Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NHL Predictions Gone Awry

Well, it's officially All-Star weekend and the playoff picture is still as blurry and murky as it was before the season started. As you'll recall, before the season I made team by team predictions and looking back on them, it seems I'm around the .500 mark.

As a side note, these predictions played more of a role in my competitive fantasy hockey league. As a result, I took Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan thinking to myself "With the new scoring talent on that team, these two stand to benefit."

I don't care that Jagr has turned it on a little bit as of late, 46 points for my 1st round pick is unacceptable. That sort of mediocrity should be illegal, though I suppose being mediocre gets some people elected as president of the United States but that sort of talk doesn't belong in this blog.

Oh and Shanahan, awful. I've been trying to pawn him off on any of the 9 other owners since Dec. 1. I had an offer on the table from my friend Gopher for the once struggling Alex Tanguay, but he got greedy and tried to use Tanguay as leverage to land Sergei Zubov and Henrik Lundqvist from another owner. No, I'm not bitter just pointing out the obvious. I won't even go into detail about who else he was offering, but let's just say 4 attempts got vetoed down faster than the dorkiest kid you knew in school asking out the head cheerleader. (Not speaking from personal experience, just simply stating a fact and if you try to bring up that whole "Beauty and the Geek" show, you don't deserve to watch hockey anymore.)

Anyway, let's just take a quick peek at the predictions from before the season for the East. (Actual place in standings in parentheses)

#15 - New York Islanders (8)
#14 - Washington Capitals (10)
#13 - Boston Bruins (7)
#12 - Atlanta Thrashers (11)
#11 - Florida Panthers (12)
#10 - New Jersey Devils (5)
#9 - Montreal Canadiens (4)
#8 - Tampa Bay Lightning (15)
#7 - Philadelphia Flyers (2)
#6 - Buffalo Sabres (13)
#5 - Toronto Maple Leafs (14)
#4 - Pittsburgh Penguins (6)
#3 - Carolina Hurricanes (3)
#2 - Ottawa Senators (1)
#1 - New York Rangers (9)

First thing that jumps into my head is how pathetic the Rangers have been for all but 5 games this season. About a week ago it dawned on me that I was an absolute idiot for buying into this team. Didn't management do this same thing in the late 90's starting when the brought Wayne Gretzky in and failed to make the playoffs? Seems to me this happened for a few years in a row and yet here it was happening again and I was like an alzheimer's patient doing something they always hated, but never remember they hated it until they were doing it once again. For that prediction I am ashamed. They could still turn it around, but it's going to have to happen fast.

Next on the blown picks list, the lowly Leafs. I've tried to look at this and find out the main reason for why they've been terrible all season long and all I can come up with is that Paul Maurice has lost the team. From watching their games when they've actually had a lead going into the third period, it's hard not to notice the lack of effort in the final stanza. The team comes out afraid to play and looks to just sit on a lead for 20 minutes. If anyone one the Leafs somehow comes upon this post, take note: YOU'RE NOT THE DEVILS! CONTINUE TO DO WHAT GOT YOU THE LEAD IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

Sorry for all the caps there, but it needs to stand out. Would this train of thought work out well in any other aspect of life? I don't think so. This is how fights between friends over the hot girl at the bar happen. If you wouldn't do it in the bar, don't do it on the ice. I'm considering alerting the authorities about my buddy Greg who should be on suicide watch after for being a fan of this team.

For pleasant surprises let's look at the Islanders, Bruins and Canadians. With the amount of big names that left the Island last season, who would've thought that they would pull together and be right in the thick of the Atlantic Division race?

As for the Bruins, the emergency signing of goaltender Alex Auld may have saved their season to this point. With Manny Fernandez on the shelf for the rest of the season and with Tim Thomas missing time, Auld stepped in and did a commendable job. We also got a couple chances to see young Tuukka Rask who came to Boston from Toronto in a deal for Andrew Raycroft. Did anyone see the 30 save stonewalling he put on the Leafs in his first game? Recently fired Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. must have been kicking himself hard for letting that kid get away.

The Canadians have been solid for most of the first half. Alexei Kovalev just keeps plugging along and sniping corners with that patented wrist shot off the rush. Due to his strong play (21G, 23A) the Habs are sitting with 60 points and are starting to reel in the struggling Senators who jumped out to a huge lead in the conference.

As for the West, my picks were slightly better. Let's recap.

#15 - Phoenix Coyotes (11)
#14 - Edmonton Oilers (13)
#13 - Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
#12 - Chicago Blackhawks (14)
#11 - Nashville Predators (10)
#10 - Los Angeles Kings (15)
#9 - Minnesota Wild (3)
#8 - St. Louis Blues (12)
#7 - Dallas Stars (2)
#6 - Calgary Flames (6)
#5 - Colorado Avalanche (8)
#4 - Anaheim Ducks (4)- I got one right!
#3 - Vancouver Canucks (7)
#2 - Detroit Red Wings (1)
#1 - San Jose Sharks (5)

If you'll recall I said I was going out on a limb with the Blues and I'm sticking by it. There's still plenty of time for them to get right back in this thing.

One thing I didn't plan on was the Red Wings being as dominant as they are. Henrik Zetterberg (28G, 33A) was on a tear and helping my fantasy stud Pavel Datsyuk (17G, 41A) become the great player we knew he could be. I wouldn't quite call this a miracle like the one Joe Thornton performed with Jonathan Cheechoo two years ago, since Datsyuk has been a consistent scorer for the last three years.

(Side note: If you have Cheechoo on your fantasy team, I don't know what's preventing you from dumping him. He's not going to be a consistent 40 goal scorer, let alone hit the 50 goal mark again. If he ever evolved into a consistent 30 goal scorer I'd be shocked.)

The Wild have had me impressed for the last month or so. I didn't think they would have the success they are having right now, but they are quickly looking like a force no one would want to see in the playoffs.

(Another side note, for some reason I cannot bear to part with Brian Rolston and while talking to Gopher a few days ago, I vehemently stated that I was done with him. I even went as far to be one click from having a replacement off the free agent list and convinced myself to let him have one more week. In that week, he's played three games and has three goals. Who says players don't pay attention to their fantasy value? Certainly not I. Keep it up Rolston or you're gone. Yes, I'm hoping it has the same effect again.)

Looking ahead it would appear that the pre-season picks may still have a chance at panning out better than they are at the halfway point. Unlike some analysts who actually get paid to do this (hopefully me someday), I'm going to stick by every pick
from above except for the Leafs and Bolts.

The team that will be best served by this All-Star break is the Penguins. Granted they will not be getting Sidney Crosby, Gary Roberts, Marc-Andre Fleury, etc. back after the break, it will give the younger guys who have been called up from Wilkes-Barre a little more time to get used to playing at the NHL level. This is a team that if they can remain in the hunt until they get healthy, that no one will want to face come playoff time. As for Ty Conklin's resurgence, I've watched him play since his college days at UNH and I've never seen him play as well as he is right now. He is the biggest reason for the Pens turn-around and being one point out of first in the division. Bravo TC!

I know the Rangers won't get back to lead the East, but when the season is over we can all look back on this and laugh.

Keep checking back as I now will have some more time to update this more frequently. I am planning on getting a new post up at least once a week.

1 comment:

anthony bremond said...

Dear Mr,

I'm an intern with startup widget 1000 and I created a news widget for Florida Panthers News.
It's updated every hour with Florida Panthers headlines from several different sports websites like ESPN, FOX Yahoo,etc. (Take a look: http://www.widget1000.com/)

Can we add Florida Panthers blog to the widget,too? That means that every time you post to your blog the headline of the post will show up on the widget and link directly to your post.
Anyone who puts this widget on their start page or on their website will see your Florida Panthers posts too. It's a powerful and free way to publicize your site.

Finally, would you add your Florida Panthers News Widget to your site so that others can see it?
Everyone who grabs the widget will automatically link to you so it's great for your search engine rankings. Plus, it shows a lot of stories about Florida Panthers and since it's updated every hour it is fresh and will make your site even more appealing than it already is.

What do you think?

Go Florida Panthers

Anthony Bremond