What I have to say might sound crazy to some. But I'm going to pick my top nine teams in each conference to make the play offs. Top nine you say? Well considering that each season one of the divisions always appears a bit weaker than the others and nearly or completely blocks out a team with a better record.
Detriot- Though I think the road for them will be tougher they are still managing to bring in more talent and the addition of Hossa is proof of this. Why I'd be concerned if I were Red Wings fan: Some of the stalwarts of the team having chaulked up yet another year, another long season. Chris Osgood, Chelios and Lindstrom have to be major concerns on the injury front as well as production front. Lindstrom has tremendous brain power on the ice and manages to play smarter not harder but surely as he gets older and takes more jarring hits he becomes susceptible to injury. Osgood has always been towards the solid end of goaltending but if teams can break up the Red Wings puck possesion, hit hard and generate shots Osgood becomes the team's weakness.
Phoenix-Solid goaltending, the right mix of veterans and upcoming talented youth combined with the hockey sense of the Great One. It's a no brainer.
Edmonton-As long as this team skates hard they are dangerous. The biggest question they have really is in net. After that there's a lot to like here.
Anaheim-A solid team. Great defensive depth. Great scoring depth and they play hard.
Dallas-Great goaltending, solid scoring depth and solid depth at the blue line. They also added Sean Avery. Sean can piss you off and then make it feel all the more worse when he nets a goal throwing you completely off your game. Wish the Blues would have made an offer here.
Calgary- Since both Minnesota and Colorado are in decline and the Flames play them alot I like there chances mathmatically. After that, not so much. There's aspects of this team you like but I don;t feel like there is enough scoring depth. I would also fear the consistency issue Kipper had last season. If that's a fluke then they make it. If not, it's tough to out score other teams on a consistent basis with this mix of players.
San Jose- The worst part of being in their division is that there are some good teams in it they have to face more often. Then again they get to face LA more often. They are solid. I think it was a blessing for them to lose Campbell but pick up Boyle. I think Boyle is better offensive threat and just slightly better in the defensive zone which isn't saying much.
Chicago-This if I were ranking teams would be my ninth pick. There are a lot of questions to be asked and a lot of weight on some kids shoulders and the constantly lame Havlat's to boot. With Columbus in the picture and the Blues they have a good shot.
Nashville-Since there are issues with the Russian jumper one wonders what the chemistry might be like in the locker room. Also didn't we see something similiar last season when Mason was supposed to be the starter after they traded the awesome Tommie V.? So now Ellis must break the cycle coming into a season as the number one for the first time in his life. Does it work? Can the young defensmen stay healthy all season?
Dark Horse: My Blues. After losing EJ many have been down on this club. I remember reading the same thing about the Cardinals in the spring. The Cardinals were picked to finish last in the NL by many pundits. And here is a team with a solid core of young players coming in not only with talent but character as well. There are a lot of hungry players on thsi team. There were also a lot of players last season who had down years. Perron is ready to break and I predict he'll at least be a point per game player(barring any injuries). The goaltending situation has been solidified. This team has more talent than it did a year ago meaning the goal scoring will be more spread out which was a major issue last season. A major issue that has not definitively changed is the scoring from the defensive side of the puck and that is a major issue. But they may surprise.
For so long the West has been the dominant conference. This changes this season.
Your new power houses are on the East coast now...sadly.
New York Rangers-one word depth-- at all positions.
Montreal Canadiens-This team loses some players but their farm is made of fertile soil and up pops another replacement.
Washington-The biggest concern in Capital city might not be the bailout but the goaltending situation(okay I only said that to be cute).
Pittsburgh Penguins-the kids are becoming men.
Tampa Bay--the big question here is goaltending again and how long it will take to find chemistry.
Philadelphia-Again goaltending is the concern here as well. Also the defense is another concern and where they will find the offense from it. It's time for Jame Van to come play in the NHL where he belongs.
Buffalo--Scoring on defense is the big question here. After that add Gerbe and man this team is back at it again piling up the goals.
Boston--If you can;t score against them then the handful of goals they get are enough for them to earn another W.
New Jersey--I don't like them but they always find a way in the end. The big thing is they get to play the Islanders a lot.
Dark Horse: Ottawa--They have lost a lot of talent. Goaltending has been erratic. But they still boast some great players. Enough that they can lead the charge and make the difference. The great ones must stay healthy or Ottawa will end up having a shot in the John Taveres swep stakes.
Last I recalled, and this is no dig into your article, but the Islanders went 6-1-1 against New Jersey last year. We dominate them every single year, no matter how poor our record is. Just like Last year when we went 5-2-1 against the Rangers, and the only team that gave us any hard time in our division was the Flyers. It's not about how good or bad a team is sometimes, its about who shows up to play.
Are you kidding me! I think your just looking for excuse to put detroit down. What in the hell does osgood have to do to get some respect! He is one of the best tenders in the nhl. As for the east, if you think boston will do better than ottawa your crazy! Wait boston does have that stellar goaltender Tomas! LOL.
Boston has more than that. I was not putting Osgood down or Detriot. But look Osgood is getting old and look what happened to Hasek. Lindstrom is the best defenseman to ever play the game but he's far from being a spring chicken.NYIsles those are some valid points. I wish I would have looked up the record. The Islanders are not to far from competing again. I was trying to hint at your other point as well I think I should have made it more explicit...about showing up to play.Also, now that I think about it over all the Western Conference is still stronger but a few Eastern teams are better than the best Western team--Anaheim.
very nicely done. i enjoyed the read. it was a fresh take on playoff selections and far from what most of the pundits are predicting. but i happen to agree with most of your selections! good job.
Lidstrom* - a legend and indeed the best defenseman to ever play the game... so spell it right :P Anaheim? 28th in scoring last year, Pronger and Niedermayer on the decline, still over the cap (and no room to sign Teemu even when Schneider's off the books)..... they won't make the playoffs this year...Maybe only Montreal can roll with the best in the West.... else the cup is decided in the WCF between Detroit/San Jose/Dallas/Calgary
I'll take that as a compliment if you're worried more about my spelling. What does the cap have to do with how deep a team is. The only reason I like Anaheim more than Detriot is because I like Anaheims goaltending depth. Let's talk about how Kronwall is the next best defenseman to be coming up in Detriot and how is prone to injury and on top of that the hard-hitting style he plays makes it less likely for him to escape injury. Rafalski already proved he's susceptible to injury as well. Osgood is also because of his age and position. I was one of the few people who said Osgood was solid back when you guys would make fun of anyone who said it. I liked having him on my team and was shocked at how easily he was let go of. But if a team manages to get decent scoring chances on him he can give up some weak goals that let's the team down. It's fact you and I both have seen it happen to our teams over the years and you should not deny it. All I'm suggesting here is what the weaknesses are and the possible struggles. If I look at just the good aspects and go with the plans, which you might as well throw away because plans inevitably get messed up I would say Detriot is an automatic repeat. And you know i wouldn't even like saying that because I'm a Blues fan. I just prefer Anaheim because of the organzational depth as well as some of their best players I think will be better than any on Detriot's with the exception of Lidstrom who again is the best defenseman to ever play the game thus far. To think you offered him and others for Brett Hull at one time.
Message PostedMillertime thanks man. I think you understand what I was going for here. It's an excercise. No one will know when until the games are played and trades are made, injuries happen and new stars are born as old ones fade out. There is so much that could happen in the season to change everything. I tried to note that. It was quickly done.Also T-Ruff I forgot to mention that this version of the Rangers I really like and they actually are better than the Wings on paper. They win on the goaltending side. And they are deep at every position.
please someone show this guy tapes of marty biron from the playoffs...
Philadelphia-Again goaltending is the concern here as well. Also the defense is another concern and where they will find the offense from it. It's time for Jame Van to come play in the NHL where he belongs.I guess all I have to really say is, Thank you. Everyone said the same thing and the last time I looked the Flyers made it too the Eastern Conference Finals.
Wow, I was going to jump on to defend Marty Biron, but I've been beaten to it. The questions on Defense are valid for Philly. But I think they are being positively answered by Eminger's and Vannanan's performences thus far in the Preseason. As far as Jersey getting to play the Isles, they also play the Flyers, Rangers and Penguins. It happens to be the roughest Division of Any Conference.
Toronto will make it I don't care what anyone says they will make it!
wow. i think you are the 1st person ( outside of tn) to include the preds in the playoffs. im also glad you listed the bolts as in, and not 8th. i believe they will be next years 2008 flyers
Nice blog. Like your picks. Flyers fans chill out. Biron will not get great marks for what he did last year unless he can do it again. Look at Ray emery, he took the senators to the stanlely cup finals and now he is playing in russia. Remember esche took the flyers to the same spot and he was cut from a russian team after last year. Cam ward won a stanely cup and has not gotten his team back to the playoffs and the same thing from roloson. As you see what i am saying until biron does it again the flyers goaltending will still be a question.
Looks like I'm a bit right about Detriot. Already one old foggey down.