So, it feels good. I've been debating for a good part of two years now to start a blog, and here I am, finally starting. Ah, it's a good day. So let me fill all you readers in on personal info. I will be covering the Montreal Canadiens. I live in Hamilton, Ontario and am a season ticket holder for the Hamilton Bulldogs. I love playing, watching, and doing anything involving hockey. Oh, and I constantly make Leafs jokes. That's all the info you guys need right? Anyways, I felt like starting off my blogging career with some predictions. Below, I'll post my predictions for the Eastern Conference for the 2011-2012 season. So lets begin!
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15th place - Ottawa Senators - sorry Sens nation, the rebuild has started, and this is gunna be a long year unless Craig Anderson stands on his head and Daniel Alfredsson stays healthy.
14th place - Florida Panthers - this team might be good in a few years, but right now it feels like they grabbed some players and threw them on the team. It'll take a while for them to mesh. And by no means is Josè Theodore a starting goalie. That was 9 years ago. I'm sure Jarome Iginla remembers.
13th place - New York Islanders - I'm sorry, but why is Garth Snow not getting a quality player to play alongside John Tavares? In my opinion, Tavares has a higher ceiling than Steven Stamkos. Yes, you heard me, STEVEN STAMKOS. Give him an Alex Semin and watch the magic.
12th place - Winnipeg Jets - the magic of a new team wear off in 30 games. Very strong start but a very dismal finish. However, dont count out breakout years from Ondrej Pavelec, Zach Bogosian, and Evander Kane. That could change things.
11th place - Carolina Hurricanes - One team with playoff hopes always falls off the mark pretty badly and this year for me, that team is the Carolina Hurricanes. Jeff Skinner must match his rookie season magic and then some to make up for the loss of Erik Cole. It will be a dissapointing season in Raleigh. Eric Staal and Cam Ward can only do so much.
10th place - Toronto Maple Leafs - Sorry Leafs fans, James Reimer will have a respectable year and the Leafs will have their yearly late season push, but once again will fall short. But the future looks brighter than ever, and Dion Phaneuf will finally meet the expectations of a $6 million dollar defenceman.
9th place - Philadelphia Flyers - The future is very bright Philly, but this will be a tough year. Pronger will have to be healthy and that's looking doubtful.
8th place - ..New York Rangers - Brad Richards will float along with 'made of glass Gaborik' and King Henrik Lundqvist will get injured smashing the high expectations of this rangers squad. They will barely scrape into the playoffs. Harsh? Maybe. But I think it'll be like the Devils last year. Speaking of the Devils...
7th place - New Jersey Devils - Bounce-back year from the Devils. 40 goals from Kovalchuk and Parise will lead a potent offence but poor defence will cost the Marty Brodeur and the Devils 2-3 spots in the standings.
6th place - Boston Bruins - I know, you're surprised. And I'm possibly biased. But I had them for 2nd in the Conference to be fair. But the reasoning behind my prediction is the dreaded Cup hangover. I think Tuukka Rask will take over from Tim Thomas again this year. But by playoff time, the hangover will be long gone, and dont be surprised by a trip to the Conference Finals.
5th place - Buffalo Sabres - This will be an interesting team to watch. They wont be boring anymore, that is for sure. I think Ville Leino is an amazing addition. 70 points will not be out of reach for him. And expect another monster campaign from Ryan Miller. He'll be a Vezina nominee, but there's another goalie who could steal the show...
4th place - Tampa Bay Lightning - Keep in mind that with point only, this would have been the Canadiens spot in the conference. Anyways, Tampa will have an almost identical year to their last and dont be surprised if Tampa meets Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Stamkos will also drop to 40 goals while Lecavalier will go up to 30.
*3rd place - Montreal Canadiens - Carey Price will be spectacular this year. Why? It's his contract year, and he's gunna want a big raise. But the biggest factor in the division win will be that everyone will be healthy. Mike Cammalleri will pot 35 and PK Subban can flirt with 20. The return of a healthy Andrei Markov will work wonders. But maybe I'm biased.
*2nd place - Washington Capitals - wait, what, 2nd? Yes, expect an improved season from Alex Ovechkin, but dont be surprised when Alex Semin is traded early. The mindset of the team will change again, and this team will be spectacular lead by Ovi, but there's two other superstars looking to rebound...
*1st place - Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will tear the league apart this year. Watch out for 100 points from both this year. They'll be out to prove they are the leagues superstars. Sid will hit Ovi's old mark of 65 goals. James Neal will mesh nicely will Sid and hit 30 goals. And this is my surprise prediction: Marc-Andre Fleury will win the Vezina. It's time he meets his potential.
So those are my predictions for the upcoming season, I will be back with my Western Conference predictions in the coming days. Feel free to post feedback or constructive criticism for me in the comments, or just share your opinion! I'd appreciate it, I wanna hear everyone's thoughts and predictions. Thanks, and Go Habs Go!
*- division winner
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