Prediction One: Goaltending is so good that even with the new rules good goalies will dominate and the 80’s style 7-5 games are gone.
Clearly wrong on this one. Scoring is up about 23%; the pansifying of league by obliterating physical play has made for a lot of lay ups, so to speak.
Prediction Two: Goalies will win most of the shoot outs.
Prediction Three: Goalies will still be the key.
Mostly wrong. The goalie will always be paramount in hockey, but the Between Lockouts Era was the age of the defensemen. Stevens, Konstantinov, Pronger, Foote, and even Carney and similar players dominated, especially in the playoffs. With the new rules we have entered the era of the forward. The Horridacanes are the same collection of Once Wases and Never Has Beens they always were, but the presence of the excellent Eric Staal has now made them a force to be reckoned with.
Potential Spoiler: Nashville Predators
Correct, just three regulation losses thus far.
The Fall of the Wings and Avs:
Mostly incorrect. Wings started hot and both teams have respectable records; Avs are not as feared as they once were.
The Decline of the ‘Ning Dynasty.
Correct! Injuries, no back up goalies to play against, no teams taking a night off to rest for golf in Florida. It’s tough when everything isn’t perfect. Their record is respectable and they play in a weak division, but an 8-2 loss to a good but not great Devils squad is ugly – and you can’t blame adjusting to the new rules at this point. Tampa was, by far, the weakest Champion of the Between Lock Outs Era. Captain Dave Andreychuck is playing with less hunger than a spawning salmon.
Fade Out of Some Stars:
Correct. Thought it would be Hasek. Instead it was the Golden Brat Hull and ol’ “Anadromous” Dave Andreychuk. Honorable mention to Stevie “Why?” in Detroit.
The Devils Will Be In The Hunt:
Tentatively Correct. This team has struggled much more than I thought, but any team would minus two Hall of Fame defensemen and one All Star forward. Moreover, the venal trapezoid rule was directed strictly at Brodeur and, by extension, them, which is both the ultimate compliment and insult. Still, the squad is starting to round into shape. Assuming Elias works his way back into the player he was in 2003-4 from his post-Communist sojourning Hepatitis, he could dominate in this Era of the Forward. With Mogilny clearing the cobwebs, Kozlov trying and the emergence of Gionta the Devils could suddenly have a formidable offense. Losing McGillis (for Ference) and Langdon (for Pihlman) in the process of regaining Elias may be addition by subtraction.