October 8th, 2002



2002-2003 NHL Preview

by Calgarypuck.com Staff

It's time.

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 year's piece)

Click the Link below to read each writer's take!
Rick Charlton's 02-03 Predictions
D'Arcy McGrath's 02-03 Predictions
Aaron McCracken's 02-03 Predictions
Marc Ciampa's 02-03 Predictions

The West

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 Edmonton Oilers.

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 misfortunes.

The East

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 and Penguins.

It's funny to point out that the eventual conference champion Bruins placed 8th, 9th and 11th in Calgarypuck's preview feature.

Stanley Cup

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.

Surprise Team

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 west.

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.

Comeback Player

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?


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