NHL crystal ball clouded with fog

First off, my apologies for the lateness of my NHL predictions.
I’m sure some of you have turned blue with breathless anticipation—or not.
I figure with the season only two weeks old, there still was some integrity left in making prognostications at this point.
But the fact is, whether I had done them at the start of the season or now, one thing is perfectly clear: the fact that nothing is clear.
How much of the first two weeks is a mirage? How many teams prospering now still will be the real deal come springtime?
How many squads struggling early (yes, my Edmonton Oilers, I’m looking at you) will turn things around in time to make a playoff push?
Your guess is as good as mine—but you don’t get paid to make yours. That means if I’m wrong, I’m stealing from the bosses.
Shhh. Don’t tell them.
Atlantic Division
1. Boston—Tuukka (Rask) and too deep
2. Detroit—They are still the Wings and still dangerous
3. Montreal—Carey Price has an Olympic starting job to play for
4. Toronto—Hot start, yes, but when does the Randy Carlyle mutiny begin?
5. Ottawa—Good goaltending; offence may be lacking
6. Tampa Bay—Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are a dynamic duo
7. Buffalo—No wins yet; Ryan Miller needs some help
8. Florida—You’re not in Boston anymore, Tim Thomas.
Metropolitan Division
1. Pittsburgh—Go ahead, pick against Sid the Kid
2. Washington—Alex Ovechkin looks to be on his game again
3. Columbus—One word says it all: BOBROVSKY!
4. N.Y. Rangers—Henrik Lundqvuist always gives them a chance
5. N.Y. Islanders—John Tavares has Long Island buzzing
6. Carolina—If the Staal brothers are clicking, they could finish higher
7. Philadelphia—Firing your coach three games in is not a good omen
8. New Jersey—Martin Brodeur will be begging for his CBC panel chair back
Central Division
1. Chicago—Because they’re the champs until further notice
2. St. Louis—No superstars, but plenty of depth to go around.
3. Colorado—Like him or hate him (I strongly dislike him), but Patrick Roy is a difference-maker
4. Winnipeg—This team is a scorer away from turning the corner
5. Minnesota—The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter $98-million experiment is starting to fizzle
6. Nashville—Pekka Rinne? Great. Defence? Good. Offence? Yuck.
7. Dallas—Unless Kari Lehtonen pitches 20 shutouts in net, this is inevitable
Pacific Division
1. Anaheim—Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will play hard to be Olympians again
2. Los Angeles—Two years removed from the Cup, the Kings still are a contender
3. San Jose—Once (Tomas) Hertl-mania dies down, we’ll see if the Sharks still have teeth
4. Phoenix—Quick, name three Coyotes. Come on. OK, time’s up. And they still find a way to win
5. Vancouver—A full season of John Tortorella? The Sedin twins may lose their smile
6. Edmonton—One year and one new goalie from now, it will all come together (OK, that’s a prayer, not a prediction)
7. Calgary—Because Edmonton’s my team (oh, and the Flames are awful)
Cup final
I want to find a reason not to put Chicago and Pittsburgh in the championship showdown.
Stanley Cup hangover for Chicago? I doubt it.
Lack of goaltending for Pittsburgh? Marc-Andre Fleury knows there’s an Olympic starting job up for grabs right now, so he’ll play his heart out.
The risk for both of having probably at least half their squads make various Olympic teams? It didn’t hurt the ’Hawks in 2010.
Nobody can bring more offence to the table than these two squads.
I’m thinking Sidney Crosby gets to celebrate the Olympic gold-Stanley Cup double.
Penguins in 7.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail