All right, it's my turn now. While I make it readily apparent on a daily basis that I don't my ass from a hole in the ground, I'll do my best to take a stab at this whole prognostication thing.
Hawks Leading Scorer: Patrick Kane - 38G - 58A - 96P
Hawks Leading Goal Scorer: Marian Hossa - 44G (though, based on the way he's been skullfucking people so far, that could be low).
Number of Games Started By Marty Turco: 56
Number of heart attacks given by Marty Turco: 12
Number of my jokes/observations Sam boosts from our IM conversations for use in the Indian: 23
Biggest Surprise - Tomas Kopecky. While he's an established pro and a former Olympian, he's certainly the butt of a lot of jokes around here, pretty much all of it warranted. But so far this year, he's shown quite a willingness to go to the hard areas of the ice, especially in front of the net. Plus, if he keeps playing well with Jonathan Toews and Hossa, he should eclipse all of his career highs. Though Forklift and his old man hip could pot at least 15 riding shotgun with those two.
Biggest Disappointment - Nick Leddy. It's tough to bill a 19 year old rookie a disappointment before he plays a real game, but I'm saying this through the prism of who he's replacing. For all his expensive faults, we saw what Brian Campbell provides for this team while he was out last year. And though Leddy is a similar type player, his size and inexperience could quite possibly get him run over early this year, causing a hitch in the Hawks' offensive chemistry.
Hawks Regular Season Finish - 104 Pts, 4th in the Western Conference, losing the division to Scum in a Shootout in Game 82. The Hawks will close strong, but it won't be enough to make up the hole they dig themselves early in the year.
Western Conference Standings:
- San Jose
- St. Louis
Eastern Conference Standings:
- Tampa Bay
- New Jersey
(Not So) Outlandish Trade Prediction - Brad Richards will be an L.A. King by season's end
Eastern Conference Representative: Pittsburgh
Western Conference Representative: Chicago
Over the past little while, and more directly last night, I think I've made my stance on Vancouver's current standing as champions of September, and how that will translate down the line. For all the talk of their defensemen, the L.A. Kings are deeper at defense, and have one thing the Nucks' don't - an honest-to-fuck #1 in Drew Doughty. Even if Willie Mitchell is only healthy half the time, their D still scare me far more than Vancouver's does. While they get scoring from a lot of places, they're a little thin at center behind Anze Kopitar, and I think Brad Richards helps get them to the Western Conference Finals...but only that far, where they'll run into a possessed Jonathan Toews. Like the Ghost and the Darkness once they tasted human flesh, with one Cup win already, he and Kane only crave more.
While I like Boston's lineup, I like it a lot more when Marc Savard can see straight, and after Big Z, I don't see a whole lot on their blue line to be in awe of, even if Tukka Rask is the truth. Philadelphia will be in it again this year, but the loss of Simon Gagne is going to hurt a lot more than one would think, and barring the acquisition of Tomas Vokoun, their netminding leaves a lot to be desired. Which leaves us with Pittsburgh. Yeah we know all about Sid and Geno. But I love their two defensive pickups in Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin. Even if no one can trust Marc-Andre Fleury as far as they can throw Kyle Wellwood, he's shown an ability to do it in the past with good d-corps in front of him. So this all leads us to a 1992 rematch, as well as a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, except now the Igloo is actually going to get blown up for reals. As far as the result, I can't even wrap my head around how that action movie would end up.