October 6, 2011

NHL 2011-12 grand face-off spectacular

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey, Picks

It’s that time of the year again. When Canadians forget that the MLB playoffs are still going on and even let their fantasy NFL squads gather a thin layer of dust. Yes, the NHL is starting up again. Only three months after we last left off, too. So, don’t be surprised that I don’t exactly miss the never-ending “winter” sport.

Of course, this may just be the cynical desker in me complaining. After all, more hockey means a lot more work for us. By the way, Pick up Friday’s Sun for omnipresent coverage of the Leafs’ home opener. We have seven (!) guys hitting the game tonight. That press box is going to be crowded.

Anyway, let’s throw out some picks for the imminent 2001-12 season…

Northeast Division: Boston Bruins — Coming off winning the Cup, this team is solid enough defensively to continue to give opponents fits.
Atlantic Division: Pittsburgh Penguins — I firmly believe that Crosby’s going to be back — soon — and he’ll continue the torrid pace he was on last season.
Southeast Division: Washington Capitals — Only Tampa Bay really has a shot in this division at staying with them.
Central Division: Detroit Red Wings — Sure, they’re aging, but they’re still pretty damn good. Chicago is a strong possibility to top them, though.
Pacific Division: San Jose Sharks — It’s really just the playoffs they have to worry about. The Kings and Ducks will apply pressure though.
Northwest Division: Vancouver Canucks — Is there really anyone in this division that will compete with them?
Eastern Conference: Pittsburgh Penguins.
Western Conference: Chicago Blackhawks.
Over-achievers: Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Columbus.
Under-achievers: Buffalo, Calgary, Philadelphia, New Jersey.
Calder: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM — The No. 1 overall pick will help lead the youth revolution in Edmonton.
Vezina: Pekka Rinne, NAS — Casual fans in Nashville probably still don’t even know him, but he is exceptionally good.
Hart: Sidney Crosby, PIT — He’ll be back and better than ever. Plus, who would ever take a run at him now?
Stanley Cup: Penguins over Chicago in 6.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

Leave a Reply