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2013: The NHL season that almost wasn't

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Beef03, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    I think it's time to turn the page on the ugliness that was the last four months of locked out NHL with a new thread. For those suckers (by suckers I am definitely in this group) who have not given up on the NHL altogether or signed some petition or joined a boycott that will have little to no effect on the sport, we can now actually look forward to its return.

    Here are my fearless predictions for the upcoming season.
    - The Canucks will trade Roberto Luongo, but it won't be to either Florida, who doesn't need a goalie, or Toronto, who don't have the assets to give up for him. Once DiPietro suffers his annual season-ending groin strain, and Nabakov getting fed up and heading back to Russia, Wang forces Snow's hand to sell the farm to bring in Luongo with an eye to making a big splash for their eventual move to Brooklyn.

    - Despite acquiring Gaborik, Richards and Nash the last three off-seasons, the New York Rangers will still struggle offensively and will live and die with goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

    - The Toronto Maple Leafs will win seven of their first 10 games, parade routes will be drawn up, confetti made. By the mid-way point they will be .500. By the end of the season they will be seven games under.500 miss the playoffs and the confetti will finally be tossed as Brian Burke is run out of town. But not before Carlyle is axed as well. A new saviour will be brought in (Dave Talon?) and hopes will be stoked once again.

    - The Oilers will finally make a valiant push for the playoffs, finish ninth, win the draft lottery and pick first overall for the fourth year in a row, selecting Seth Jones.

    - The Vancouver Canucks will win another Presidents trophy. Will get beat in the second round 4-1, all four losses will be of the 1-0 or 2-1 variety and it will be all Shneider's fault.

    - The Detroit Red Wings will once again prove they are not ready to fall back to Earth.

    - The Phoenix Coyotes have a new owner, another sweetheart deal with the city, are coming off a division title and still no one will care.
  2. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Western Conference
    1) Vancouver Canucks -- arguably the most complete team in the NHL. Eventual bounty they receive for Luongo will help ensure that success continues this year and the future.
    2) Los Angeles Kings -- Stanley Cup champs will have the lockout to thank for no hangover and giving Quick enough time to heal.
    3) Nashville Predators -- They lost Suter, but if any team can absorb that, I think the Preds can with their young group of D-men and Rinne in net.
    4) St. Louis Blues -- right behind the Predators. The Central may be the most exciting division in the league this year. Solid, young, physical team, just needs that extra punch and to stay healthy.
    5) Minnesota Wild -- Big acquisitions of Parise and Suter pay off, but they also have a ton of young talent ready to go. May be a year a way from truly contending but they are loaded for years to come with one of the deepest farm systems in the league.
    6) San Jose Sharks -- always talented, always deep should be tough to beat once again, but I don't think they are still in the contender category. Who knows, maybe Thornton and Marleau grow a heart between them and they finally get over the hump.
    7) Detroit Red Wings -- They're old but, damn, it's hard to argue with any team that can roll out Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
    8) Edmonton Oilers -- Ha I lied above. I think the Oilers actually find a way in. They will be red hot out of the gate with almost all of their top young players playing together in OKC this year. Eberle has been terrific again, Hall has found his touch after being given time to fully recover and Shultz has been outstanding since signing with the Oilers out of college. Problem is, by the time the regular season ends, most of those players will have played almost 90 games and be running out of gas.
    9) Colorado Avalanche -- I like a lot of what they have done, but I they need bounce back years out of the likes of Stasny and Duchene.
    10) Dallas Stars -- Very quietly they have put together a very solid team. They were good last year and then added Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Defensively they are solid, but their hopes may rest in the hands of goalie Khari Lehtonen.
    11) Chicago Blackhawks -- the slide continues for the 2010 Cup champs. They may have worst starting goaltending of any team that has a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Their defence has been an issue the last couple of years with Keith disappearing for long stretches and Kane has been a huge distraction and disappointment since the Cup winner.
    12) Calgary Flames -- Sven Baertchi will make an impact in his first year, but they will need more than just him, Iginla and an injury prone Cammaleri going. Huge issues offensively and defence is still a question mark with the very disappointing Bouwmeester leading the way. Big positive is that Kipper may be the only goalie to start every game this season, and he may not burn out in the process.
    13) Phoenix Coyotes -- I like Steve Sullivan, but coming off a 49-point season at age 37, he will not come anywhere close to replacing Ray Whitney's 77 points. Also. I'm not ready to completely buy into Mike Smith. He has to do it for more than one year. Too many holes right now.
    14) Anaheim Ducks -- This could get ugly quick for the Ducks. They are thin up front after their big line of Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan and their defence is less than inspiring after the young Cam Fowler. Sbisa could still be pretty good as well and they'll need a Vezina-type year out of Hiller to have any chance. But I see Perry and Getzlaf traded at the deadline to kick start the rebuilding process around Ryan.
    15) Columbus Blue Jackets -- Without looking it up, can anyone name their second leading scorer after Nash (who had just 59 points) last year? . . . That's right, Vinnny Prospal. Dubinsky and Animisimov theoretically makes them deeper up front, but in reality they will just be led by two different 50-point men this year. They are praying they don't lose the draft lottery again, no other team needs the top pick more.
  3. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Eastern Conference
    1) Pittsburgh Penguins -- a full abbreviated year of Malkin and Crosby? Look out Eastern Conference. Biggest question mark is their blue-line, but they have $10 mil in cap space for this year to play around with.
    2) Boston Bruins -- Still deep as any team in the East. While they are no longer as deep in net with Thomas out of the picture there will be less distractions. They're big and tough and Seguin will elevate them further offensively.
    3) Washington Capitals -- Adam Oates has a lot of work ahead of him in his first HC job. Their talent level is through the roof, even without Semin, but Oates somehow has to bring them together as one. Also, either Neuvirth or Holtby has to establish themselves as the No. 1 goalie and stay healthy at the same time.
    4) New York Rangers -- They'll be better offensively, maybe. Still Lundqvist will determine how far they go, they also need a full year out of Staal.
    5) Carolina Hurricanes -- Love a lot of what they've done this year, bringing in Staal without giving up Skinner was great work. Semin was also a nice touch and low risk with a one-year deal. Biggest question is defence but Ward will cover up a lot of issues.
    6) Florida Panthers -- I like the way they've built their current group, I think a piece or two up front away from really contending in the next couple of years.
    7) Philadelphia Flyers -- Raise your hand if you trust Bryzgalov over the course of even a short 48-game schedule. He will become a poster child for the amnesty clause. Beyond goaltending, there is a lot to like here. Ton of young offensive talent up front with Giroux, Shenn and Voracek and I think Coturier takes the next step this year. They will continue to miss Pronger on the back end, however.
    8) Buffalo Sabres -- A full year of Hodgson and Ott will be a big boost for the Sabres offensively and leadership wise. This will be a good team over the short haul. They will just beat out the Senators for the eighth spot.
    9) Ottawa Senators -- See above, it will be close. Another good, young team, but they need offensive help to really take the next step and there's just a part of me that has trouble trusting Anderson in net. MacLean will get the most out of them once again, it just wont be enough.
    10) Winnipeg Jets -- They were better than I thought they would be last year. I don't think any team will benefit more from the short year more than the Jets with their insane travel schedule -- how realignment was not addressed in the 113-day lockout, I have no idea. But if Kane can show some maturity, Schieffle jump in and make an impact and Pavelec find some consistency, they may push for that last spot.
    11) Tampa Bay Lightning -- One final team that will be in the hunt for the playoffs until the end, I just don't know how I feel about A)Lindback in net for a full year or B) Lecavalier's shocking decline in production when he should be in his prime. Will need big years from both. Also, major health issues on their aging blue-line.
    12) New York Islanders -- If it wasn't for their goaltening issues, they may actually be in the group just above. Also, the loss of P.A. Parenteau will hurt. But I love a lot of their young talent like up front. Defence after Hamonic and Streit is very concerning, especially if Visnovsky does in fact not report.
    13) Toronto Maple Leafs -- I just don't see it. They have Phil Kessel and a collection of second and third liners up front. Defence should be alright, but damn, I do not trust the actual defensive games of Phaneuf and Liles or Komisarek. Gunnarson and Gardiner may be their best back there. Then who knows what the hell they have in Reimer at this point. Maybe he rediscovers his pre-concussed form, maybe he doesn't. Regardless, not even Bobby Lou fixes this group.
    14) Montreal Canadiens -- Carey Price is in a world of trouble this year. They should be in full rebuild mode, selling off everything that isn't nailed down. They do have some OK pieces in Plekanec, Pacioretty and Eller, but there is not a whole lot more there up front. And then the blue line with P.K. Subban who can be an undisciplined train wreck in his own end (but so much upside still), Markov who will probably get his customary five games in this year, Kaberle who has not been the same since Toronto and not a whole lot else. Georges will likely be the most reliable of the group. Tear it down and build around Galynchuk.
    15) New Jersey Devils -- If Kovalchuck stays in Russia, they may push the Blue Jackets for the worst record in the league. It may be a sad end to the career of one of the greatest goalies to ever play the position. Would be nice to see a playoff team (Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Jose?) toss him a life preserver.

    And no, I have no life.
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Great read, Beef. On a side note, the Caps beat folks tweeted about Tom Poti almost being healthy. I swear, I forgot Tom Poti even existed.
  5. I'm sure those boycotts will put the owners in their place. I just need to brush up on where the right to watch professional hockey exists in American and Canadian law.
  6. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    If you enjoy hockey what is the point of boycotting? Fans need to get the hell over themselves. This is a 3 billion dollar business that signed a 10 year agreement. Fans will miss their "hobby" for 3 months out of those ten years, big deal. The season was never, ever going to be lost, the system hasn't changed only the percentage of revenues have. This has been so predicatble since the lockout began.

    This lockout has done nothing more than line the pockets of the already successful teams going forward, it doesn't do a damn thing to stop the bleeding in the welfare markets. They still will lose money reaching the floor.
  7. Gehrig

    Gehrig Active Member

    Eastern Conference Notes:
    -I wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers and Devils free fall in the Eastern standings
    -The Jets, and NYI will be surprise playoff bubble teams
    -Ottawa will finish around 12th
    -Carolina will finish comfortably in the playoffs seed #5 or #6
    -I don't think the goaltending situation is solved in Tampa Bay just yet, will likely fall short of the playoffs again
    -Absolute locks Penguins, Flyers, Bruins, Rangers, Capitals

    Projected Standings:
    1. Penguins
    2. Washington
    3. Boston
    4. Rangers
    5. Flyers
    6. Hurricanes
    7. Buffalo
    8. Winnipeg
    9. Tampa Bay
    10. NYI
    11. Devils
    12. Leafs
    13. Senators
    14. Panthers
    15. Canadiens

    Western Conference Notes:
    -A lot more cut and dry then the East. Seems to be a more clear disconnect between bad & good in the West
    -Minnesota and Dallas should rise, the Central teams will stutter
    -Calgary will begin it's decline and sell off assets at the deadline

    Projected Standings:
    1. Vancouver
    2. LA
    3. Chicago
    4. San Jose
    5. St.Louis
    6. Minnesota
    7. Detroit
    8. Dallas
    9. Nashville
    10. Anaheim
    11. Colorado
    12. Edmonton
    13. Phoenix
    14. Calgary
    15. Columbus
  8. derwood

    derwood Active Member

    Burke gone.
  9. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    The Loafs are working a little ahead of your schedule.
  10. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Wow. They really can't do much that ever makes sense. What did Burke do over the last four months to cost himself his job? I don't exactly disagree with his firing, but nothing has changed since the lockout, and now they basically have their team set with two weeks to go before the start of the season. There will be some player movement before the puck drops but not enough to really redraw the team. Plus there is almost no time for a new guy to come in and evaluate everyone in the system and piece a real plan together. They might as well have seen what they had anyway and if in fact they were terrible then make the change. Plus this makes Carlyle a dead duck coach for an entire season. If they were going to fire Burke it should have been done following the 2012 season.
  11. Gehrig

    Gehrig Active Member

    Looks like he didn't want to trade for Luongo, but pretty much everyone else in the Front Office wanted him.
  12. derwood

    derwood Active Member

    Nonis is the interim GM.
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