2013-14 NHL Playoff Prediction

Posted: October 1, 2013 in T.V.

The start of the NHL season is tonight and with it comes a lot of anticipation; who will get in to the post season? Who will be the league’s biggest ‘shocker’? How long until James Reimer won’t be able to smile during a press conference because he wants to be the Leafs’ number one goalie? (I predict 18 games in and then you’ll see his frustration….maybe take a lesson from April on how to give ‘the look’.)

This year is going to be a little different (the politically correct way of saying “a clusterf***”) when it comes to seeding for the post season. They’ve reduced the number of divisions from 6 to 4 while keeping the East/West Conferences. This year also features a ‘wild card’ format because…well…the East has too many teams (and heaven forbid the NHL considers retraction). Here’s the breakdown: the west will have two divisions of seven teams, the East will have two divisions of eight, the top three from each are guaranteed playoff spots. The next four are based on overall record and can be loaded from any division; one division could have up to 5 teams and another could have the minimum of three. Confused? Read the NHL’s way of putting it and if you still are…well…blame Gary (seriously, I have no idea what else to tell you).

Here’s how the league looks so let’s try and predict who will be playoff bound starting in the west:

NHL Divisions 

Pacific Division: L.A., San Jose, and Vancouver looks like the early locks (simmer down Ducks fan; you’re not out of this yet). Phoenix is on the cusp, the Ducks will have to make some major improvements to replace Bobby Ryan, the Oilers are still a couple years away (and some defense and a goalie), and the Calgary Flames are…umm….hmm….look, I’m trying to be nice because the people of Calgary have been through a LOT lately so we can pretend that the ’13-14 season just doesn’t exist for them. Sound good?

Central Division: Chicago, St. Louis and (oh, god, I have to pick a third?), Minnesota. I like what Dallas has done but it has too much of an unknown, Nahsville feels like they can light it up or fade away with the best of them, and Winnipeg always feels like they’re a perennial nine-seed which is NOT what you want your team to be (go all in or blow it up and struggle for 3-5 years).

Overall Western Teams in Playoffs: L.A., San Jose, Vanvouver, Anaheim, Phoenix, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota (not in that order). Let’s move on to the East.

Metropolitan Division: First off, I would like to say to the League, What the *expletive* were you thinking when you came up with this?? I’m picturing a brainstorming session where you hired a creative consultatnt to come into your boardroom and spend all night spit-balling ideas (maybe even having some discarded Chinese food containers on the dark wooden table for added effect) befpre someone jumped up and said “I got it! We’re in New York, a Metropolis…so let’s go with ‘Metropolitan’!” and then you lit up expensive cigars with $100 bills. Sorry, on to the division.

Pittsburgh, Washington, and the New York Rangers are going to be the top three this year in that division because Philly is still using an abacus to try and figure out what the hell a salary cap is, the New York Islanders are getting better but in the “not a lock yet”, the New Jersey Devils have a puncher’s chance, the Carolina Hurricanes are another 8 Stall brothers away from being contenders, but the team I do like (and will benefit the second most from moving west-to-east) is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Atlantic Division: Detroit, Boston, (and I will never forgive myself for this but) Ottawa. Not to discourage Montreal fans but last season the Habs started off great and then got hammered in the playoffs (and it was a shortened season). The Buffalo Sabres still have more questions than answers (unless they actually think the answer will always be “Ryan Miller”), the Florida Panthers signed Tim Thomas (match made in heaven for both professional and political reasons), Tampa Bay lost Vinny Lecavalier but might have found goaltending, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still missing a top centreman, another top six winger, and the young defense needs time to grow and I’ll stop myself there before I walk away.

Overall Eastern Teams in Playoffs: Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal (not in that order).

(May God have mercy on me for not putting the Leafs in the playoffs…)

Thanks for reading and stay connected with me on Twitter: @ChrisFudali


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