Western Conference Standings:
1. Vancouver – 100-115 pts
2. Chicago – 100-115 pts
3. LA – 90-100 pts
4. Detroit 100-110 pts
5. Phoenix – 85-95 pts
6 San Jose – 85-95 pts
7. Calgary – 85-92 pts
8. Nashville – 85-92 pts
9. Anaheim – 85-92 pts
10. Colorado – 85-92 pts
11. St. Louis – 85-92 pts
12. Columbus – 50-70 pts
13. Edmonton – 50-70 pts
14. Minnesota – 50-70 pts
15. Dallas – 50-60 pts
Notes on the above:
- Chicago is the better team, but Vancouver plays in the weakest division in the West.
- I have Anaheim rated slightly higher than Calgary, Nashville, Colorado and St. Louis. However, I couldn’t imagine four teams from the Southern Division making the playoffs.
- Could be significantly better than they’re ranked: LA (if they get goaltending); San Jose (if they get goaltending); Colorado (if they can avoid a sophomore slump); St. Louis (if they can get some offense)
- Beyond the unpredictable injury bug, who could be significantly worse than ranked: Edmonton (great youth but real questions defensively and in net); Chicago (if one of their core gets hurt, or Turco flops); Calgary (underachieving team simply added more underachievers to the mix this year).
Eastern Conference Standings
1. Boston – 100-115 pts
2. Philadelphia – 100-115 pts
3. Washington – 100-110 pts
4. Buffalo – 90-100 pts
5. Pittsburgh – 90-100 pts
6. New York Rangers – 90-100 pts
7. New Jersey – 85-95 pts
8. Ottawa – 80-90 pts
9. Tampa Bay – 80-90 pts
10. Toronto – 80-90 pts
11. Montreal – 80-90 pts
12. Atlanta – 75-85 pts
13. Florida – 75-85 pts
14. Carolina – 65-75 pts
15. New York Islanders – 50-70 pts
Notes on the above:
- Washington plays in the weakest division in the East, but the division itself is improved. This might be their last year as the automatic division winner.
- The Atlantic Division is by far the best division in the East. That’s why I have four of its teams making the playoffs.
- Could be significantly better than they’re ranked: New York Rangers (if their defense improves and they get more balanced scoring); Tampa Bay (if they get goaltending); New York Islanders (if their youth takes another step and they find some goaltending).
- Beyond the unpredictable injury bug, who could be significantly worse than ranked: Pittsburgh (lack offensive depth beyond Malkin, Crosby);Philadelphia (if they struggle in goal); Toronto (if they can’t score).
- My sleeper hunch I’ve ignored all pre-season but am still putting down into writing: Atlanta makes the playoffs. They’ll play boring, physical hockey. But it’ll get them in as the eighth seed, and if so, earns Craig
Ramsey the Adams trophy.
- My other sleeper hunch that is probably tainted by prejudice: This is a disaster of a season in Montreal.
Other fearless predictions for the upcoming season:
- Conference finals: Detroit over Vancouver, Boston over Philadelphia
- One, if not more, of the CSIs are cancelled.
- Stanley Cup Final: Boston over Detroit
- The “Hard Knocks” documentary about the Penguins and Capitals is “no-electricity-in-the-house-and-im-alone-without-candles-or-flashlights-and-my-cell-phone-is-dead-and-i-don’t-have-a-car-or-money-for-transit-and-my-friends-are-all-out-of-town” boring. Or sad. Or both.
- Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals and points, but Niklas Backstrom earns real MVP talk.
- Despite critical raves, The Social Network, by David Fincher, fails to earn $100 million at the box office.
- Jakub Voracek, John Tavares, Simon Gagne have point-per-game paces.
- It snows less than 10 days in Vancouver.
- Taylor Hall struggles, but Jordan Eberle is a Calder candidate.
- Quebec City gets federal funding for a new arena.
- We meet the “mother” on How I Met Your Mother, and it’s disappointing. (Editor’s note: I disagree. I think it will be legen – wait for it and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the next word is – dairy. – J.J.)
- Zdeno Chara wins the Norris. Tuuka Rask wins the Vezina. Jonathan Toews is the Hart Trophy winner.
- The Hereafter, by Clint Eastwood, is a total dud.
- Marc Crawford is the first coach fired, then he is hired by the CBC.
- Ron Wilson isn’t fired, and the Leafs enter the draft without a first-round pick. Again.
- Rick DiPietro plays more than 40 games.
- Carey Price and Ales Hemsky ask to be traded and/or are shopped by their teams.
- The Rangers will try to move Sean Avery. The Toronto Maple Leafs will move Tomas Kaberle.
- Marc Savard plays less than 20 regular season games. He plays every playoff game for the Bruins.
- Neither Sedin scores 100 points.
- Coldplay and U2 both release albums.
- Eastbound and Down is funnier than Modern Family.
- Tampa plays Philadelphia for the World Series.
- Christina Aguilera separates from her husband after her album and upcoming movie both bomb.
- Retirement rumours swirl around Martin Brodeur.
- Kanye West embarrasses himself at an awards show.
- The New York Yankees sign Carl Crawford to a deal worth approximately $20 million per season.
- The US repeats as World Junior Hockey Champions.