Predicting the 2015-2016 NFL Season

Sports

Preseason is just around the corner for the National Football League.

It’s that time of year to go ahead and make predictions. I will be wrong on a few things. I didn’t go through every teams schedule or single game to make these predictions. These are just based on how I feel the teams will do based on their additions over the offseason, their last season, or strength of schedule.

The teams with the toughest schedules this year are:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 147-107-2, .579
2. Cincinnati Bengals: 144-112, .563
3. San Francisco 49ers: 143-112-1, .561
4. Seattle Seahawks: 142-112-2, .559
5. Arizona Cardinals:142-113-1, .557

It’s not a shock three teams in the NFC west are in the top five, with the St. Louis Rams coming in at six.

So here we go.

AFC East Predictions

1. New England Patriots 12-4
2. Miami Dolphins 9-7
3. Buffalo Bills 8-8
4. New York Jets 5-11

Pretty obvious in my opinion. The Jets and Bills simply don’t have a quarterback. Credit to them for the moves they made elsewhere. I think both teams may have solid defenses as they both have the right personnel and offseason additions to vouch for that. But still, no quarterback, means not many wins. The Patriots (no brainer) and Dolphins both have quarterbacks who can win them games.

AFC North Predictions

1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
2. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10

The Browns could be even worse than I realize. Josh McCown flat out sucks. That is their quarterback? Their defense and coaching are the only positive things about that whole organization. The Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens are miles ahead of them in the regular season and in terms of how well run each organization is. I think all three of them have a good chance to make the postseason. Meanwhile in Cleveland…yeah, no comment.

AFC South Predictions

1. Indianapolis Colts 13-3
2. Houston Texans 11-5
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11
4. Tennessee Titans 2-14

There’s simply no hope for the Titans. I feel they may have the worst roster in the league. Nothing to note on defense, nothing really on offense except young Marcus Mariota. He’s being put into a position to fail as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile Jacksonville is cursed and mourning the loss of first round draft pick Dante Fowler. Blake Bortles should have a much better year than he did last year though. As for the Texans and Colts, they will keep feasting on the unfortunate two below them. The Texans upgraded at their brutal quarterback position while the Colts upgraded their offense and made a few defensive additions.

AFC West Predictions

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
2. Denver Broncos 8-8
3. San Diego Chargers 8-8
4. Oakland Raiders 6-10

This is where I see things getting interesting in the league next year. I feel the Broncos will regress based on what we saw from them to end the year last year as well as their disastrous offseason this year. Such moves from them included the hiring of Gary Kubiak and Ryan Clady getting injured once again. Who will protect Peyton now?

The Chiefs are just getting better and better as far as I’m concerned. And the Chargers are the average Chargers. I do feel the Raiders will improve on their disastrous year last year. All that young talent and new coaching staff should tack on a few wins for them. In three years, look out, they may not be the laughing stock of the league anymore.

NFC East Predictions

1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 11-5
3. New York Giants 5-11
4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The Redskins are years away from being solid team. I give them props for hiring McLoughlan as new general manager. He has won every where he’s gone and if given the time, he will turn them into a winner. It simply won’t happen in one year. Bob Griffin is probably going to stay stinking up the joint.

Then there’s the Giants who haven’t done anything to note in the regular season in a while and it appears there may not be much time left for Tom Coughlin. The Cowboys and Eagles are simply the two better teams. Whoever wins the division will be a toss up between them. I went bold and chose the Eagles but if quarterback Sam Bradford goes down, Dallas may easily win it.

NFC North Predictions

1. Green Bay Packers 13-3
2. Detroit Lions 10-6
3. Minnesota Vikings 9-7
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

The Bears…nothing positive to note there but a new coaching staff. But how many coaches can Jay Cutler go through before he starts winning games for the Bears? Their defense looks atrocious as well on paper.

Meanwhile the Vikings, Lions, and Packers all either stayed the same or improved. The Vikings did not bad for a team with a new coach last season. The Lions and Packers stayed the same or made minor additions to pick up where they left off from last year.

NFC South Predictions

1. Carolina Panthers 9-7
2. Atlanta Falcons 8-8
3. New Orleans Saints 7-9
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10

Not sure how this division is going to exactly go. Don’t even be shocked if the Buccaneers manage to win it. Who knows how their offense will be with Jameis Winston at the helm or their defense with a season under their belt with new coach Lovie Smith.

NFC West Predictions

1. Seattle Seahawks 12-4
2. St. Louis Rams 10-6
3. Arizona Cardinals 10-6
4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12

Tough to predict this division as well. I think one thing is obvious: the Seahawks are the favourites to win the super bowl again this year and the 49ers have regressed.

It becomes a game of rotating the Rams or Cardinals. Jeff Fisher’s job is on the line this year. If they can’t improve from their 8-8 or 7-9 seasons, he could be gone. The talent is there, there is no excuse. The Cardinals meanwhile are a good team. It will be interesting to see how things end up between the two.

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Predicting the 2015-2016 NHL Standings and Playoffs

Sports

Well another decent season for the National Hockey League was put into the history books.

If you read my post last year, I called most of the right dark horses. I said the Canucks will make the playoffs as a wild card. They didn’t even need to be a wild card they had such a successful year. I also said the Predators would make it in but as a wild card. They soared through the rankings in the regular season last year.

Of course it is somewhat of a crap shoot but it is fun. The standings next year no doubt will not emulate last years NHL standings; there will be some teams who I feel will get in once again and others who will go down a bit. Fanbases will be happy when I stroke their team, some will be upset when I speak what I feel is the truth.

Atlantic Division Predictions

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

So your first reaction is probably: “what kind of shit are you smoking that made you rank the Toronto Maple Leafs so high?”

I call it…the fallacy of Mike Babcock.

This is where the Maple Leafs will have a coach that is so good he will make them at least competitive no matter how bad they look on paper. In turn, this will piss off Toronto fans when they may barely miss the playoffs; they as fans will want a lottery pick. I really have this exact feeling. I may be dead wrong, but I call it the “Babcock effect”. Count me as one of the fans who feels a decent coach can turn a team around no matter how bad they look on paper.

So with that said you probably notice the Canadiens low after a decent season last year. Yeah, I believe they are trending downwards. I admittedly don’t follow them often but only hear from fans how bad of a job Michelle Therrien is doing. Carey Price is the force behind that team and I simply don’t believe a team can keep up in the ranks with their goalie playing their heart out. Just look at the New York Rangers with Tortorella. They kept trending downwards even though Lundqvist played his ass off.

The Sabres, yeah, they suck. I am not a believer in Tim Murray at all. Dan Bylsma is a wild card but I truly feel with the losing culture they had in place last year, it’s going to backfire. They are going to become the next Edmonton Oilers. Let’s not forget the idiotic trade and signing of Ryan O’ Reilly. Their two decent prospects in Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov for him? Tim Murray is going to ruin this team.

I feel the Panthers are going up. A nice young core, some decent depth, and a decent coach. Keep an eye on this team. Dale Tallon did a fine job in Chicago before putting them in cap hell. But hey, I’d prefer the cup if it means my team goes in cap hell for a few years after.

And the Lightning, yeah, no brainer. Called them in first last year. Look for them to be a threat once again this year.

One team I am honestly not sure of is the Boston Bruins. I feel Lucic was the identity of that team and I’m banking on Don Sweeney looking like a fool this offseason. Not sure if Julien is being tuned out by the roster either.

Detroit will be an interesting team to watch. I feel like Blashill will just pick up where Babcock left off. Holland will also continue his brilliance as general manager. I can’t see Detroit falling anytime soon.

Metropolitan Division Predictions

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

This is an interesting division. More interesting than the rest.

I truly feel the Rangers reign of dominance may come to an end. I’m familiar with Vigneault. He usually has a few good years until teams start to tune him out just like the Vancouver Canucks did.

I can’t help but think the Penguins were doing well with coach Mike Johnston until they got decimated with injuries. And with the addition of Phil Kessel, I see them playing lights out on offense while Johnston keeps them playing decent on defense. His system had Marc Andre-Fleury looking great. I just can’t see Pittsburgh trending downwards and feel last year was an anomaly.

The Capitals will be up there for sure. I’m not sure if they will rank as high as second but they will be a playoff team. And when they get in, they will be dangerous with game seven legend Justin Williams. I love that pickup. Barry has them playing good hockey. I was wrong about him as a coach. He has done a solid job in Washington.

The Blue Jackets and Islanders could rotate. I feel the Islanders may be slightly ahead. But both teams both have solid, young talent. Like I said, don’t be shocked if one or the other gets in as a bottom seed.

The Devils, not a bad team. But also not great on the forward side of things. I am not sure how their new coach from Wilkes-Barre will do either.

The Flyers I feel may trend a bit down but be good in the future. Their defense core is still the worst in the league and I believe it will take some time to fix. The other teams I ranked ahead of them I just feel are simply better teams than the Flyers, who are pretty much Giroux, Voracek, and maybe Provorov as of now. Not to forget Couturier.

The Hurricanes, yeah, no brainer for me here. Nothing screams cup contender or on the rise from that squad to me. But then again, they could prove me wrong. If they get into the playoffs that means I have a chance with Salma Hayek.

Central Division Predictions

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Nashville Predators
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Dallas Stars
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Winnipeg Jets

This is hands down the toughest division in hockey. All the teams in this division are good and could be considered playoff teams. I feel I will be dead wrong in my predictions for this division.

You could rotate the Jets with the Wild, the Blackhawks with the Stars. Here is my reasoning for why I ranked it how I did here:

-The Blackhawks are always going to be a playoff team as long as Toews, Kane, and Keith are there. Along with Coach Q. Sharp and Oduya are big losses but do not mean no playoffs

-The Blues are the kings of the regular season. How they do in the playoffs is the bigger concern.

-The Wild have a nice core. People thought they would trend downwards this year and coach Yeo was in trouble. Misjudgment there. Their goaltending is the biggest concern but they haven’t missed the playoffs in years with Suter and Parise at the helm.

-The Predators have the best defensive core in the league and Laviolette usually stays decent as head coach (until year three or so usually).

I can’t see these four teams missing for those reasons. The Stars are the wildcard for me. I feel they may either be able to sneak in as a lower seed, or pass the Predators or Wild. They have a nice young core and elite offensive prowess.

The Avalanche are still a big question mark but again have a nice young core. They too are speedy as hell. They are too inconsistent. One year they finish high, the next, quite low. I’m not too sure if that inconsistency means they are as good as the five I listed above them.

The Jets, I’m sorry to their fans. I really do think last year was an anomaly and I’m not buying them as an elite team. The six teams I ranked ahead of them I feel are flat out better. Of course I ranked the Jets in the bottom of the division last year, and they finished fifth in reality.

Pacific Division Predictions

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

Here is when my homerism comes in and big time.

I also follow this division more than the other divisions in hockey besides maybe the central division (since that one is so competitive and fun to watch).

I don’t even know if the Anaheim Ducks are a safe bet to finish first. Bruce Boudreau has always been a regular season coach though, so they are the logical choice. Look out Ducks fans about Bieksa though. Don’t complain if he manages to bring your defense down by himself. But like I said, the logical choice for first is the Ducks.

Here is where I will be crucified; I think the Canucks will be a better team this year than last. I follow this team more than any other team. I know Willie Desjardins is a winner. I predicted wild card last year and they instead came in fifth in the western conference and had 101 points. Willie will keep the good times rolling.

Ryan Miller needs to emulate what he did last year. 28-15 as a starter and solid for the most part before he got hurt. I couldn’t ask for more from him. If Jakob Markstrom breaks out like he did in the AHL last year, this could be an awesome goaltending duo.

Bieksa, Matthias, Kassian. All misfits that are gone and replaced by better guys. I truly believe Matt Bartkowski and Clendening will be good on defense. Clendening was solid for us when we had an injury bug in January-March. Little do Canucks fans forget that Sbisa was as well.

Sven Baertschi will be coming in to play on the second line. I can’t see him playing worse than Higgins or Burrows did offensively on the second line. He will put up better numbers. I am a believer.

Horvat and especially Linden Vey will have better years. If Vey doesn’t have a better year he will be gone. I’m rooting for him as he seems like a solid kid. Brandon Prust will be a hellraiser just like Derek Dorsett was on the fourth line. And enter in big Jake Virtanen and Ron Kenins.

Call me a homer, but that’s how I see things. The sky is not falling for me. We aren’t cup contenders but we will be fine.

The Sharks are a wild card to me. Will new coach Peter Deboer be the spark needed for this team? I always felt he was a good coach in New Jersey who was just brutal on the young kids like Adam Larsson. Paul Martin and Joel Ward are also coming in. I’m not sure about Martin but I know Joel Ward is good…for the postseason at least if the Sharks do make it.

The Kings might improve or they might bust. I really don’t know. I do feel Stoll, Richards, Voynov, and Williams all gone is a huge hit to their identity and core. Yeah they now have Lucic but he doesn’t make up for four guys. They will be a team to watch this year.

The Oilers have made all the right moves this offseason. Better moves than any offseason they have had in five or so years. But they are like that dirtbag boyfriend the girl you liked in high school had. They do all the right things but then screw over their fans once the regular season starts. I can’t see how they don’t improve with the changes they made. But if they still suck, the city of Edmonton may be cursed just like Cleveland is.

As for the Calgary Flames, yeah, call me a hater. I wasn’t impressed by them at all last year even though they knocked out my Canucks. It was a giant “whatever” feeling. Bob Hartley usually gets tuned out by his team and I feel that happens anytime with this Flames squad if they keep playing the way they are. Believe it or not, I think Dougie Hamilton will be a bomb in Calgary. He certainly was when I watched him in Boston which is part of the reason why he got dealt. There also is something there that simply does not add up. Boston got rid of him for a low return, meaning not only was he a turnover machine, he may have had character issues. I do however like their addition of Frolik. But I can’t for the life of me see Monahan and Gaudreau replicating the seasons they had last year.

So there you have it. Let the hate mail commence!

Here is what I am predicting the 2015-2016 post season to look like:

Lightning .vs. Senators/Islanders/Blue Jackets (two of these three make it)
Red Wings .vs. Panthers

Penguins .vs. Senators/Islanders/Blue Jackets (two of these three make it)
Capitals .vs. Rangers

Blues .vs. Wild
Blackhawks .vs. Predators

Ducks .vs. Stars/Sharks (most likely Stars)
Canucks .vs. Kings

Sam Bradford’s Injury Brings Up Harsh Realities of Being in the NFL

Sports, Uncategorized

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers

So Sam Bradford is done for the year, yet again.

As a fan of a division rival team of the St. Louis Rams in the NFC West, I honestly feel really bad for not only the St. Louis Rams but also Sam Bradford.

There have been polls out there that show Shaun Hill is who people think is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. So the Rams have that going for them. Is he as good as Sam Bradford? I don’t know about that.

Bradford reminded me a lot of Alex Smith when watching him play. He is not elite but he possess some skills. Not good at throwing it deep but he can be accurate and manage the game well. It sucks for the Rams losing him.

However, besides having Shaun Hill they do have a good, young defense going for them and talent everywhere. I picked them to go above .500 this year but I just don’t know if they can do it with Shaun Hill. Time will tell.

Anyways, you may be asking what is with the thread title. Well, this is a brutal league. I’m sure people who saw Bradford win rookie of the year in 2010 did not see this as his fate. People were questioning if the Rams should stick with him after this year. Well, unfortunately, now that this has happened again I don’t see them sticking with him. He is holding them back from improving by either: constantly being injured or even when playing, not taking them (the Rams that is) to the next level.

It may be time to see what Shaun Hill has to offer. If he’s not the answer, they can look into Ryan Mallett of the Patriots or Kirk Cousins of the Redskins (who both have shown shades of decency at quarterback yet are delegated to backup roles). They could also even draft a quarterback next year and groom him to take the starting spot on an already highly talented, young team in the St. Louis Rams.

I hate to say it but I think Sam Bradford is done being a St. Louis Ram.

The Seahawks Are Blowing the Roof Off the Building

Ramblings, Sports

It’s preseason, but the Hawks are thrashing the Bears like it’s nobodies business.

Does this sound similar to last season? The Hawks went 4-0 and won the super bowl. They looked dominant in the preseason. They lost to the Broncos this preseason but it was a close game. These last two preseason games at home they have obliterated the opposition. The Chargers and the Bears…not the worst teams.

I won’t be too quick to say they can repeat as champions. But I really do believe they will be in the running again. This team is nasty and built well from top to bottom. I said their offense would be better this season. They have Lane and Tharold Simon as reserves, extremely talented guys on defense.

I think the ones who should be worried about the NFL regular season are the Santa Clara Forty Whiners, also known as the 49ers lead by crybaby Jim Harbaugh. They have gotten their asses kicked this preseason and the St. Louis Rams are clearly on the rise in the NFC west.

Ah, The NFL Preseason

Ramblings, Sports

The Denver Broncos do realize this is the NFL preseason, right?

They should save this energy for the real actual games against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

Trolling aside, TJ Ward and Demarcus Ware look like great additions for this team so far. Especially TJ Ward. Getting rid of Chump Bailey was a wise move too, that guy looked like an idiot in the last two postseasons for the Broncos.

The 49ers are also 0-2 and Phil Dawson missed two field goals apparently. I thought what? Phil Dawson always gets on my nerves. Without him kicking in his chip shots to bail out Kaepernick the 49ers would have been 7-9 last year. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and the 49ers are really in trouble. Good team, just can’t stand them and their constant whining.

NFL Preseason Brings Out the Idiocy In Referees

Ramblings, Sports

So I tuned in to watch the Seattle Seahawks-San Diego Chargers meaningless preseason game that took place yesterday.

It’s always interesting to tune in to see how your team is doing before the real season starts. See what young players or depth players could step up.

But man, was it ever tough to watch.

In the third quarter one of the referees tried his best to get himself “killed” in Seattle rather than being sleepless there. Thank goodness it was preseason though.

The Seahawks cornerbacks barely freaking touched the Chargers receivers yet he called it twice. Barely touched, I kid you not. It was outrageous. I believe it was Tharold Simon (who has looked not bad I must admit) picked off a Chargers receiver for a touchdown yet it was called back to the red zone due to “incidental contact”. Yet replays show he hardly touched the receiver.

I can see this new rule having people up in arms come season time if the referee’s don’t tone it down. You have to know Roger Goodell will get them to call this even more if he doesn’t want to see teams like Seattle be the champions again.

Many people have brought up how people like Matt Stafford are setting records in the league due to the direction. That couldn’t be more true. If Goodell keeps getting referee’s to call the game this way you may as well have no defense out there to be honest.

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.