Well, it's that time. We've done all the previews, analyzed the minutiae to a nauseating point, ran through every combination of lines through our heads, been overly optimistic and pessimistic. And now it's time to put our nuts on the line and look into our crystal pint glass and predict the future. I'll bat first.
Hawks leading point getter: Patrick Kane, with 101. Or maybe that's the stay in rehab, not sure.
Hawks leading goal scorer: Jonathan Toews with 41.
Number of different pornstars McClure references this season: 23
Biggest Surprise: Jack Skille - it might not be through sheer numbers, but I think Jack is going to prove a very effective third line player, including in his own zone, which no one would have guessed.
Biggest Disappointment: Viktor Stalberg - Though I see where he could be in the previous category, Leafs fans reports of him shying away from contact after a concussion does not bode well when moving into a conference with a lot more size and snarl than the East.
Number of Committed Indian Issues Sam thinks should have been better: All of 'em, at least until he hangs himself (but only in a kinky sexual manner, not suicidal)
Central: Hawks, but only by a point or two over Scum
Pacific: Sharks, but only by a point or two over LA
Northwest: Canucks in a walk.
Southeast: Washington, as if there were another team.
Western Conference Playoff seeds:
Nashville (whether they need to or not, they just will)
Eastern Playoff Seeds
Eastern Conference Champ: Boston
Western Conference Champ: Chicago
Yes, the Hawks have had to take a step back over the summer. But I don't see where anyone in the West has taken a giant leap forward. The Canucks have added only two second pairing d-men, one of which the Hawks ate for lunch in the first round last year, and how did the last star d-man from Florida who went to Western Canada work out? That team is still softer than McClure's dick at about 3am on a Friday night. The Sharks will get more contributions from younger players this year, but they've stood still. Scum are counting on health from an aging squad, and if Howard hits a sophomore slumped they are proper fucked.
In the East, I went back and forth between Pittsburgh and Boston. The B's are loaded down the middle even without Marc Savard, and can't possibly have the injury problems they did last year. While Paul Martin and Zybnek Michalek are excellent pick ups, neither are Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk has a bright future. I don't trust Fleury as far as I can throw overpaid, overhyped ass, and Tukka Rask is the real thing.
From there? Won't say.
Number of post game wraps the triumvirate miss due to drinking/hangover: I'll go with 12.
-Don't forget to kick off the season both Thursday and Saturday with us at The Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake). We'll be there from about 8pm on, and hope to see a big crowd.