Hot Christmas, we are almost there!
One more day until puck drop for our beloved Senators. Does that mean ol’ James and Varada are just going to sit on our hands and wait? No. No, that would be a disgrace to the “World’s Best Bloggers” mug you bought us. It would be like taking a sip out of another mug and spitting it into the face of that mug (mugs have faces). Running a hockey blog through the offseason(ish) means having to make predictions about things. Let’s be upfront here, we’re not robits m’kay? We may wear metal crowns like our stainless steel friend pictured above but we have human brains and are learning about feelings. Luckily, being the internet’s 17th most popular Ottawa Senators fan blog (2 years in a row thank you very much) no one ever really holds you to account on your predictions when the season ends so here we go. Enjoy (?) this last prediction post before things get REAL-real for the boys in red, white, black, some sparkly gold and in some cases heritage off-white. First Varada will offer 10 league based predictions with a sprinkling of Sens and then James will follow up with 10 Sens based prognostications with the velveteen touch of league stuff:
10) Someone gets suspended for more than 25 games. The biggest suspension last year was Raffi Torres, who was suspended for the remainder of the semifinals for trying to kill Jarret Stoll with a hit to the head. This after being suspended for 25 games the year previously for trying to kill Marian Hossa with a hit to the head. Can someone come close to Chris Simon’s 30 game suspension from 2007 for stomping someone with a skate? Considering we didn’t make it one day into the season before someone left the ice on a stretcher, I have a good feeling this is the year. Prediction: someone tries to kill a star player with a hit to the head. I’m going to go with Raffi Torres.
9) The trade deadline will set a new record for boring. Especially if the San Jose Sharks are competitive. Outside of their core, there isn’t a single pending UFA who is going to be on a terrible team or who won’t re-sign with their current team anyway. I guess there’s an outside chance that the Sedins are traded, though the combination of Vancouver not being competitive, there being a team with more than $12 million in cap room and the assets to trade for both of them, and the twins actually waiving their NTCs is mathematically impossible. Despite this fact, TSN doubles down on the deadline and provides a solid week of round the clock coverage, resulting in Bob MacKenzie having a Network-style public meltdown.
8) Edmonton is still terrible. Better, but still terrible. Well out of the playoffs. Another top ten pick.
7) The outdoor game between Ottawa and Vancouver will be roundly mocked. It will become the poster boy for the league’s desire to cash in on these types of games. It will be poorly attended and viewed, and will send all Ottawa fans’ insecurity disorders into high gear as the fans of every other team talks about how little they care about Ottawa. The game will actually be pretty cool, though, and we’ll be totally psyched about whatever heritage thingy they come up with for Ottawa to wear.
6) The Olympics will suck. They put NHL hockey on hold so you can watch an All Star team destroy a developing nation and then play two meaningful games before injuring your star player. Also, Russian policymakers are shithead homophobes who should find themselves buried in a pit as dark as their bankrupt, cancerous hearts. Also, Steve Yyzerman gets praise for playing the world’s best scorer with the world’s best playmaker. The new jersey’s aren’t that bad.
5) Chris Phillips takes an insanely cheap deal to stay in Ottawa. Like $1 million for one year.
4) Don Cherry will crash his car into a grocery store. On purpose.
3) The Toronto Maple Leafs defy PDO (luck) stats by being OK. Not actually being OK, just having another beneficial PDO this year. This will serve to obfuscate the debate on advanced stats for another decade as Toronto’s 2013-2014 season is held up by anti-stats people as a case study in how stats got it wrong. Tyler Dellow writes several posts that some team should probably be paying him to write exclusively for them, and CBC re-ups Glenn Healy for another few years of nonsensical bullying.
2) The Nashville Predators start the season out 15-22-4, then go 31-11 to close it out. If this one turns out right, you fuckers owe me lunch.
1) Ottawa plays Detroit in the second round of the playoffs and well all have a nervous breakdown. Nuff said.
Now, James kick a little of that hometown flavour (oof, sorry):
10) Milan Michalek will enjoy a relatively healthy and successful (60+ games, 25-30 goals) season but… will be dealt at the trade deadline. It will be for a pick or a guy who plays the position of whatever is deemed this year’s “missing piece” oh and also gets “paid less” than Milo. Even though Ottawa will be knee deep in the playoff hunt at that point Euge will be in such a hurry to stop paying Michalek he will actually sacrifice the team’s chances at making that
complete croc of toilet garbage vital 2nd round of playoffs that Ottawa must make in order to break even (btw Florida now straight up offering already insanely cheap season ticket packages at 50% off!…its called “breaking even” you guys) so he can save some money for a couple of months.
9) MacArthur / Turris / Conacher will be Ottawa’s most dependable line.
This isn’t to say that the Milo / Spezza / Ryan line wont perform. They will be fine but not the robits that maybe some are expecting them to be but totally fine. The Turris Trio (not to be confused with the dinner jazz combo performing this Sunday at Vinyard’s …no wait…huh, same guys, nevermind) will be there to pick up the slack when the top line falters. With all the star power the addition of Bob Ryan gives up top and “Pizza Line 2.0” talk, Mac, Turry and ChronicHerb will catch opponents off guard and send coaches scrambling to try and neutralize them*.
*Prediction only valid if Turris doesnt’ have to centre the frigging first line for huge chunks of the season again.
8) Dani Heatley will come out of the gate not terrible but just luke warm and given Minnesota’s compulsive shopping addiction the Wild will be forced to use an amnesty buy out on him…which is just going to be perfect. Don’t get me wrong, guy is going to spend a grand total of 4 minutes on the free agent market. He’s still a two time 50 goal scorer, only 31 years old and produces well enough that a goal starved suitor will want him. I know I have a go at Heatley a lot here. It’s not even so much that I’m revelling at the idea of a guy’s career going down the turlet. Admittedly, it’s not a bummer to see a dude who jumped ship when things got tough not find the sunny pastures he was picturing. What I’m more happy about is that despite Cheechoo being…an AHL player and Andy Sutton barely unpacking his bags in his time here, that Michalek has done pretty well during his time in Ottawa. The team was freed of a selfish, one trick pony player who’d have never have fit in MacLean’s system with his speed and, well, if my prediction holds true Heater now will move onto his 3rd team in the 4 seasons since he handcuffed Bryan Murray in that nightmare scenario. Sens win! Good luck in future whatevers and I hope you are never, ever on a cup winning squad. Imagine Edmonton made him an offer he couldn’t refuse?
7) Willie Nelson will astound his fans by swimming the English Channel.
But I’m afraid it’s splitsville for Delta Burke and Major Dad.
Collect 3 WTYKY bucks if you caught that.
6) Robin Lehner will cause a goaltending controversy but in a way that is very, very, very amazing for Sens fans. I know, why would I ever wish that? I love Craig Anderson and I know I just posted about why we shouldn’t be concerned about his preseason play AND I just punched myself in the neck for even typing Goaltending Controversy (OUCH, again!). This ain’t your biological daddy’s Senators goaltending contro which has up to last year been, “who is the less shitty goaltender.” No, after a summer of eating nothing but fruit, veggies and the still beating hearts of haters, Lehner is going to play so strongly that he is going to make every Craig Anderson loss look like two losses. Andy, who again I think is tremendous is like almost all goalies prone to the odd blowout. Lehner is not going to have these. Andy is going to start feeling the squeeze early into the season. An event like Andy getting pulled and Lehner shutting out the rest of the game in an Ottawa win or I don’t know…BEATING BOSTON ONE GODDAMN TIME should be enough to get the press and fans all riled for a permanent change. So why do I think this is great? I think that dominant Lehner vs. Anderson playing to hang on to his starting job will be a spectacular show that could float Ottawa through some tough games.
5) Erik Karlsson has been playing rope a dope.
Prepare for a right hand lead, NHL (boxing things). With all his talk of his foot not feeling the same and connectivity issues or comments that he’s lost a step, I think King K is kind of fuckin’ with us. Sure the optics of him getting walked around a bunch by Crosby in the playoffs we’re pretty scary. Also, he wasn’t the same then. Keep in mind he was playing arguably the world’s most relentless skater at way too many minutes a night, ALSO HE STILL GOT 8 POINTS IN 10 GAMES!!! Given his somehow improved conditioning and from what I saw in preseason I think whatever “percentage” he’s down wont matter considering his shooting and passing abilities haven’t diminished. He’ll also see a 100% increase in Methot backchecking for him and 100% more Bobby Ryans to break out to. I think we see another 70+ point season from the King.
4) Hybrid icing will be the best rule change since removing the “skate in the crease” rule.
No one will really notice…and that will be a good thing. Fewer broken femur bones!
3) The Senators will still just sneak into the playoffs.
It’s a hard ass league. It’s going to be a challenging year full of some great winning streaks but some cringe worthy losing streaks. Hey they don’t keep talking about how hard the Eastern Division is going to be for nothing. What? I ain’t going to be mad at Ottawa making the playoffs for the third straight year!
2) Both Shane Prince AND Andre Petersson will each see more NHL playing time than Mark Stone.
After enjoying a bit of time as the Senators go to call up, Stone will step into the season in Binghamton thinking it will remain that way. Little does he know he will be up against a healthy Andre Petersson who is getting his last kick at a shot in the NHL. If that’s not enough Shane Prince, with no lockout this year, will take advantage of his increased ice time and turn heads real quick. Stone will have to play out of his mind to get his standing with the big club back (good thing).
1) In his return to the Canadian Tire Centre, not only will Daniel Alfredsson’s Detroit Red Wings win but he will score the most emotionally confusing goal in Senators fandom history.
C’mon we watched this guy play for almost 2 decades. We know better than anyone how he can will the puck into the net. Gunna be a lot of people standing and clapping and holding back tears. On a lighter note, I think Ottawa is going to be an incredibly exciting match for Detroit what with both teams being good and Mike Babcock and Paul MacLean’s coaching style going up against each other. We have a great new rivalry brewing here.