Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Playin Along with Paul

We like Paul Kukla, he is a great blogger and does good work. This is from his NHL.com piece, which he usually runs similiar questions this time of year. Paul's predictions are in parenthesis.

How many players do you think will reach 50 goals? Bonus points if you name them. (5)
--We say 4....Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Heatley and as a somewhat surprise: Vinny Lecavalier

Name a player on a new team that will lead their team in goals scored. (Alex Tanguay)
--Olli Jokinen in Phoenix

Jean-Sebastien Giguere will lead the league in shutouts. (Your prediction?)
--Marty Turco

The Detroit Red Wings will win the Presidents’ Trophy. (Anyone care to go with another team?)
--We'd bet Red Wings as well, but if given another guess we'd make it the usual princes of the regular season, San Jose Sharks

The Chicago Blackhawks will make it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Name a team that did not make the playoffs last year that will win at least the first round of the playoffs this season.)
--We would say no one will....But to be nice and play along we'll say the Edmonton Oilers have the best chance to go from not being in the playoffs this past year to winning a round this coming year.

Twenty-eight players had at least 30 goals last season. This season I say 40 players will light the lamp 30 times. (How many players will score 30 or more goals?)
--35 since hopefully the revised goalie pads will let a few more squirt through....Plus there's always the short-lived, idealist hope in our hearts that penalties will be called the same in October as they are in March and in the 1st period as they are in over-time.

Only two players had a +/- of 40 or more last year (Pavel Datsyuk +41 and Nicklas Lidstrom +40). I see two players going at least +50. (Do you agree?)
--No, too much parody in the league and good defensive systems to get a +50. If anyone could do it it'd be Datysuk, Lidstrom or the treacherous Marian Hossa though.

Henrik Zetterberg and Sidney Crosby led the League in playoff points (27) last year. (Who leads the point standings for the upcoming playoff season? Yes it is a difficult choice, but if you get it correct, you know your hockey!)
--We'll hope against hope it's Crosby (and not tied with anyone this year)

These teams from the Eastern Conference missed the playoffs last season: New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning. I see the Carolina Hurricanes having the best chance to go deep into the playoffs this year. (What one team do you choose?)
--We would say Carolina is most likely to make it back to the playoffs. And while there's a 85% chance that Tampa Bay is going to fail miserably, they were the only team that acted boldly and has the personnel to win a round or two. So if the question is: which non-playoff EC team has the best chance to go the furthest, we'd say Tampa. But if it was name the sure bet non-playoff EC team to make it back then we'd go Carolina.

What NHL player not named Ovechkin or Crosby would you pay to see? (What player(s) besides Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby brings you out of your seat?)
--Evgeni Malkin is the cheap answer (even if it's true)...But the players we're really excited to see this season for a first time live are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Your team needs to stop this shootout attempt to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (What goalie do you want in the net to make this stop?)
--Marc-Andre Fleury, duh....Or do we get to chose from any goalie in the league? If then, probably NYR's Henrik Lundqvist.

Many of you know I am a fan of the Detroit Red Wings and my concern is goaltending for the upcoming season. Can Chris Osgood and Ty Conklin and/or Jimmy Howard provide the goaltending a team needs to win on a consistent basis? (What concern do you have regarding your team?)
--The short layoff from Game 6 of the SC Finals to starting the season in Sweden and if all the guys (especially Crosby and Malkin) have been able to rest their injuries sufficiently and train adequately for another grueling 82 game grind of a season.

Not to be political, but what U.S. presidential candidate would be a better hockey fan? (John McCain or Barack Obama and why?)
--We don't want to bring politics in this forum, but for the sake of being light-hearted: John McCain since his running mate is more likely to nag him into watching it.

I won’t give you my prediction for the Stanley Cup winner this season, but are there any teams on the upswings that can hold the Stanley Cup this season? (What team wins the Stanley Cup?)
--Pittsburgh Penguins, obvs.

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