Another NHL season is just one day away.
Time to stop talking entry drafts. Time to stop talking contracts and money.
Time to stop talking training camp cuts and preseason games.
On Wednesday the real season begins, today Calgarypuck.com takes a look at
the season upon us, as each writer takes a stab at the standings as well as
picking some of the season's surprises, both good and bad.
But first ... to help the reader choose how much faith should be applied to
each scribe, we take a look back at last year's predictions. (Last
Last year only one of the three Calgarypuck writers had the Flames making the
playoffs. Aaron McCracken and D'Arcy McGrath had them 9th, while the slightly
more optimistic Rick Charlton had them in the dance at 8th place.
McCracken successfully picked six of the eight playoff teams, including an
astute choice of Vancouver at 8th. His two missteps were the Dallas Stars and
Charlton was also right on six of eight, placing too much faith in Dallas and
Calgary. He had Edmonton in 9th, right where they finished.
McGrath also had six of eight teams correctly in the dance, including the out
on a limb choice of Phoenix. He too was burned Dallas and Edmonton's
All three writers had even more difficulty in the East, with each scribe
hitting for only five of eight playoff teams - most took hits on the Capitals
It's funny to point out that the eventual conference champion Bruins placed
8th, 9th and 11th in Calgarypuck's preview feature.
All three pundits had the Philadelphia Flyers in the finals, a feat they came
well short of dropping their opening series to the Senators. Charlton had them
playing the Avalanche and McCracken the Stars, both had them losing out. McGrath
picked the Stanley Cup winning Red Wings over the Flyers, suggesting Hasek's
goaltending would be the difference.
All three writers hit pay dirt in the surprising team category.
Charlton predicted a big season for the Islanders, and he was right as they
advanced to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
McCracken picked big things from the Canadiens, and they didn't disappoint,
garnering a playoff spot and taking out the favoured Bruins.
McGrath was on the money as well, picking the Coyotes to make waves in the
Least Likely To Repeat
When it came to picking which team would fall on it' proverbial face, some
interesting suggestions were put forward.
Charlton predicted a tough season by both the Leafs and Blues. Both teams
made the playoffs, but the Blues had difficulties all season.
McCracken picked the Penguins and was dead on as the Pens missed the playoffs
due to injuries to their captain Mario Lemieux.
McGrath, well he picked the Canucks to pratt fall, and was looking pretty
good to be right through Christmas, that is until the Canucks turned on the
after burners and charged into the playoffs.
Other choices ...
Rookie of the Year
Charlton - Pavel Brendl ... whoops
McCracken - Rostislav Klesla ... close, no cigar.
McGrath - Illya Kovaluch ... edged out by teammate Dany Heatley.
Charlton - Theo Fleury ... whoops
McCracken - Eric Lindros ... Big "E" had a solid season
McGrath - Joe Juneau ... nice try.
Break out Player
McCracken - Tim Connolly ... nope.
McGrath - Joe Thornton ... jumped up with the NHL leaders.
Better luck this year?