Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NHL Predictions, 2006-07

On the eve of opening night I offer you my picks for the upcoming NHL season. Keep in mind that I am absolutely terrible at prognostication, just like most pundits. Without further ado, here we go:

Eastern Conference:

Northeast Division:

1. Buffalo
2. Ottawa
3. Montréal
4. Toronto
5. Boston

I think it will be a battle to the death for second place in this division, with Montreal losing out on some sort of tie-breaker. Toronto will be just as awful as last year, but take solace Leafs fans: you could be the Bruins.

Atlantic Division:

1. New York Rangers
2. New Jersey Devils
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. New York Islanders

Divisional matchups will be of the utmost importance here. Somehow, I think the Penguins will own the Flyers head-to-head this year, and Sydney Crosby will be stellar. He won't win the Art Ross, mind you. In November, the Islanders will fire head coach Ted Nolan and replace him with Dave Allison.

Southeast Division:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Atlanta Thrashers
4. Washington Capitals
5. Florida Panthers

Tampa gets back on top after being humbled last year. Carolina will come down a few levels, and Florida will be just awful and in December, Ed Belfour will offer Jacques Martin "one billion dollars" for more playing time.


1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
3. New York Rangers
4. Ottawa Senators
5. Montréal Canadiens
6. Carolina Hurricanes
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Pittsburgh Penguins

Conference Quarter-final:

Buffalo over Pittsburgh
New Jersey over Tampa Bay
Rangers over Hurricanes
Ottawa over Montréal

Conference Semi-final:

Buffalo over New Jersey
Ottawa over Rangers

Conference Final:

Buffalo over Ottawa

Western Conference:

Central Division:

1. Detroit Red Wings

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

3. Nashville Predators

4. Chicago Blackhawks

5. St. Louis Blues

Detroit dominates the conference in the regular season with Hasek playing with a chip on his shoulder. Columbus catches plenty of teams sleeping this year thinking "same old Blue Jackets, time for a night off", enough so to make the playoffs.

Northwest Division:

1. Calgary Flames

2. Edmonton Oilers

3. Vancouver Canucks

4. Minnesota Wild

5. Colorado Avalanche

It's always stuck me that they've bunched all three Western Canadian teams into one division (much like in the East). For rivalry's sake, or to eliminate as many from the playoffs as possible? Hmmmm...

Pacific Division:

1. Anaheim Ducks

2. San Jose Sharks

3. Phoenix Coyotes

4. Dallas Stars

5. Los Angeles Kings

The Kings remain in the cellar. Gretzky squeezes every bit of talent out of his dogs and makes the playoffs, while Anaheim and San Jose are at each other's throats all season. In mid-season, Mrs. Pronger demands a trade because Mr. Pronger has impregnated yet another local. He promptly turns around and says: "We've run out of cities, sweetie."


1. Calgary Flames

2. Detroit Red Wings

3. Anaheim Ducks

4. Edmonton Oilers

5. San Jose Sharks

6. Phoenix Coyotes

7. Columbus Blue Jackets

8. Vancouver Canucks

Conference Quarter-final:

Calgary over Vancouver

Columbus over Detroit

Phoenix over Anaheim

San Jose over Edmonton

Conference Semi-Final:

Calgary over Columbus

San Jose over Phoenix

Conference Final:

San Jose over Calgary

Stanley Cup Final:

Buffalo over San Jose

Now head to Las Vegas and bet your mortgage on it.