Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eastern Conference Prediction

I'll start off by thanking Jay for inviting me to the BoO blog.

To preface my predictions, let me say that the Sens will win 6 of the 8 meetings with the Leafs this year. At least.

The conference standings will end up like this:

1. Philadelphia - only beating out Ottawa by benefiting from a weaker division
2. Ottawa
3. Tampa Bay - there will be a sizable drop off in points after these top three teams
4. Boston
5. New Jersey
6. Montreal
7. Atlanta
8. Pittsburgh
9. Toronto
10. NY Islanders
11. Florida
12. Carolina
13. Buffalo
14. NY Rangers
15. Washington

Positions 4 through 8 will be very close - a couple of points separating the five teams.

I could be wrong about the Leafs. They might not be that high if Belfour doesn't keep them in a lot of games.

Of course the Senators will be the Eastern Conference representative in the finals and Daniel Alfredsson will be in the lead car on Bank St. in June.

And the last prediction: Leafs fans will hold their heads high in this province next summer living with the knowledge that the Senators still didn't beat them in the playoffs.


  1. I don't disagree with your sentiments vis-a-vis the Sens making it to the finals if someone were to ask me to choose right now between the Flyers and Tampa and Sens for the conference favorite I would go with the Sens.

    However the playoffs are long and strange things......

  2. Hmmm - I don't personally know my Leaf counterparts here yet but it looks like at least one of them is far from the Darcy Tucker fan mold that Leaf Nation has been known for.

    I was expecting a 'you pussy Ottawa fans - you couldn't win the big game if....' type of response.

    Give it time perhaps? Or am I actually going to have to be reasonable and thoughful too?

    This is going to be fun either way.

  3. I'd almost pass on the Cup if we don't go through Toronto to win it. On the other hand, how sweet would it be to deprive the Leafs of two critical points needed to secure an "x" in late April?

    And in a real 7-1 *howler* to boot?

  4. OK Guy's Ottawa will still have a long way to go and it's only preseason.

    Ottawa has a worse situation in Nets than the Sens do. If Hasek goes down then you have to trade for a goalie cause I'll put any amount of money that Ray emery won't win you a cup.

    Don, taking a bite of the Leafs book on planning the parade already. Don't get too cocky, you're setting yourself up for a big fall.

    Ottawa has a good team but they always have and haven't done squat in the playoffs.

  5. Ottawa has a good team but they always have and haven't done squat in the playoffs.

    They made it to game seven of the Conference finals in 2003, and basically lost in overtime (the game was decided by a goal in the last three minutes).

    That's as far as the Leafs have gotten in 30 years.

  6. Personally, I think the predictions of the Leafs demise in unwarranted. Sure several key players are gone, but several new ones have come in to replace them. O'Neill can replace Roberts. Lindros can replace Nieuwendyk. Czerkawski should score 20-30 goals effectively replacing Mogilny who only scored 8 goals in 2003-04. And Allison might be the best of the bunch. And Tucker is more than capable of taking on a more offensive-minded role.

    Yeah, Yeah, I know you are all going to say "Yeah, but what about Leetch". Well Leetch was a trade dealine pickup and no on is saying that there can't be another trade deadline pickup this year.

    As for teh Sens, I would worry about 2 things. Dominik Hasek and whether he can return to form and experienced depth on defense. Should either Chara or Redden suffer a serious injury the Sens defense will all of a sudden look pretty un-spectacular.

  7. I hope you realize how absurd that logic is.

    You talk about the Leafs being able to replace their losses with guys who seem to be made of glass, and yet talk about the Sens being an injury away from extinction?

    What's more likely: Eric Lindros and/or Jason Allison getting injured or Zdeno Chara and/or Wade Redden? Granted, a major injury can happen to anyone, but which seems more prone at this point in time?

    The idea that Jeff O'Neill, coming off his worst season ever, will be able to fill the gap left by Gary Roberts makes me laugh. Maybe on the score sheet. Maybe. But in all the other areas that Roberts excelled in? Doubtful.

    Toronto's defence looked laughably bad in the game I saw. Granted, it wasn't the six d-men they will ice on October 5th, but the guy who's carried the load in the past, and I imagine will be expected to this year, Bryan McCabe, played awful. I'm still not sold on Khavanov as anything more than a fifth or sixth defencemen. Bryan Marchment may be having an inspired camp, but we all know that won't last. Wade Belak has been so awful it sorta goes without saying. That leaves who? Ken Klee and Tomas Kaberle? Carlo Colliacovo did not look good on Sunday. He's small and not mobile. Not a good combination. This is the franchise blueliner I've heard all about? Talk about underwhelming. And this is the same team that didn't even give Brendan Bell a pre-season game to play in.

    As for the goaltending, I'd say it's close to a wash. Belfour is almost as old as Hasek, hasn't played in over a year, and also has a nagging injury that the team is hoping is cured by surgery. I'd take Belfour over Hasek if I had to chose, but the difference is, for the Leafs to win, Belfour will have to be spectacular (and even that wasn't enough to get them to the Cup before), where as with Ottawa, they just need Hasek to be consistently good.

  8. Mr McMurtry:

    You are in effect comparing apples to oranges. Most defenders of the Leafs are responding to the off handed dismissal that is being made of the team - not as a cup contender but as a team that will drop from 103 points the last time we played to completely out of the playoff picture. One sports writer in Toronto (who didn't have the guts to stick to his prediction) said they would finish with 75 points!

    Whereas the Leafs seem only to have to make the playoffs this year to over achieve in some people's minds, the Sens will only be deemed to have been successful if they win the Cup.

    That being said I do think they have an excellent chance to do it. However they are saddled with the big question mark around Domenik "Drunken Style" Hasek. If he plays the season without injury and into the playoffs I would give them a great chance of winning. Otherwise....

    As for Jeff O'Neil he played the last season with a shoulder injury which has been completely healed. Are you willing to go on record right now and say that he is done as a player?

    As for Gary Roberts while he was supposedly a great character guy he hated Sundin and the rumour is that he undermined him every chance he got. You may not have noticed just how happy Mats has been during this camp but its not just because hockey is back.

  9. I think if the leafs can stay Injury free all season then they will have a good team.

    The Sens do look to have a good team and should do well but Hasek will be the key. If he can hold hios groin together with a bit of duct tape and luck then the Sens will do well.

    I don't think anyone can predict who will do what this year as teams won't start to "gel" till midseason.

    It's going to be a fun year and we'll see at the end of the year who will be where. I ain't going to make any predictions that I will stand by till mid season but the Sens do look good with the changes they have made but Injuries will dictate their success along with Toronto.

    As for my Penguins I just hope they make the playoffs!!