September 30, 2009

Pointless Predictions for the 2009-10 NHL Season, part II

... Part I ...


This is worth posting for a second time.

One of my favorite videos ever. I can't really explain it. It's unintentionally funny and sort of depressing at the same time.


Take your pick between Colorado and Phoenix for worst in the West. I give the slight nod to Phoenix because Colorado's defensemen run a tad bit deeper, but then you're getting into "tallest midget" territory. There's really nothing interesting to say about this team which in a way feels like a damn shame. Who would've thought that after the wars of the late 90's that some Wings fans would consider Nashville a greater rival than the Avs?


They don't seem bad enough to be the third worst team in the conference, but they have a serious uphill climb to reach the playoffs with the forwards they have. They've got a good group of defensemen headed up by the Weber/Suter pairing, and if they can get lights-out goaltending to go with it they may yet sneak in. Never rule out the Egg Man, we always say.


I've decided that I like the lineup the Kings have, so I'm going to be a closet Kings fan this year. Well actually if I just told you then I guess it's not really a "closet" type of deal. But then again you all assume that I'm a raving homosexual and I've never officially come out of the closet, so I guess that's an example of being a closet-something while, at the same time, it's not really a closet thing. But if I'm a closet Kings fan while I'm in the closet and a non-closet Wings fan when I'm out of the closet, does that make me a gay out-of-the-closet Red Wings fan? Oh dear God I think I just heard the Earth stop rotating.


I'm thinking that they're going to be the 4th best team in the division again, which would make it extremely unlikely that the BJ's, Blues, Hawks and Wings all make the playoffs two straight years. But like so many other teams in the West, I wouldn't be surprised if they finish much higher. This conference is very, very deep (or evened out by the salary cap ... whatever).


Many people last year, including me, thought that the Stars were going to be good. They weren't. They had some injuries and stuff, but mainly it was the atrocious performance of Marty Turco. Just an awful person, really. So this year, they made some marginal changes to help their defense and penalty killing, lose Zubov to Europe, and return the same bunch that produced a terrible power play last year. I don't see how they're going to go anywhere but sideways. But if Turco miraculously gets his groove back and turns last year into a distant memory, then his story single-handedly warrants the ressurection of Unsolved Mysteries.


Look, if I put the Blues in the playoffs, then I've got 13 of 16 playoff teams from 2009 making it back in 2010, which just can't happen. Not that 12 out of 16 is that much better, but still.



Every single year -- every single year I think the Oilers are going to be better than they actually are. This year is no different. By me saying they will squeak into the playoffs probably means that they'll actually finish 13th. They've got a bunch of talented forwards who probably won't put up as many points as I think, a group of talented defensemen who probably aren't as deep as I think, and a goalie who is probably a lot more average than anyone thinks. I know this, and yet I can't help myself.


I admit that they're good, but am I the only one who wonders if the Flames might be a bit overrated?


I keep reading about how the Wild don't have enough offense, and I disagree. They aren't going to blow anyone out of the building, but I think they'll be good enough to make the playoffs at the very least. Havlat, Koivu, Bouchard, Brunette, Nolan, and Sykora are all proven offensive commodities, and they've got some depth guys with upside too. They've also got a great set of defenders and a superb goaltending tandem. With the shackles of the Lemaire system taken off, this could be exactly like the 2005-06 Detroit Pistons regular season, when Flip Saunders came in and a great defensive team added more of a scoring dimension to their game -- except this would involve a lot more white people.


This is the weakest Duck defense in some time, but they add Saku Koivu and Joffrey Lupul to a lineup that was dynamite on the power play last season and could really pump up their goal totals. Getzlaf, Neidermayer and Perry are going to pick up the elbowing slack in the absence of Pronger, and the momentum from their playoff run should all be enough to spark them to at least a 5 seed, if not a division crown.


Public perception, to me anyway, seems to suggest that the Blackhawks have actually gotten better as the last few months have gone by, without having played a single game. Maybe it's due to the growing excitement that the Wings are getting old at a couple of key positions and people are rushing to predict their ever-so-slight decline, while the Hawks are right behind them, ready to take the torch and run. I'm not seeing this. Martin Havlat was really fucking good for them last year and Hossa won't be duplicating his production because of shoulder surgery. Outside of that, they have a very good all-around team that should make the division race a little bit tighter this year, but not enough to take the division yet.


They might not have a true #1 defender, but 1 through 6 (or 7 or 8) they could boast a stronger blue line than anybody else in the league. They could have the most talented goalie in the league. They might even have the best set of identical twins in the league. In a very competitive Northwest Division, I think the Canucks and their all-around balance will win out. On the other hand, I did find this line from Babcock's Death Stare to be one of my favorites of the summer:

"I have this theory that every Vancouver Canuck is overrated."

Explore that theory, Kyle. It would surely make for a good read.


I give them credit for not blowing up the entire team after bowing out in the first round. They outplayed the Ducks for the most part but didn't have the extra gear that the Wings had to put them away. They weren't going to find that with a quick fix, so instead they dumped a couple salaries and traded for Dany Heatley to shake things up, which still leaves them with a very talented squad. But yet, just as it was funny that the Rangers got Gaborik (in a "don't really need to explain it" kind of way) the same goes for the Sharks getting Heatley. That by itself would make me weary of the Sharks finally having that breakthrough year, but once again they should rule the regular season.


Holmstrom - Datsyuk - Franzen
Cleary - Zetterberg - Bertuzzi
Leino - Filppula - Williams
Maltby - Helm - Draper

Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Stuart
Lebda - Ericsson


Look at that team. Not just the names themselves, but the tornado shape is creates as you go down the lines. It must be some kind of sign, right? Of course it is. The Red Wings are totally going to Bill Paxton their way through the West this season like a renegade F5.

Red Wings over Oilers
Flames over Sharks
Wild over Canucks
Blackhawks over Ducks

Red Wings over Flames
Blackhawks over Wild

Red Wings over Blackhawks


Red Wings over Bruins


Kyle said...

That Doan video is just magic. Just when you think it ceases to be funny it just comes right back again.

Good stuff. Insightful and entertaining as always.

Fox said...

You can be in my fantasy league if you promise to waste your third-round pick on Ales Hemsky, because, you know, this is going to be the year he breaks out!

That whole burnt orange instead of silver-grey is killing me in that Sharks color scheme. If that puts me in the closet, and it has to be this closet, can we get a sort of Travolta/Cruise dynamic going? Anything more traditional likely won't work for me.

Baroque said...

In the Sharks paragraph, I assume you mean "wary" instead of "weary."

Although both work, considering how often the same predictions are made for San Jose. :)

(And I commend you for actually ADMITTING that the predictions are pointless, instead of acting as though they actually have some validity considering no teams have played any games yet. Very honest of you.)

Anonymous said...

"Look at that team. Not just the names themselves, but the tornado shape is creates as you go down the lines. It must be some kind of sign, right? Of course it is."

Really, that's the first thing that comes to mind when you see this shape? It reminds me of the Lord Of The Rings movie. My husband, a huge Tolkien fan was anticipating the movie for months. Opening day we got in line at the theater and got first row balcony seats. At the climatic scene at the end when whatever the "evil powers that be" makes all hell break loose (I am not much of a Tolkien fan so forgive my ignorance of the names) my husband looks at me and says "cool, huh?". I said "Leave it to a bunch of Tolkien nerds to interpret total evil as a flaming vagina." Hubby said I ruined the movie for him. I am going on record here that the Wings this year will be a flaming vagina. I mean that in a good way.

Oh, and the Tigers are KILLING me.


mrfluffy02 said...

I was going to make some sort of epic (...not) comment but the flaming vagina from above just has me all...twitterbated (?)

Oh...uh...Hossa. Being a force for, eh? Yeah...just wait until he get's Kronwalled or Disco-ed by Stu. Havlat will send him a text typed backwards that says "How 'bout that soft beige color on the UA Center ceiling?"

Hossa replies-

"I think I just tasted my meniscus."

T/L said...

You took the words right out of my brain on your Edmonton prediction.

Triple Deke Staff said...

@ Fox:

If we're talking Pat Falloon-era Sharks, then I can go with silver. But if they want to use that gross orange and teal combo then it must be exploited.

@ Baroque:

Glad to see you're still alive. I promise to not mention Bertuzzi the entire year if it means you'll drop your boycott. As for the predictions: we've made it a mini-tradition to insert "pointless" before each prediction, no matter how big or small, for the reason you mentioned. Fun to write, but ultimately a worthless waste of energy.

@ Tram:

No offense taken on the LOTR, not a huge fan. The only one I've seen was the second one (and I say "seen" loosely as I fell asleep in the theater halfway through.

You know, it would be more convenient if we had those drop-down reply tabs that they have at SB Nation. Oh well.

- Tyler

J.J. from Kansas said...

"The Red Wings are totally going to Bill Paxton their way through the West this season like a renegade F5."

Most of us aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto.

To paraphrase a movie that involves a donkey-screwing scene, in regards to the LOTR movies "those movies were boring as hell; all they did was walk. Hell, even the trees walked."

Osrt said...

"Leave it to a bunch of Tolkien nerds to interpret total evil as a flaming vagina"

god said it was the vagina's fault!

p.s. hi Baroque!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog. Never fails to make me laugh.

cmk said...

Several points that I will make--even though they are pointless and no one wants to read them:

--When I read the word 'closet' for the third time, my brain stopped working. That will explain the inane remarks following.

--I STILL think Iginla would be the most fun person EVER to go out and get drunk with.

--The Wild have the ugliest uniforms in the NHL. The colors always remind me of Christmas--my least favorite holiday ever.

--Even as one of the biggest LOTR fan living, I thought 'flaming vagina' was brilliantly funny.

Fox said...

@Tyler: Falloon era Sharks? The only orange in the Brian Campbell era Sharks was in Soupy's hair. I'm convinced that the orange is there to make us Shark fans buy into the Black Armor idea ... black sucks, but of the alternative is orange ... hell, they may as well have kept that Pronger pick back in the day, and they could roll a whole team of pumpkinheads.

Worcester kept the silver/grey:

The lettering is not great, but better than black. If anyone here has current K-Wing pics, that would nice (though sharing the affiliation with the jack-o-lanterns does not bode well).

Baroque said...

But he's going to make my favorite hockey team suck. I don't want to watch his vortex of crap spraying all over Pavel and Hank and Nick and Nik and Helm and the other guys I like. He's HORRIBLE and teams are better off without him. It will be a DISASTER. Whoever was on his line with Calgary, they improved when he was taken away. I don't need to see that happen to guys like Zetterberg and Cleary. They both deserve better.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you Baroque.


Osrt said...

Probably true Ms. B, but environment is stronger than will/ idiocy. Or so I'm hoping.

Tuzzi looked good with Cleary and Z during the exhibition game in Sweden. He had a nice goal via a great breakaway pass from Pav. He also set up Cleary for a great scoring chance. I don't remember him throwing his weight around, but he looked solid out there.

Can we lure you back with candy? A high-powered microscope perhaps?

J.J. from Kansas said...

Baroque, I know you're mad at the wings, but why take it out on all of the 19 by boycotting A2Y? We accept Tyler from Arizona and nobody love-hates the Wings better than he does. Come back, please!

Triple Deke Staff said...

I feel like this should be an hourly feature: pointing out goofy things from ESPN's hockey department.

Their "power rankings"

- Tampa as the 10th best team in the league right now. Only two spots behind the Bruins.

- The Flyers at #3.

- The Canucks at #17??

- And your Red Wings at 6. Strangely that seems like the least weird out of the previous things.

creasemonkey said...

Baroque, how about a compromise?When Bertuzzi is scratched from the game, come join the fun.

Chris said...

You know, I don't agree at all Baroque...he's said all the right things, he's in what has been great shape. Give the man a chance. I don't understand irrational hate.

Osrt said...

Ms B is hyperrational and hasn't liked Tuzzi or his game for a long long time. This is a protest.

Makes sense to me, even if I miss her words.

Chris said...

If you could have Bert in his pre-murder days, I think anyone likes that game. He dominated out there. (I know this is a hypothetical)