Power Play has spent the off-season combing the rosters, measuring stick curves and interviewing a “Sully” in every NHL city and takes a stab at predicting the 2009-10 order of finish by points in each conference.
15. Phoenix: What a mess. Hockey will never make it in the desert.
14. Colorado: Looks like a few lean years for a once proud franchise
13. Minnesota: I sure miss the old jerseys of the North Stars. Viva Cesare Maniago.
12. Dallas: Steve Ott. Enough said
11. Edmonton: For some reason, I love watching games played in Edmonton. Perhaps it’s the lighting?
10. Los Angeles: UMass’ Jonathan Quick might play his way onto Team USA’s entry in Vancouver.
9 Nashville: Still hard to take hockey seriously in the Music City.
8. Columbus: Still hard to take hockey seriously in a college city.
7. St. Louis: Most underrated team logo in the NHL.
6. Anaheim: Not pretty during the regular season but nasty during the playoffs.
5. Detroit: Still an elite squad but definitely on the back nine.
4. Calgary: Always a favorite at this address for beating the Canadiens in the ’89 Finals.
3. Vancouver: City is hoping to be Ground Zero for all things hockey in 2010.
2. Chicago: Their window of opportunity opened rather quickly but could also close just as fast.
1. San Jose: Almost getting to be now or never for the regular season sensations.
15. NY Islanders: They’ve got their building block in Tavares but they’ve yet to break ground.
14. Atlanta: At least congratulate them for outlasting the Flames in Atlanta. Where have you gone, Dan Bouchard?
13. Toronto: Give Komisarek credit for not jumping out west and avoiding Lucic.
12. Montreal: The squad Gainey has put together will get him the boot by next May.
11. Florida: I still can’t believe they traded Luongo.
10. Ottawa: They begin the climb back towards respectability. Did Kovalev bring his personal sniper from the Montreal balcony?
9. New Jersey: Lemaire is back behind the bench. Avoid attending Bruins – Devils games.
8. Buffalo: Watching Steve Montador take a beating in every fight is a must for all sadists in good standing.
7. Tampa Bay: Too much talent to stay at the bottom of the conference.
6. NY Rangers: Can Torts make all the odd-ball pieces of the puzzle work? Ten bucks says that Gilroy easily makes the jump to the NHL.
5. Carolina: Aaron Ward may not contribute all that much on the ice but he’ll be an All-Star in their locker room. Class act.
4. Philadelphia: Ultimately will de done in, as usual, by stupid penalties.
3. Boston: Don’t expect to match the number of points from last season. Do expect them lo last a bit longer in the playoffs.
2. Pittsburgh: I still can’t believe Hal Gill’s name is on the Stanley Cup.
1. Washington: Will they trade some offense for some defense at some point?
Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh over Chicago (because Marian Hossa always seems to be on the wrong end in the Finals)
Hart, Vezina & Norris: Who cares? It’s all about winning the Cup.