I’ll be the first to admit that when I don’t have to, I’m not paying attention to ice hockey.
I’m not a fan of it and I’m not sure if it’s a fan of me.
What I am a fan of is making predictions, especially with a new season raring to go on freshly zamboni’d ice.
So what did I miss over the summer, when really, you shouldn’t be paying much mind to a winter sport?
Well, until reading up a little bit, I had no idea who the first pick in the draft was (Aaron Ekblad), that Jarome Iginla joined my “favourite” team (Colorado), that the Phoenix Coyotes no longer exist (it’s the Arizona Coyotes now) and, really, just forgot which teams were realigned into those funky new divisions last year.
There is plenty of knowledge I did retain though. Like the fact that league is in pretty good shape and actually looking into expansion – you know, because the teams in Florida, Carolina and Arizona are working out SOOO well and shouldn’t be moved.
Also, there’s no Olympics this year, so the season should start and end at reasonable time without that idiotic two-week break to send 5% of the league’s players.
And perhaps both most shockingly and importantly, Gary Bettman is no longer the worst commissioner in sports. Not even his incompetence and the NHL’s repeated work stoppages could knock Roger Goodell off of that podium now.
But in fairness, could you imagine how terrible Bettman would come off if he had to deal with the same stuff that Goodell did.
As for my picks, I look forward to seeing a large percentage wrong at season’s end.
Metropolitan division: Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers.
Atlantic division: Boston, Montreal, Tampa Bay.
East wild cards:, Toronto, New York Islanders.
Pacific division: Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose.
Central division: Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas.
West wild cards: Colorado, Nashville.
Hart trophy: Sidney Crosby, PIT
Art Ross trophy: Steven Stamkos, TB
Norris trophy: Shea Weber, NAS
Vezina trophy: Carey Price, MTL
Surprises: New York Islanders, Jonathan Bernier (Vezina contender), Columbus, fighting will – thankfully –go down a tick.
Disappointments: Winnipeg Jets, Alberta teams, Minnesota, the East in general.
Eastern Conference final: Boston Bruins over Pittsburgh Penguins.
Western Conference final: Chicago Blackhawks over L.A. Kings.
Stanley Cup: Chicago Blackhawks.