Archive for the ‘Predictions’ Category

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Minnesota (4) vs. Colorado (1)

Prediction: Colorado in 6

Why: My biggest question mark with the Wild is in net. They’re heading into the post-season with a plan to lean on Ilya Bryzgalov, who’s been very good for them since they acquired him from Edmonton. Unfortunately, Bryzgalov is a career .913 goaltender (just below average for a starter), and that’s thanks in no small part to three seasons in Phoenix behind a tight defensive system that saw him post a .921, a .920 and another .921. Since then he’s played 101 games and has been borderline awful on the whole, which I tend to think is probably the goalie he actually is. His .908 save percentage in the post-season (38 games) isn’t all that stellar either.

The Colorado Avalanche are the NHL’s 4th highest-scoring team, scoring an average of three goals a game (okay, 2.99, whatever), which doesn’t bode all that well if your team isn’t super-comfortable with who’s between the pipes.

I do believe that the Avs are a gettable team. Certainly their abysmal possession numbers are concerning, and I’m not a huge fan of their d-corps (quite the opposite actually), but if Varlamov can give them the saves they need, I think they’ve got the grit and talent up front to get through the Wild in the first round. I particularly like that their core is so young. When that puck drops Thursday in Colorado, the Wild are going to need to weather what I think is going to be a pretty overwhelming initial storm.

Chicago (3) vs. St. Louis (2)

Prediction: Chicago in 6

Why: The St. Louis Blues are going to be brutal to play in playoffs. They have one of the NHL’s finest d-corps, legitimately good-to-great goaltending, and enough talent up front to make them tough to deal with.

But, they just happened to draw the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues “collapse” down the stretch really hurt their odds of winning the Cup.

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Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs

With the NHL season heading down the homestretch, fans of bad (and mediocre) teams that aren’t in terrible shape (like myself and the Islanders) are starting to wonder just how likely it is that they squeeze into playoffs. Well, The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle did the work for us today, because he is excellent and worthy of much praise.

From Mirtle himself:

In the East, it currently looks like the cut-off will be about 52 points, which is very low if you project it out over a full 82-game season (about 89 points).

In the West, it’s slightly higher at about 53 points, which is closer to about 91 over a full season.

Okay. So using those projections, how well does your team need to fare down the stretch?

Penguins and Blackhawks fans are laughing. Panthers fans are crying…yet not entirely hopeless. See for yourself.  Read the rest of this entry »

Today was part one of our “Questions” series, in which host John Noon asks some of the pressing questions about the upcoming NHL season, and the three of us give our (oft-differing) opinions.

We touched on:

* Who benefits from a shortened season

* Players staying in Russia

* Landeskog as a captain

* Kesler, Quick and Tortorella

* Fan protests of the lockout

* And much more

You can listen to it here:

 

Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here. Like us on Facebook, assholes!

Next week some time I’ll be doing my predictions for the Eastern and Western Conference final standings, and undoubtedly nailing 100% of my predictions as I usually do. Like last year, when I had Ottawa finishing last in the East, and the Islanders finishing ahead of the Rangers and Devils. (The picks weren’t all that bad, though those two were admittedly awful. I had Florida in playoffs at least! Check ‘em out if you like: East, 2012. West, 2012. )

Anyway, it’s not time for that yet. What it is time for, is some “prop”-style prognostication. Here are a handful of things I see happening this year, and why.

Tyler Seguin challenges Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard

In the early days of Tyler Seguin in the NHL, you could see the potential. He wasn’t quite strong enough, wasn’t quite fast enough, and didn’t quite shoot it hard enough…but it was pretty clearly there. Then we saw him explode in a playoff game with speed we hadn’t seen before. We saw him start scoring on the strength of his shot. But mostly, we saw that he was going to be a guy who met his (high) expectations.

Last year, during only his sophomore season, he led the bruins in points, coming a single frustrating goal of cracking Plateau 30, and was only a few points shy of 70. This season, his third one, it seemed he was poised for a holy-shit-lookout type year.

But as you know, the whole lockout thing happened. Boo. So he took his talents to Switzerland to stay in shape, and looked absolutely terrifying, even when stacked up against his fellow NHLers that made the trip to play in the National League A.

At one point after the 20-game mark he was averaging a goal a game, eventually leaving the league after 29 games having scored 25 goals. It’s his time, and the confidence gained from pouring them in over in Switzerland will only do him good. Read the rest of this entry »

If the NHL and NHLPA come to terms on a new CBA agreement sometime in the next week or so (which they will or hockey fans will go crazy and storm the figurative castle with pitchforks after this tease of a week), we’re looking at an NHL season between 50 and 65 games. Obviously it’s not ideal, but hey, it’s better than the amount they played during the ’04-’05 “season.”

Limiting the number of games increases the odds of “small sample size” phenomenons. We occasionally see guys get hot for a stretch of 12 games (or whatever) during your average season, but when we do, that stretch usually doesn’t make up nearly a quarter of the season. We could see guys with big point-per-game numbers, some goalies with outrageous save percentages and GAAs, and some teams with surprising records in both directions. Not to mention, one major injury could really do some damage.

Hell, if last season were only 62 games long (arbitrary number, but you get the point), the Kings miss playoffs AND THE COURSE OF HISTORY IS CHANGED.

So who’s best suited for a potentially short campaign? Who would be crippled by being denied a late push? Here are definitive answers to those questions, because in no way is this guesswork that could possibly go wrong…right? Read the rest of this entry »

It’s here, it’s here! It’s Stanley Cup Final morning!

At this point most people are aware that a monkey is only slightly less adept (though occasionally more) and predicting the outcome of playoff hockey series than “experts,” but whatever, we’re gonna swing at another pitch here and hope to hit one out of the park.

We have had some shining moments from the crew though this playoff season – I managed a positive record, Cam Charron called the Kings success (boldly predicting them to beat his President’s Trophy winning team, the Canucks, in six games), and Ms. Conduct predicted “mutual destruction” in the Flyers/Penguins series, which was the most bang-on call of any expert out there.

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As is the custom this time of year, our crew like many others decided to get our predictions in digital print so when they come true we can point to them to highlight our genius, and when they don’t, we can delete them. It’s a fail-safe process.

We’ve made our best guesses on all the round one series’ (with the amount of games needed in brackets) – we’ll post our Conference champion and Stanley Cup winner predictions shortly as well.

Round one, Eastern Conference:

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