Archive for the ‘Prognosticating’ Category

the-future-is-next-exit

In 1967, a man by the name of George Gross was tasked with writing about what hockey would look like in the year 2000. Among his predictions for the future, he had referees hovering above the ice – sorry, the ice has been replaced by plastic – and dropping pucks for faceoffs from the sky.

Sure, George Gross was wrong, but I’m pretty sure hockey would be the most popular sport in the world right now if his visions had come to fruition.

So since I’m always looking for a topic for our weekly Bag Skate, I thought I’d give it  a try and project what hockey will look like in 2046. I expect everyone to hold me to all of these guesses so be sure to come back to the comments section in 33 years to tell me how great I am. These aren’t necessarily things that will all happen in 2046, but between now and then. Thank you and sorry for this. Read the rest of this entry »

cupsilo

A new season is quickly advancing on us. There are new divisions. There is a new format for deciding playoff teams. There is a new team in Seattle renewed sense of hope in Phoenix.

With a new season comes new predictions, a new chance for people like myself to make wild prognostications that will be somewhere between 3 and 5 percent correct (at best) at season’s end. Yes, it’s a gigantic waste of time. But it’s *fun* and pointless, like a book club or voting in America.

What follows is a hybrid preview/predictions for the upcoming season. The teams are ranked from 30 to 1, with the idea that this is how they will set up for the 2014 NHL Draft (traded and forfeited picks aside) before the lottery. So the teams that are ranked 1-2 here are the Stanley Cup champion and runner-up. Teams 3-4 are your conference final losers. Teams 5-16 are reverse order of the final standings based on overall points. Teams 17-30…you guessed it…failed to make the postseason.

So kick back, put your feet up on the coffee table, get angry or happy and enjoy one man’s opinion on what’s going to happen in the NHL this season along with some useful information about players who have changed teams this offseason. Read the rest of this entry »

When looking ahead at the 2013 NHL season, there’s a few fall-back predictions you can be safe with. Steven Stamkos will score like a mofo, Evgeni Malkin will be nasty-good, etc. etc. Beyond the givens, there’s a host of talented forwards that seem ready to break out, but as we know, not everyone finds a way to get to that next level. Chances are if you’ve got a favourite team, you’ve got a guy in mind who’s about to “make that big step,” and for some teams, they’ve got a guy who’s made that step before that they’d like to see keep up the pace.

I’ve got my own list of guys from around the league that I could see stepping into the limelight as premier, top-end scorers, and for a few of them, who knows, the ceiling might actually be top-5, top-3 in NHL scoring this season. The following is that list of guys who I think are going to have huge years, aside from names like Crosby/Malkin/Giroux/Stamkos.

Here we go, in no particular order:

James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

Vitals: 6’2″, 210, 25 years old

2011-12: 80 games played, 40 goals and 41 assists for 81 points

Neal was one of only two players in the National Hockey League last season to hit both the 40 goal plateau and grab 40 assists along the way. The other was Evgeni Malkin (the only other two players to hit 40 goals were Steven Stamkos – pff, 40, he says – and Marian Gaborik, both of whom failed to accumulate 40 assists). Obviously playing with Malkin helped Neal’s numbers, but just a reminder, Malkin didn’t die during the lockout, so he’s going to be around this season as well. With Neal’s ability to finish, and his recent relocation to being back-door sneaky on a powerplay with Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Kunitz, and I can see him being a point-per-game guy again this season.

By the way, here’s an article that implies it’s stupid to have Neal “shoving” the puck towards the net on the PP from the back-door, asking “But where is evidence that Neal can finish those off?”, to which I offer the first goal in this package. (I like the third one just a touch too.)

*** Read the rest of this entry »