Here are ten predictions for the 2009-10 season. I asked "Big Country" Shawn Lavigne of Hockey This Morning on XM 204, and here are his picks, along with mine:
1 - Aside from Wayne Gretzky, the first head coach to be fired this season:
Shawn Lavigne - Lindy Ruff
Me - Peter DeBoer
It's not that Deboer is necessarily doing anything wrong. He got the Panthers within a sniff of the playoffs last season. It's another case of a new GM in a town that needs change and needs to reach the playoffs to stay viable. If the Panthers struggle out of the gate, Deboer may be the fall guy.
2 - Total number of Maple Leaf and Islander forwards that will outscore Washington's Mike Green this season in points:
Shawn Lavigne - 9
Me - 0
Not sure Shawn 100% understood the question, because there's not way that's going to happen. Mike Green may approach 80 points this season, and there's not a prayer that any player on the Leafs or Islanders will threaten that mark.
3 - Who will play the most games this season - Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, or Tim Thomas?
Shawn Lavigne - Thomas
Me - Thomas
We agree on this one. Best case is Hossa plays about 60 games. Until he proves otherwise, Gaborik is no lock for 60. Then again, Thomas has never played that many games in a season either. However, Thomas has the best shot at being healthy and he's finally an undisputed #1, so I stick with Thomas.
4 - Will the Coyotes still be in Phoenix at the start of next season?
Shawn Lavigne - No
Me - No
This one is a coin flip, really. Just so we don't have to hear about it anymore, I'm hoping it happens, or it's put to bed forever.
5 - Who will be traded first - Marleau, Kovalchuk, Giguere, Hejduk, or none of the above
Shawn Lavigne - Marleau
Me - Giguere
Giggy is making way too much cash to be a backup goalie. There are enough contending teams out there who could use an upgrade in net, or at least an insurance policy down the stretch. Unless the Ducks become a serious threat to win the cup, there's no point in holding on to both goalies, and Hiller seems to be the guy in Anaheim now.
6 - Will the new-look Canadiens make the playoffs?
Shawn Lavigne - No
Me - No
Again, we agree. Too much change and most of it either more of the same, or worse. Aside from signing Cammalleri, none of the other moves Gainey has made make the least bit of sense for that franchise.
7 - Who will be the starting goalie for Team Canada in their first game at the Olympics?
Shawn Lavigne - Luongo
Me - Luongo
The only real argument against Luongo is that Brodeur is the man until he's knocked off, and that has yet to happen. Luongo is playing in his hometown and is as good as or better than Marty at this point. Injury could also be a factor for either guy, but my money is on Luongo.
8 - Which Philadelphia Flyer will be the first to get suspended by either the NHL or by the Flyers organization?
Shawn Lavigne - Riley Cote
Me - Ray Emery
What's the chances Emery's going to go a full 80 games without at least a minor run in with the authorities?
9 - Who will score more points in the NHL this season - Theo Fleury, Jason Allison, Mats Sundin, or Roberto Luongo?
Shawn Lavigne - Fleury
Me - Luongo
To be fair, I asked the question before Fleury was cut by the Flames. Nonetheless, I can't see any of those forwards playing a game this season, and Luongo's probably good for 2 or 3 assists in a season.
10 - Which event will happen first this season - Ovechkin hits 60 goals, Crosby hits 100 points, the Sharks reach 100 points, or Chris Chelios retires.
Shawn Lavigne - Chelios Retires
Me - Crosby to 100 Pts
As much as I'd like to see Chelios finally hang them up, my guess is he waits til the end of the year, just in case an opportunity arises. Ovechkin may hit 60, but it won't be until the very end of the season. The Sharks and Crosby will race to 100, but Crosby wins.
You can track these and other predictions now and through the season at http://landsharkhockey.ne...S/expert/Predictions.aspx