Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Answering the bell

Now that the season has been wrapped up, I figured it fitting to go back to October and look at how my predictions going into the season fared vs. how the standings ended up coming together.

MY EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Boston Bruins
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Ottawa Senators
5. Montreal Canadiens
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Atlanta Thrashers
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
10. Buffalo Sabres
11. Florida Panthers
12. NY Islanders
13. Carolina Hurricanes
14. NY Rangers
15. Washington Capitals

Yikes. So I got 5 of the 8 playoff teams correct, but zero in the right place. As you can see, I greatly overestimated the Boston Bruins, who finished 13th instead of 1st. Whoops. However, you have to think had they been healthy, they would’ve been higher. And who knows how they’d have fared had Mike O’Connell not traded Joe Thornton away like a fool.

Sames goes for Philly and the Thrashers. The Flyers were hit very hard by injuries, and if they would’ve had Keith Primeau, Kim Johnsson, and Peter Forsberg for most of the season, they probably would have won the division. I said, after they were eliminated Monday night, that the Thrashers were a playoff team, and were undone by bad goaltending. Put Kari Lehtonen in there for the majority of the year and they’re playing Friday night.

However, some of these picks cannot be explained by injuries. I had Buffalo in 9th, the Hurricanes in 13th, and the Rangers in 14th. I would be really embarrassed, but I don’t think too many of you had all three of these teams, let alone two of them, making the playoffs. Who knew that the Rangers would be so good or the ‘Canes would come together? If you say you, I’ll call you a liar. Still, to think they’d be worse than the Leafs, Penguins, and Panthers looks pretty stupid in retrospect.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Calgary Flames
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Nashville Predators
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Detroit Red Wings
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Dallas Stars
10. Columbus Blue Jackets
11. Chicago Blackhawks
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Los Angeles Kings
14. Phoenix Coyotes
15. St. Louis Blues

I fared considerably better in projecting the West, getting 7 of the 8 playoff teams right. And let’s be honest, who out there did not have the Canucks making the postseason? Leaving Dallas out was a bit of a blunder, especially because they’re now my pick to win the Cup, but I didn’t expect Mike Modano to bounce back the way he did. I figured he was done as an impact played. Nor did I think all their Finns would be so good.

Detroit was also much better than I expected them to be. I thought the losses forced on them by the salary cap would hurt much more, but they were able to combat that with big years from Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg while getting the goaltending they needed. It also didn’t hurt that they played in a terrible division during a time when divisional play is emphasized more than ever before.

So what have we learned? I know very little about the Eastern Conference despite the fact I see those teams much more, but on the West, I’m pretty good. Maybe you’ll want to keep that in mind when I make my playoff picks tomorrow.

UPDATE: Jeff over at SISU Hockey is much more inventive than I am and compared a bunch of bloggers’ pre-season predictions to see who fared best. That egomaniac Jes Golbez won (as if he needed another accolade), but at least I’ll take solace in the fact I did better than both Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News. And I beat James Mirtle, so believe my playoff predictions over his.

1 Comments:

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

yes, and as an egomaniac, I can never get enough accolades.

Maybe I ought to make like L. Rob Hubbard and start a religion.

 

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