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A look back at my 2010-2011 preseason predictions

April 12, 2011

Back in October I made my annual prognostications, some were right, some were wrong. All in all I guessed 5 of 8 teams in the East who actually made the tournament and 6 of 8 in the West. At the time I predicted Vancouver to beat the Penguins in 7 games to take the Stanley Cup. Obviously, injuries have effected my Stanley Cup picks, which I’ll have for you tomorrow along with all my first round picks.

Eastern Conference

1. Washington Capitals– Because it’s what they do. They play in a weak conference and are made to dominate teams in the regular season format. The real test for the Caps will be… winning in the PLAYOFFS. (ACTUAL: 1)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins– The Pens aren’t always at the top of the East by the end of the season but they know how to win. I see them taking the very deep Atlantic as they ratchet up their determination to be dynastic. (ACTUAL: 4)
3. Boston Bruins– I think the Bruins are the most talented team in the Northeast but consistency is always a question that begs to be answered. New additions and increased depth give them the chance to win the division. (ACTUAL: 3)
4. Philadelphia Flyers– Aside from the question of goaltending, the Flyers have the necessary mix of experience, grit, and talent to do very well again this season. If they get the goalie situation to a manageable solution, they could be poised for another long run. (ACTUAL: 2)
5. New Jersey Devils– They have serious cap issues this season which could factor into fatigue. They’re currently playing with 15 skaters! Their talent is there and they have a great core of player that could power them through. (ACTUAL: 11)
6. Buffalo Sabres– Buffalo is do for a reality check this year but they are still good enough to be a solid playoff contender. Miller’s numbers will come down but the wins will be there at the end of the year. (ACTUAL: 7)
7. Atlanta Thrashers– The Thrashers got a lot better over the offseason, gaining winning experience and a bunch of talent. They also have the advantage of playing in the Southeast. (ACTUAL: 12)
8. Toronto Maple Leafs– Sorry folks, the Leafs are going to be alright this season. Brian Burke is building a solid team from the ground up and with a lot of questionable teams fighting for playoff spots, the Leafs can come through. (ACTUAL: 10)

Western Conference

1. San Jose Sharks– Because, like the Capitals, they are built for being able to dominate teams if they only play them once. I actually think Niemi is an upgrade over the aging Nabokov and the offense will be there, like it always is. (ACTUAL: 2)
2. Vancouver Canucks– If both Sedin’s stay healthy then this may be the best team in the league. Luongo has to be a little more consistent when it counts but this teams forwards are tremendous in all zones and their defense is better this season. (ACTUAL: 1)
3. Detroit Red Wings– They old guys have one more run left in them. They had injury problems last year but know how to get it done when on the ice together. (ACTUAL: 3)
4. Los Angeles Kings– A young team that is only getting better. They have a goaltender controversy between two studs and all those high first round picks are getting into their prime now. (ACTUAL: 7)
5. Colorado Avalanche– If Chris Anderson proves that last year wasn’t a fluke, this team could be very dangerous. They have a great group of young forwards and although their defense is suspect, their offense can play in the run-and-gun West. (ACTUAL: 14)
6. Chicago Blackhawks– The defending champs are 6th because I hate their goaltenders and because they lost a ton of good, clutch depth. Plus, a lot of Cup winners suffer hangovers the next year, and the fun-loving Hawks could do just that. (ACTUAL: 8 )
7. St. Louis Blues– Great young forwards, great young goalie, and pretty good young defense. The only question is if they can mature and learn how to win in tough spots together. (ACTUAL: 11)
8. Phoenix Coyotes– I think the Yotes are in for a comedown. Bryzgalov played out of his head last year and the shaky forwards scored a lot more than I thought they could. Their defense isn’t great and we could see them go from 2008 Bruins to 2009 Bruins very quickly. (ACTUAL: 6)

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