In the spirit of the return of the national (unhealthy) obsession I am providing 10 fearless predictions about upcoming NHL season below the jump.
10 – Detroit will win the president’s trophy
No team has as much skill from top to bottom as the Red Wings and they will once again be the class of the league from Oct. to April. It won’t be close. It says here the Red Wings clinch the best record overall with 10 games to play.
9 – But Detroit won’t win the Cup
The NHL will turn a blind eye again as the No. 8 seed mugs the Wings out of the playoffs. The league doesn’t much like the smug, European-ness of Detroit and many won’t shed a tear at Hockeytown’s stunning departure to upstart Columbus.
8 – European expansion will continue to be talked about all fall
And it will continue to be shot down by stubborn, conservative hockey “traditionalists” that are scared silly of anything that falls outside of the comfortable (many of these folks would be perfectly happy if the league were to retreat to six teams again, actually). Meanwhile, the NBA will quietly develop a solid plan to enter the European market and will end the season miles ahead of hockey on that front. Two years from now the b-ball world will be excited by the possibilities that the Barcelona Dragons provide, while hockey will be contemplating moving bankrupt Atlanta to Rochester, NY.
7 – Toronto will be real bad
But the Canadian team with the worst record at the end of the season will be the even-less-of-a-plan-than T.O. Canucks. The other four Canadian teams will make the playoffs, but three of the four will do so as low seeds.
6 – During the Leafs Western Canada swing, Oilers fans will start a tradition that will quickly spread to NHL arenas around the league
Whenever the ex-pat Leafs fans start up with the Go Leafs Go, the home team’s fans will counter with a brilliantly cutting “SIX-TY SEV-EN (clap clap clap clap clap) SIX-TY SEV-EN.”
5 – The NHL comeback player of the year will be Nikolai Khabibulin
Who, after a November trade out of Chicago, will lead the Washington Capitals to the Eastern Final. Chicago, despite being the sexy dark horse pick, will once again miss the playoffs.
4 - Sidney Crosby will get hurt again
But this time he will be out for a long stretch causing the Pens to slip all the way down to the No 7 seed. But, he will come back and lead Pittsburgh to an upset first round win.
3 – Leafs fans will watch in horror as Toronto slips to the No. 6 overall pick in the draft lottery
Despite having the third most balls in the bin. John Tavares will go to the New York Islanders where he will immediately be called “the next Mike Bossy.”
2 – The surprise team of the year will be the Minnesota Wild
Who will put up a 100 point season and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. No one will notice until it’s too late.
1 – But, the Wild will lose the final to the…
Montreal Canadiens. Mats Sundin will win the Conn Smythe. It's just too perfect.