Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Western Conference Preview

Let me start off by saying that if you're looking for detailed analysis then you should hope over to MC's site:) I'm just throwing out opinions here and getting it all on the board before the season runs too deep.

1. Det: So much of predicts are based on your division and CBJ and Stl will be better and so will Chi maybe but that's still a weaker division than the NWest or Pac so 1st place in the Cen should be 1st place in the Conf. I know that Shanny and Yzerman are gone but this is now officially ZBerg and Datsyuk's team and that should still be enough for 1st place.

2. SJ: Using the same logic..Van has RL, Minny's much improved and Col shouldn't make the playoffs but they should still have some fight in them. This makes the Pac the second weakest so SJ takes that divison and 2nd place in the Conf. Phx and LA should be absolute pushovers and SJ should put up some gaudy numbers against those teams. Nabby's apparently now 100% healthy and if that's the case I'd say SJ's no more than 5 points lesser than Det come the last tally.

3. Edm: I believe in Roli and I believe in this team's PP and I believe in the fact that the BOA decides first place and that two years of having their asses kicked in said matchup will spur the Oilers on to at last 4 wins in those eight games and I think that's enough for 1st. Note: I'll have a little more on the Oilers at the end of this if anyone's still awake.

4. Nsh: 2nd best team in the weakest div. Yes they're 0-2 and Vokun is looking Salo like and maybe he's not recovered fully but right now I'll say that's just a blip and that another year's exp for the young dmen and depth down the middle previously untold for Nsh, ie Legwand-Arnott-Vasicek, means they hold onto 4th barely beating out...

5. Ana: the Ducks who grab onto 5th. I've seen some of their early play and it's depressing how they control the play with Prongs and Neids there. Plus Selanne's still skating well and some of the predicted '07 lesser lights, ie McDonald and Kunitz, still have some consistent shine at this early point.

6: Cgy: Kipper brings them scratching and clawing into 6th. I'm not saying the panicky CalPuck crowd are in the know but if you're not worried about the Flames offense then Jim Jones has a vacation spot for you!! If the Cgy PP isn't top 10 in the leauge then they're gonna be fighting to make the playoffs.

7: Dal: The NHL's Atlanta Braves..of course it's much harder to make MLB's postseason but for all my friends who hated the Braves I'd tell them to wait for Oct and they'd get their comeuppance. That's Dal right now. Enough chops to beat anyone in the regular season but exposed by the better comp come April.

8: Minny: It's certainly not a smart bet to simutainously wager on the health of Kim Jonsson and Pavel Demitra but even if they play 70 games apiece I think that's enough for the Wild to grab the last spot.

9: Van - RL comes as advertised and I'm sorry to report that Van won't be as bad as I thought or hoped they'd be. Their banking on the ABBA line plus the PP and netminding and that's enough for a top 10 spot.

10: CBJ - I think MC made a good point when he said that over in the EC Atl always manages to just miss and I think that will be the case with the Jackets. Of course that's assuming that LeClaire can carry the ball and if they're to step into the playoffs I think they'll need things to happen like Kesla playing a full year and taking a leap or kids like Broule taking a step as well.

11: Col - Just not enough there anymore and they'd need a big time bounceback from one of this summer's particpants in the Paris HIlton gangbang, Jose Theodore.

12: Chi - I'll say that Havlat and Handzus have some fun up front and Seabrooke and Keith keep improving and that Khabby bounces back a little

13: Stl - Lots of changes but I still hate John Davidson.

14: Phx - Just escaping the cellar because Nagy and Doan have big years and maybe Jovo too counting stats wise

14. LA - Horrible. At least the women are hot.

Promised Oilers Note: Anyone familiar with my writings/ramblings over the years know that I'm not a homer when it comes to the Oil. Up until last year I described myself as a pessimist/realist when it came to Edm's fortunes. And when I think that I picked this team for first and I look at it's D corps then I wonder if maybe I'm not the guy that should be running the Bates Motel. But I don't think Lowe's gonna wait until March of this season before he addresses the dmen and if Greene isn't gonna be dragging people down and heading to the box then we'll just need one dman to step in instead of two. Lowe had a big run last year and he knows what being at home means for the playoffs so I think he moves somewhat early and goes for the division. The Oilers have the chips and the cap room so I'd be expecting a more solid d group by Christmas at the latest.


Blogger Loxy said...

Dennis wrote this?

10/11/2006 10:54 pm  
Anonymous uni said...

I'd take another look at the Coyotes, coming out of the gate they're shooting a whole lot of nothing.

10/12/2006 1:28 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Dennis, have you been drinking the koolaid? ;)

I could see the Oilers beating out the Flames myself - I haven't picked them as such but its possible.

And if the D can't get the job done (tonight will be a good test for Laddy Smid) then Lowe will make his move sooner rather then later.

And put me among the doubters for the Yotes and the Wild too for that matter - and I have it in writing!

10/12/2006 11:29 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Not drinking the juice:) but I just think Roli's gonna make up for some of the D's suction and I think the PP's gonna be gold.

10/12/2006 11:45 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Roli really is an odd case, huh? Cosh had a good post on him last spring.

I think that that signing may have been gold for the Oilers. This guy is a late bloomer and while 37 today, I think, he doesn't have a lot of miles on him.

And he has always been overlooked - put it this way, he has all of the motivation in the world. A couple of good years for the Oil and he will be remembered as a pretty good goaltender rather then a career backup who got lucky playing behind Wild on Jack Lemaire.

10/12/2006 1:31 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I think they'll probably need 5 or 6 wins out of the BofA to take the division. Possible but not likely. If they're hanging around within striking distance of CowTown at Christmas time, and the key guys stay healthy ... they've got a shot.

I don't see them dropping Lupul back in the lineup anytime soon. And he's probably going to drag down 10 & 94, at least in the early going. I would think that this troika will have to be solidly in the black by season's end for the team to be safely in a playoff spot. Right now that doesn't seem likely to me, but ya never know.

10/12/2006 5:17 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Black Dog: Good point on Roli, the "still has something to prove" thing is pretty importnat with an older player I think. If nothing else there will be at least one Oiler jacked to play the Wild this year :-) and a few Oiler fans as well (Roli's family).

10/12/2006 5:20 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


A curious thing with L.A, I mean they look gawd awful on paper to me too, in a rebuilding mode for sure, but they are getting a lot more love from the bookies than you'd think. At least on opening lines. Maybe they're not as bad as they seem, I dunno, worth keeping an eye on anyways.

10/12/2006 5:23 pm  

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