Archive for October, 2009

Showdown in the West….

Posted: October 1, 2009 in General, NHL, Oilers, Uncategorized

valley web 1 Well, it is going to be a rootin’ tootin’ dust up in the West this year.  The predictions will be fast and furious, with so many teams in the mix, it could be an injury to the wrong player, or some outperformers stepping it up.  Teams with lots of depth exceding expectations, or stars falling flat on their faces.  Here are my standings predictions….and a more.

1.  San Jose.  The best in the west is still the best in the west.  No Cheechoo, No Michalek, but bring on the Heatley.   Not only that, when you need a top grinding centre, Manny Malhotra drops from the sky and signs for $700K.  Maybe a little light on depth on the blueline, but enough to keep them atop the standings.

2. Chicago.  Patrick “20 cent” Kane and Toews are going to improve.  Hossa to come, solid defense.  If Huet is just average they are top 4 in the West.   Adding John Madden is going to help on the defensive side of the ice.

3.  Vancouver.  By virtue of Division leaders ranking,  these guys won’t have more points than Detroit, but they will win their division.  Solid blueline additions, with Ehrhoff,  Schneider…could be the best group of 6 in the entire league.  Shirikov is a darkhorse for Rookie of the Year.  If they can score some goals, with Luongo and that blueline, they might make some noise come May.

4.  Detroit.  Always too good to fall very far.  Top echelon offense and two way players, Lidstrom and solid support on the back end.  It didn’t matter that Osgood was pedestrian all year.

5.  Columbus.  My surprise to do something this year and continue to advance as a franchise.  With the return of Brassard, a solid but underapreciated defense, great goaltending, this team will win games with Hitch at the helm.

6.  Calgary.  The devil to the south has another edition of a solid team.  Playoffs with their defense corps is almost a certainty.  Adding Jaybo is huge, a full year of Jokinen will help the offense, and that goofy looking guy in net is generally not too bad.

7.  Anaheim.  Solid enough to make the dance.  Top line as good as any in the league.  Questionable blueline after Niedermayer.  Great goaltending duo.  Might have some trouble keeping the puck out of their net because they looking to have some defensive definciency up front…but Carlyle is a crackerjack coach.

8.  Edmonton.  Either one in or one out.  Don’t see it much finishing more either way.  Quinn and Renney are enough to add at least three wins to this team.  Bounce back years by Cogliano and Gagner, and having Visnovsky for the full year should equate to a playoff spot.

9. St. Louis.  Could easily usurp the Oil for eigth spot.  Erik Johnson healthy, great group of young forwards, and solid tending.

10.  Los Angeles.  This is going to be another good team.  Good group of forwards, great combination of offense, defense and toughness on the back end.  A little experience and this team is going to start to make some waves.

11.  Nashville.  Starting to see a big drop off in talent.  Offensively will struggle.  Great defense and goaltending will keep them in a lot of games.  Pekka Rinne is going to have a very good year.

12.  Minnesota.  Pretty average forward group.  Decent defense.  Great goaltending.  They need to start acquiring some skill up front.  New coach, but will take time to find their new system.

13.  Dallas.  If Turco doesn’t bounce back, it will be very ugly.  Their defense isn’t good.  Their forwards are ok, but not enough for them to win tons of games.

14.  Colorado.  Blueline looks decent, but forward group is a long way from the Sakic, Forsberg, Hejduk days of old.  Duchesne is my favourite for rookie of the year.  Goaltending improves a bit, but going to be a long year in Denver.

15.  Phoenix.  No owner, no coach, no chance.