forbid, four) way tie, they’ll take whomever had the highest number of points in games involving all of the teams that are tied. At this point, I’m just going to go here with the teams with the better records within their divisions & the conference. Yes, some teams have played more games in conference than others, but with few games left, if you’re barely at .500 at this point, things are not looking good. The first number is points in the WC, the second is points within the teams’ division.
Advantage: Blackhawks (62,24). Wild (61,27), Sharks (60,20), Coyotes (58,16), Predators (54,23)
Disadvantage: Blues (42,17), Stars (49,12), Blue Jackets (49,18), Ducks, (50,16), Kings (52,14). Flames (52,18)
Tiebreaker #3: The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.
Ah yes, the old goal differential. This is when having a Vezina candidate and/or an explosive offense can make or break your season. This is also an easy one to figure out who has a step above the other teams in the conference.
Advantage: Blackhawks (+29), Kings (+22), Sharks (+16), Predators (+10), Flames (+8)
Disadvantage: Blue Jackets (-11), Ducks (-10), Blues (-7), Stars (-4), Coyotes (-2), Wild (-1)
So using these stats along with my intuition (aka I’M GUESSNG), here’s who I think will make the playoffs come April:
As for the order of these teams - WHO KNOWS. I forgot my ESP at work.
BONUS TOEWS FACE!
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Oh I see the Blues lost 5-0 to Calgary. BITE ME ST LOUIS. BITE ME HARD ;P
Scoreboard watching is fun!
I would like to put a midseason review of the Hawks up here, but seeing as I have little motivation for anything of much substance, no go on that idea. Perhaps that might be something to tackle during All Star Weekend. Therefore, I’ll write something quick and easy - namely mocking myself.
So, everyone and their grandmother made preseason NHL predictions, as folks do in most sports. Seeing as we just passed the halfway point of the season, let’s take a look at where I predicted the teams would finish come April:
Now here’s reality:
WELL HEY, I HAVE #1 & #6 RIGHT! Seriously though, the Western Conference is such a clusterfuck right now it’s not even funny. Six points separate the fourth and twelfth seeds. Really, it’s all up for grabs right now. Vancouver looks to be in the driver’s seat at this point so it’s their conference to lose. While Detroit seems to have a pretty comfortable lead in the Central, with Howard, Holmstrom, Datsyuk, Osgood and Stuart all out at the moment, a hot streak by someone else in the division (GO HAWKS GO) could make a serious challenge for the #2 or #3 seed. The biggest surprises are the Stars and Ducks - especially the Ducks as they were terrible for the first dozen games or so. Nashville doesn’t surprise me as I figured it was either them or the Blues cracking the top eight. Disappointments would include the Kings, Sharks and your Chicago Blackhawks. There’s still a long way to go, and it’s still possible my eight preseason picks make it into the post-season.
Like last year, the East is a bit of a LOLLERCOASTER. If you picked Atlanta to crack the top eight and the Devils to be sweeping up the basement, please buy me a Lotto ticket. The Flyers seem to have picked up where they left off in their surprise run in last year’s playoffs. With the goalie situation in Tampa solidified, I see no reason why they can’t take the Southeast. Pittsburgh and Washington go as their stars go - if Ovechkin continues to well, SUCK, and Crosby still sees birdies circling his head, it’s going to be tough for them to take their divisions. As for my predictions, you can cross off the Devils, not even Jesus himself can save that disaster. If Ryan Miller can get hot, the Sabres might be able to sneak in. I’d keep an eye on Carolina though - Atlanta’s been fading a bit, so they may be able to grab a 7 or 8 seed come April.
This may be my last post of any substance for a couple of weeks. Not that I’ve been posting much as of late anyway. My dad is having major surgery next week and I have a big government audit at work the following week, so if I’m still sane by February and haven’t bitten anyone, I’ll consider that an accomplishment. If things goes well, hopefully I’ll be able to get back on a somewhat regular posting schedule by the All Star Game *knocks on wood*
Oh and by the way, I haven’t updated my links on the left side of this page in well like, ever. So if I know you from the Twitterverse or elsewhere, or you just have a cool blog, drop me a line and I’ll add you on here!
Well, it’s that time folks. A summer of handwringing as I watch the Cubs and gaze longingly at the calendar has come to an end. My liver is prepped for many a night of shots every time Turco passes to the wrong player. The Stanley Cup’s been engraved (twice for Versteeg), and soon four lovely banners will be hanging from the rafters at the United Center. IT’S HOCKEY TIME!
As many a blogger has done this week, I have come up with my predictions for the 2010-11 NHL season. I didn’t pore over the stat sheets from last year and meticulously scrutinize every trade, free agent signing and cap clearing player move (*koffHuetkoff*) in the offseason. In fact, I predict no less than a dozen times before November I’ll be watching a game and exclaim, “Wait, I thought he was on [insert team name here]!” But I didn’t throw at a dart board to guess either - all the dart boards were taken and are in Colin Campbell’s office. Here they are for posterity - I’m sure we’ll all have a good laugh when we look at them again next April.
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- SIDNEY CROSBY! SIDNEY CROSBY! SIDNEYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!1!
- Betcha they wish they would have taken a closer look at getting Niemi. According to my FHL, Jocelyn Thibault is a free agent.
- And you thought the Blackhawks had cap issues. At this rate they’ll be getting the beer vendors to play on the fourth line.
- Over/under on the number of games Sean Avery gets suspended this year? I’ll take the over on three.
- I hear they put those little pine tree air fresheners all over the Nassau Coliseum to try to get that decrepit arena smell dissipated in the offseason.
- Boston Bruins
- Why does the NHL Network still run those Tim Thomas commercials? He’s the American version of Cristobal Huet.
- I’ll admit I’ve fallen under “American Hero” Ryan Miller’s squishy-lopsided face’s spell. He’s going to have to carry this team (again).
- So who gets burned in effigy first? Carey Price or Brian Gionta?
- I just checked the goaltenders on their roster. Eesh.
- I predict Kris Versteeg & Phil Kessel will combine for 140 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the team will only score 139.
- Washington Capitals
- I hope Ovechkin licks a flag pole before the Winter Classic and Mike Green has to rip it off ala A Christmas Story.
- I miss Dan Ellis and his problems on Twitter.
- They put Dustin Byfuglien back on D. I didn’t know a bunch of blind hyenas are the management of the Thrash.
- Well hey, at least they get the All Star Game this year.
- Dale Tallon can look at his shiny new Stanley Cup ring in the luxury suites as he tries to ignore the Panthers on the ice below.
- Chicago Blackhawks
- It’ll be a rough start, but I think we’ll come out on top of the division in the end. What, did you really think I would pick the *Red Wings*?
- The Red Wings will have an extended losing streak when it’s discovered an Old Country Buffet has opened next to the Joe and half the team skips games for the early bird special.
- A great goalie and a bunch of shitbags > a great goalie and forwards that can’t score.
- See above.
- I still hate your fucking cannon.
- LA Kings
- As long as they don’t work Jonathan Quick until he turns into silly putty, I think the Kings take the Pacific crown (I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE).
- I still love you Nemo but goalie with trampolines for pads + crappy defense = GAA over 3.
- Toews Face > Doan Face
- Are we sure Teemu Selanne hasn’t been mummified yet?
- Poor Adam Burish.
- Vancouver Canucks
- So who’s planning the Northwest Division Champs parade route?
- Were Craig Anderson & Darren Pang separated at birth?
- Olli Jokinen? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
- Still think signing with Minny was a good idea Marty?
- I just realized all my comments for this division are questions. Do I really need to say anything about how terrible the Oilers will be?
- Red Wings
I won’t make any playoffs predictions, as that’s still too far away and I’m sure I’ll be way off anyway. I will predict your 2011 Stanley Cups Finals - Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins. That would be EPIC. You can guess who I’d pick to win ;)
We now stand on the precipice of the defense of the Stanley Cup - the offseason sure does fly by when you play into June the season prior. The hangover’s barely worn off. But the start of training camp a few weeks ago signaled the start of what’s sure to be an interesting and entertaining season in the NHL.
This year’s Blackhawks training camp was one of the most watched in the league. With the loss of basically two entire forward lines and both goaltenders due to the capocalypse, there were a lot of playing spots up for grabs. I suspect we probably won’t have a good idea of who’s filling in the departed’s shoes until the All Star break, so expect the Hawks’ iPass account to be ringing up the tolls with the number of guys doing the I-90 shuffle. In any case, here’s a brief breakdown of training camp and the preseason.
Kyle Beach - Beach was probably the most hyped prospect this offseason. With the loss of Dustin Byfuglien, many thought Beach would fill that role, albeit with a scoring touch Buff never had. Unfortunately, the tone was set when Beach foolishly pummeled Mathis Olimb to a months long shoulder injury during the prospects camp in July. Kyle has the talent to succeed in the NHL - he just lacks maturity and common sense. Hopefully he gets his ass kicked in the AHL a few times and will be ready for another look in the new year.
Igor Makarov - With 3G & 3A in training camp and a much talked about showing at the Toronto Rookie Tournament, all eyes were on Igor (EYE-gor) in the preseason to see how he’d perform at the NHL level. The Answer: not all that great. Makarov looked a little lost & never seemed to click with any of his teammates on the lines he was placed. He played two seasons in the KHL, so I think some time in scenic Rockford should better acclimate him to the North American game.
Jeremy Morin - I was just about to include Morin in my list of preseason standouts, when word came down that he’d been given an iPass and sent to Rockford. He still had a great preseason - 1G & 3A in the fake games and 2G & 2A in camp. He reminds me of another Jeremy that also wore #27 - quick, shifty and has a nose for the net. Honestly his age (he’s a baby at 19) and lack of pro experience is what got him sent down to the Hogs. I would expect him up for a cup of coffee sooner than later though.
Fernando Pisani - Fernando (“Don’t call my name, don’t call my name”) really impressed me. I honestly only knew of him due to his UC commercials and the inevitable shit jokes that followed. As someone in my family suffers from UC, I didn’t find those jokes amusing. In any case, Pisani had 1G & 3A in 5 preseason games and proved to be very valuable on the PK. The question, of course, is his health. If we can get 60 quality games from Pisani, I will be pleased.
Tomas Kopecky - Perhaps it’s the fact he’s been paired up with Toews & Hossa in the preseason. Or maybe he realizes with the turnover on the team, this is an opportunity for him to shine this season. Whatever the case, TomoKop had 2G & 2A in five preseason games, and in the two games I witnessed, could have easily potted a couple additional goals if he would have hit the target. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kopecky tops 30 points easily this season.
Nick Leddy - Let’s be honest. If Soupy doesn’t get hurt last Friday, in all likelihood Leddy would have been sent off to juniors. But shit happens, and now Nick has the opportunity of a lifetime. I didn’t notice him too much in the two games I saw in person, and I guess that’s not a bad thing. The coaching staff must be high on him, as they easily could have brought up Connelly or Vishnevskiy instead. We’ll see if Leddy can stick around for more than nine games or if he’ll be shipped off before then. Fun Fact: I sat next to Leddy’s family at the prospect camp in July. His nephew was wearing a Leddy Gophers jersey.
Onto the fun stuff now. With cuts having been made and Cullimore and Potulny put on waivers, here is how the lines matched up today in practice:
Tomas Kopecky - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Fernando Pisani - Patrick Sharp - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Troy Brouwer
Viktor Stalberg - Jake Dowell - Jack Skille
As I said before, the Toews & the Slovaks line seemed to perform well in preseason. The line’s success will live and die by how well Kopecky can handle top line minutes. Pisani moving up to the second line is a bit of a surprise, but his defensive skills should open up Kane and Sharpie to take more aggressive shots. The Triple B line looks to punish opponents. It looks like the the fourth line is more made up of guys who didn’t really fit elsewhere, so we’ll have to wait and see how they do. Skille has his chance to disprove he was a waste of a first round pick, Stalberg could make us forget Vertseeg (heh), and Dowell, is well, a guy. Of course we all know that Coach Q will change these lines early and often. I predict by 8:43 of the second vs. Colorado. If he does, may I request the Brouwer - Toews - Kane line? That was my favorite line last year. I’m a little surprised they don’t have an extra forward with the team right now, but that may change by Thursday.
As for the defense:
Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Leddy
Hendry - Scott
Nothing needs to be said about Dunc/Seabs as they are one of, if not the best pairings in the league. Hendry - Scott should be a bit of an adventure, but what third D pairing isn’t? I would suspect Boynton will be an interchangeable part of that third pair (once he’s done with his suspension for being a bag of dicks) depending on the level of physicality the team may need. Or if someone needs Scott to reach over the glass and purchase a beer from a vendor during the game as he wouldn’t need to stand on the bench to do so. The question mark is going to be Leddy & Toftbo. Niklas probably could be in a top D pairing on many other teams at the moment. But will he be impeded by trying to cover for Leddy? Time well tell, but one must remember Hjalmarsson, Keith & Seabrook weren’t too much older than Nick when they all got their starts. Besides, Campbell will be back soon enough to avoid a complete defensive disaster of a season.
And the goaltending:
I can’t recall a Stanley Cup Champion losing *both* of the goaltenders the following season, but it is what it is. Turco brings a veteran presence in addition to the best puck handling skillz of any goaltender in the NHL. Unfortunately he tends to be too aggressive with the puck at times as we saw Sunday when he let in two due to gaffes with the puck. Hopefully he remembers he is not in Dallas and that he actually has a defense in front of him this year - let them make the bulk of the plays. As for Crawford, he finally has his shot to get 20-30 starts in the NHL. For all intensive purposes, this is his tryout for the #1 job next year. I’ve never been too high on him, but then again I shrugged when Niemi was named the backup last year. I’m keeping an open mind and hopefully he will impress.
I think due to Soupy’s injury and the fact that half the team is new, the first six weeks or so of the season may be a bit rough. I’m hoping that they will stay at .500 for the months of October and November, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they dipped a bit below. Perhaps that will mean I can get tickets to games not too much above face (not holding my breath). I do think though that the Hawks will pick it up around the holidays and finish at a good clip the rest of the way. My prediction? The Hawks will finish with 104 points. You’ll have to wait for my entire NHL predictions tomorrow!