Predicting the 2014-2015 NHL Standings

Sports

Season starts in October. Of course these will most likely not be perfect or right. As John Tortorella would say, I am just throwing shit on a wall and hoping it sticks.

Atlantic Division (Eastern Conference)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Boston Bruins
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Florida Panthers
8. Buffalo Sabres

A bit of a bold prediction here. I think the Lightning step up from the previous year. Coach Jon Cooper is a great coach. They have Stamkos coming back for a full year this time (most likely, let’s hope he doesn’t get injured as he’s great to watch). If Ben Bishop performs well and they step up from last year (which I think they will), they could take over the division. The Bruins are still a good team but I just think they will regress eventually. Montreal definitely has a playoff team on paper and with Price in net they are a no brainer. Detroit and Toronto will be interesting. Both are quite evenly matched. Detroit however was faced with huge, huge injuries last season and they have been trending downwards. I think they will battle Toronto for around a seventh-eighth seed spot. The bottom three teams are easy to predict. Buffalo is looking like a lottery team and their fans know it. If Ron Rolston was there for the whole season last year as coach they may have had the worst record for an NHL team since the 1995 lockout. The Florida Panthers made all these high picks and signed a bunch of guys but it’s not good enough to overtake the six teams I have ranked ahead of them. They suck and will continue to suck. Poor Luongo. The Senators have an awful roster on paper and could be a lottery team too. But with Karlsson still there, decent goaltending, and a great coach in Paul MacLean will make them not a lottery team but short of a playoff spot.

Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference)

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. New York Rangers
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. New Jersey Devils
5. New York Islanders
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Washington Capitals
8. Carolina Hurricanes

This is actually quite a tough division to predict. When taking a look at things no doubt the Penguins, Rangers, and Flyers are the three best teams in the division. After them you can rotate the bottom five teams. When looking at last year the Devils lost thirteen shootouts. I highly doubt that happens again. Their roster looks quite awful but I think with Cory Schneider in net as the starter and no Brodeur they can be a playoff team or fall just short. Columbus has not impressed me much. I don’t think they repeat what they did last year. They played with a lot of heart and energy in the post season and to get there. I just don’t see it happening again this year. They might make me eat my words, who knows. I believe you could rotate them with the Devils but I’m going with the Devils this year. The Washington Capitals are a team I could see becoming a disaster by hiring Barry Trotz as a coach. He does not fit as a coach for that offensive styled team. He coaches an awful style. I see him lasting not long at all there. He coached some of the most boring hockey I have ever seen when he was in Nashville. As for Carolina, I’m not really sure if they will finish last in the division. I admittedly don’t follow them much to make a solid prediction. But I really don’t see them cracking the top eight in the conference either. They should realistically finish ahead of teams such as the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, and maybe Senators but not good enough to get into the postseason.

Central Division (Western Conference)
1. St. Louis Blues
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Minnesota Wild
4. Dallas Stars
5. Nashville Predators
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Winnipeg Jets

Ah, the beauty as well as the hard times of being the western conference. Only 14 teams and 8 get to make it into the playoffs. But then most of those 14 teams are actually very good. Especially in the central division. That is going to be a tough division to play in. Perhaps the toughest in the league, tougher than the pacific division was last year. The Blues should remain as the top seed. They have been good in the regular season for years. They dumped Ryan Miller who was not working out for them and got Paul Statsny from Colorado, a solid addition to their team. Look for Tarasenko and Schwartz to be even better this year. The only problem is they have proven they can not win in the post season. That is outside the point. They will make it in as a high seed once again. The Blackhawks and Wild definitely will as well. As for the Dallas Stars, I really like what they are doing. They just added point per game player Jason Spezza to an already great offensive roster. They will be even better me thinks. Nashville has hired Peter Laviolette and left defensive minded loser Barry Trotz stranded in the desert. Great move. Laviolette has won everywhere he’s gone. He could make Nashville an exciting team to watch as well as a playoff team unlike doofus Trotz. He should go talk to John Tortorella in a steam bath about how to ruin a hockey team by playing dump and chase. End rant. The Avalanche were good last year but I just have a feeling they won’t be as good as the five teams I mentioned above them. There was a feeling as if they over achieved last year. They got off to a wickedly hot start and kept it up throughout the season. I just feel if there’s one team that won’t repeat what they did last year it is them. I hope they make me eat my words because they play an exciting brand of hockey and they are easy to root for. I just don’t have high hopes. The Jets as the worst team in this division is a no brainer. I’d be shocked if they get above seventh seed. Their roster lacks the talent the other teams in their division have.

Pacific Division (Western Conference)

1. Anaheim Ducks
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Calgary Flames
6. Arizona Coyotes
7. Edmonton Oilers

I said in a previous post on here of my most bold predictions for the year that the Canucks will make the playoffs. Of course I am sticking to that. I say they get in as a seventh or eighth seed. They will surprise people. The Kings are historically or lately not a dominant team in the season but they could care less. They’ve won two cups in three years, once as an eighth seed the other as a sixth seed. The Sharks were good in the regular season last year and have not really downgraded or anything like that. I think they could be in the same position they were in last year. They are a good team in the regular season but chokers in the post season. That’s again outside the point. They will make it to the playoffs. The Ducks are president trophy favourites this year and I think they will realistically win it. Getzlaf and Perry are still there and Boudreau is the right coach for this team…in the regular season that is. Not the playoffs where he’s never done anything. They also added Kesler and Clayton Stoner. They will be a good team in the season no question about it. Perhaps one of the most shocking picks one would see here is that I have Calgary ranked higher than Arizona. Arizona is well managed and coached but they do not have much talent at all to be a playoff team. I like what Calgary is doing. Hartley is a great coach and has them busting their asses off every game. This is coming from someone that hates Calgary as a whole. I think they will be rivals with Vancouver this season and both battling each other for that final playoff spot perhaps or a low seeded spot. The Oilers will never improve as long as Kevin Lowe is there, don’t think otherwise. Until he’s gone and out, they will continue to suck. A poorly managed organization from top to bottom.

To summarize the post season should look like:

Atlantic:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning .vs. 4. Detroit Red Wings/Toronto Maple Leafs/New York Islanders (dark horse pick)
2. Boston Bruins .vs. 3. Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins .vs. 4. New Jersey Devils
2. New York Rangers .vs .3. Philadelphia Flyers

Central:
1. St. Louis Blues .vs. 4. Dallas Stars
2. Chicago Blackhawks .vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

Pacific:
1. Anaheim Ducks .vs. 4. Vancouver Canucks/Nashville Predators (dark horse picks)
2. San Jose Sharks .vs. 3. Los Angeles Kings

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Bold Predictions for the 2014-2015 NHL Season

Sports

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The NHL season starts around the beginning of October and since the free agent frenzy has pretty much ended I have a few bold predictions for next season that go against “the norm”. In other words, predictions that are bold and go against the public. Here are a few I have:

1. The Vancouver Canucks make the playoffs.

Albeit I’m very biased towards them, I am willing to bet this happens. Everywhere I go people are counting them out saying how they are a tenth seed, etc. I have followed this off season. I followed last season. They sucked ass last season and a large portion of it was due to the goons known as John Tortorella and Mike Gillis. There is no way this team should have been playing a defensive dump and chase style. It doesn’t fit the team. Coach Tortorella is a goof who will never land a job in the NHL again (a not so bold prediction or opinion there either). Jim Benning has made some shrewd moves that I think will pay off. The jury is still out on his draft picks Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann. But signing Ryan Miller for a few years, good move. The pay is a bit steep but that’s the price you must pay for a decent goaltender. Miller looked bad in St. Louis especially in the postseason but that’s his only dark moment of his career so far. I’m willing to see if he has more to offer. Dealing Ryan Kesler was the best move they made. Nick Bonino is a great kid and plays the game hard. Outside of all these moves Jim Benning made in terms of player personnel, the biggest and the one I think will pay off was not made just by him but also president Trevor Linden: hiring Willie Desjardins. The guy has won at every level besides the NHL. He made the Texas Stars in the AHL a great team. He made the Dallas Stars have serious depth alone due to the way he coached the young kids on the Texas Stars. He also won multiple times in the WHL before. I have not heard a single bad word about him. Just great things. Look for him to turn the Vancouver Canucks around, be a well liked coach by the players, and have them become a winning franchise. No, I don’t think they will be Stanley Cup contenders or fighting for the presidents trophy. I also don’t think they will win the Pacific Division, that’s crazy. They will make the playoffs as a sixth-eighth seed. I am putting my mouth on the line here.

2. Pekka Rinne gets exposed as an over rated goaltender

I’m sorry Preds fans. I always hear people talk about him as if he is a top goaltender in the league, top three, etc. I’ve never seen it. He was a huge body in front of the net behind Ryan Suter and Shea Weber all those years. That’s why he looked really good. Take out coach Barry Trotz and his boring ass defensive system and replace him with offensive minded Peter Laviolette, look at people to start doubting Pekka Rinne as among the league’s best in net. This is a little bold and the term “over rated” seems to imply I think he sucks. I think he will still be good, just not in the top three as people typically have him in in their lists of best goaltenders in the NHL.

3. The Boston Bruins don’t repeat as regular season powerhouses this year

The Bruins have been a very successful franchise for years now in the NHL but I think they won’t repeat as president trophy champions or as a top team in the regular season. Just a weird feeling I have. Chara is getting old, he has been slowing down season after season. It is only a matter of time before he retires or fades away. He is a huge driving force behind the team. Without him, I don’t know. They got rid of top scorer Jarome Iginla and replaced him with…well…nothing really? I think this team should have kept him for another year, he fit well in the system. I say they are still a playoff team but finish no higher than third in the eastern conference. And then come playoff time, Tukkaa Rask gets exposed as a choker once again. The Flyers and Canadiens completely lit this guy up when his team had both series in a stranglehold. Definitely not worth the money they are paying him. Roberto Luongo got hated on as a Canuck, why is this guy excused?

4. The Montreal Canadiens don’t go on a huge playoff run again

Not sure if this is bold. I don’t think they have the same success as they did last year. Carey Price is a monster in net no doubt and they still look like a playoff team, but I think they got by last year in the playoffs playing a really gritty style that many teams typically don’t repeat. They had guys such as Dale Weise scoring clutch goals or Daniel Briere (who they got rid of). Leader Josh Gorges was dealt to the leagues worst Buffalo Sabres for scraps. I don’t see this team going as far in the playoffs as they did last year. I rooted them on, it was a great run, but let’s be realistic here.

5. The Anaheim Ducks do not make it far in the playoffs

Of course they make the season with Boudreau being head coach. That’s his bread and butter. I have no shame in admitting they may be a fifth to first rank team in the western conference. But come playoff time, they will lose, again, like Boudreau coach teams do. No way am I betting on this team to win the cup. I also would like to make the bold prediction that Ducks fans become disappointed with Ryan Kesler’s production and wish for Nick Bonino back. Seriously. He has not been good at all since Vancouver’s cup run and I am glad to get Sbisa and Bonino for him. Not joking or trolling. Gibson is young and a question mark. He’s said to be a phenom but this will be his first full year. I don’t know about giving him such a heavy task. Andersen is also a question mark as a 1B/backup goaltender. Look for the Ducks to be golfing by the semi finals and their fans complaining about Boudreau and Kesler.

6. The Kings, Blackhawks, or Penguins become Stanley Cup champions (again)

Okay, this is not very bold at all. This is with the norm. I think the Kings or Blackhawks are easily in line to take home another cup along with maybe the Penguins in the east. Mike Johnston as newly hired head coach of the Penguins should take them into the playoffs. The last time the Pens hired a head coach they destroyed the rest of the league. They were something like 18-3 before going into the playoffs with Bylsma. Mike Johnston may have the same success or it may backfire. The Kings and Blackhawks are still the premium teams of the west. The Blues, Sharks, and Ducks are all teams capable of doing well in the regular season but then shitting the bed in the playoffs. I don’t see either team passing the torch in the west this season unless they have injuries to key players.