Okay, here comes one of my favorite times of the hockey calendar. Not just the start of playoffs - yay! - but a time to reflect on just how horribly wrong - or surprisingly accurate - my predictions were from the start of the season. Without further ado we bring you first the Western Conference:
1) San Jose
7) St. Louis
How It Rolled:
1 San Jose
7 Los Angeles
What Made Me Look Good:
- Picked Vancouver to win their division, and they did. Probably one of the only things I can brag about in the West. Or period this year. And, yes, it's the twins team now. Injury to Daniel or not, Henrik has made leaps and bounds and now is getting much more full on league recognition for being one of the best, period.
- "I may be alone in this, but I do not see how Bouwmeester makes this team THAT much better. He improves the defense, but even though he was lauded as the best thing out there, he's never proven to me that he's anything beyond the most boring intermission interview next to "Captain Mumbles" (Chris Drury)"
I can't take pride in much, so I'll take pride in this. In this season, Bouwmeester has 3 goals. Damn, even Wade Redden has 2 goals! Wade's also - how, we do not know - a +8. Jay-Bo ended the season a -4. So for $100,000 less, Redden is...a steal. (Kidding, kidding).
- San Jose - "Who's to say what will happen after, but I expect them to be one of the best in the West in the regular season;" My other correct position pick here. Of course the question is always, but where to go from here?
Why I Suck At This -
- I not only thought Edmonton would be better, I thought they'd be a playoff team. Wrong. Wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.
- Colorado "In fact, my only thought, as previously mentioned, is that I feel strongly that Colorado will end up last in the conference for a second year in a row.But anything can happen, right?"
How wrong I was about Colorado. I picked them to finish 30th of 30 teams. They have secured themselves a playoff berth. Congrats to them. Very impressive group of young players there.
- Ducks - "This team is stacked. I see no reason why they won't be at the top of the conference." haha, haha. Ha. Yeah, sadly I'm happy (minus Hiller, and Koivu, and Selanne) this team gets a break. Time for the other southern cali team to get some playoff love.
-PHX - "But I am just not sure that they are able to overcome all the emotional and on-ice difficulties." Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And never so happy to be wrong.! ;)
- Nashville - "but if I had to guess, this is not a year they make the playoffs or come as close as they had been." - Pekke Rinne solved all doubts. They can win on defense.
And now, the Eastern Conference:
6) New Jersey
How it Rolled:
2) New Jersey
Okay, I think based on the general suckiness of this, I will do one more year (2010-2011) and if I suck this badly again...I give up the prediction game. (maybe...) Horrific. Disgusting. And this is the conference I predicted 6-8 in last year. Now I'm down to 5 of 8, which sounds better than it really is, if I'm being honest with myself.
What Made Me Look Good:
"Until someone can prove to me that Carey Price is the real deal, I will still think them stupid for wasting a perfectly better and perfectly willing goalie in Jaroslav Halak."
I've been touting Halak for years. It only took most of the season and past Olympic break for some fans in MTL to see that the guy wasn't a joke. And this IS NOT a knock on Shane Doan's cousin here.
Caps "I believe they'll be where they were last year, on top of the division and at the top of the conference." I know, I know. No one saw this one coming!
Why I Suck At This:
Boston "Do they even miss Kessel?" Yeah, okay. I know we'll never be able to say for sure how Boston would have done had Thomas had a better year and Savard not had so many injuries, but I guess we can say, yes, Kessel did mean something more to this team than I thought.
And for the Rangers. . .
"The Rangers are a better team with the coach they now have - with his go-go-go attitude and his hatred for anything less than 100% effort. This team may finally come to know what accountability means."
I can stop there right?
(More Rangers analysis on the way, as promised.)
So overall, a crappy follow-up in year two to predictions. (And I apologize because I would love to have taken a deeper look at just who improved/declined and by how much, as well as answer some key questions. Unfortunately, as this year proved, not enough time in the day). But predictions are just that. There is no perfect system. One less injury? One better road trip? The league is so close that may just be the difference between in and out, and 9th and 14th. To be honest.
We'll see how I do...next year!