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admin
Forum Admin



Canada
2171 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2003 :  21:26:05  Show Profile
Contributed by: Mark Lee

It should be a fun year in the East with some young superstars ready to grab the spot light but come April the cream will rise to the top again with the Senators & Devils.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

New Jersey Devils
As the defending Stanley Cup Champions return for the 2003/04 season you will see very few changes in the lineup which should keep the Devils near the top of the Eastern Conference this year. Why mess with something that works year after year? The loss of Joe Nieuwendyk to the Maple Leafs will have little impact on a very deep and experienced team. Scott Stevens will grind it out for one more season and continue to lead the team but watch for Jeff Freisen and Scott Gomez to take control of this squad and have career years.

Prediction 2nd in West

New York Islanders
After a disappointing 2002-03 campaign watch for the Isles to have a better season this year. With a healthy Mike Peca leading the way, Jason Blake and Mark Parrish should both have good offensive years and Alexei Yashin will have a 90 point season. The problem with the Islanders will be whether or not Rick DiPietro will step up to take control of the no. 1 job between the pipes this year. If not the Isles will still make the playoffs in a weak eastern conference, but wonít go very far in the post season.

Prediction 6th in East

Philadelphia Flyers
How this team has failed to win the Stanley Cup over the past 5 years is unimaginable. Wait, no itís not, I just forgot that the orange object in the net was a pylon rather than the Flyer jersey. Itís no wonder they changed to black. With the best offensive lineup in the East, and an adequate defensive core, this team will roll the dice once again and hope that Jeff Hackett can stay healthy for an entire year. If not, well, probably nothing until Ed Schnieder finally fires Bobby Clark for not realizing that you canít win it all without a great backstop.

Prediction 4th in East

New York Rangers
If youíre a fan of the Blue Shirts youíve probably used every four letter word in the book to describe this team over the past few seasons. With one of, if not the highest payrolls in the league itís hard to imagine that the Rangers havenít even made the playoffs since 1996. But for all of you who have suffered for so long donít be shocked when this team enters the second season this year. Even with the loss of Pavel Bure & Mike Richter this team should perform better with Mark Messier taking a backseat in minutes played & Glenn Sather not putting up with the *&^#$%*# that others have let go in the past. New York should be around when the dust settles and if they can do that they might even scare some of the elite teams in April.

Prediction 7th in East

Pittsburgh Penguins
Itís a shame that the thing keeping Mario from retiring is the fact that heís the only player on the Penguins roster that a fan would pay to see. Without the magnificent one the Penís would have a tough time beating a top AHL team. Martin Straka should have a decent year but even with the additions of Kelly Buchburger and Mike Eastwood for additional grit, this team is just too young and untalented to win at the NHL level.

Prediction 15th in East


Northeast Division

Boston Bruins
With a monstrous defensive core ( 215 lb. Avg. ) and two of the top forwards in the league in Joe Thornton and Glen Murray the Bruins should have another good season, after Christmas that is. The addition of Felix Potvin is a head scratcher as you never know which Felix will show up on a given night. Granted, when heís on his game heís as good as they come BUT, when heís not you might as well put the shooter tooter in. Watch for the Bruins to hover around 8-9th for the first half of the season until ď the cat ď finds the puck again and the Bruins will make a strong push towards the playoffs.

Prediction 5th in East

Montreal Canadiens
This team could be the single biggest factor for the healthcare crisis in Canada. The season hasnít even started and theyíve already lost their top two centers. On a roster thatís shallow at best you just canít afford to lose top players for extended periods every year. The only way this team makes the playoffs is if Jose Theodore can return to his MVP form of 2001-02, but donít count on it. Watch for New GM Bob Ganey to clean house on the ice and try to return this franchise to itís past glory.

Prediction 11th in East

Buffalo Sabers
Without the ownership distraction looming this year the Sabers will have a better year this season. The acquisition of Ted Drury from the Flames will help with leadership and Tim Connelly should benefit from Druryís presence. However even with Miro Satan putting up another 80 points, the offence will be lacking. It wonít be as painful to watch Buffalo this year, but a playoff birth will be a long shot.

Prediction 12th in East

Ottawa Senators
With the exception of the unsigned Martin Havlat, if you can find a hole in this lineup please let me know. The Senís return with a near complete roster; almost the same one that was a Karl Rachunek brain cramp away from going to the Stanley Cup finals last spring. This team is ready. Theyíre experienced, talented and now you might even be able to call them gritty. Marion Hossa will again lead the team in scoring and possibly the league, Jason Spezza should play a full season and donít be surprised to see Patrick Lalime make a run at the Vezina this year.

Prediction 1st in East

Toronto Maple Leafs
Playoff Experience + Character + Veteran Leadership = OLD!
Donít expect too much from the Budís this year. With one of the oldest teams in the league injuries will surely take their toll this season. Although a great player in his time the addition of Joe Nuiwendyk is not what this team needed and if you believe he will be the final piece to get them to the cup Leaf fans should get a good dose of reality once January hits. The truth is the only reason the Leafs were able to make the playoffs last year was due to the play of Ed Belfour. Donít count on a repeat performance.

Prediction 8th in East


Southeast Division

Atlanta Thrashers
This was to be the year that Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk became one of the great duos of the NHL. It may still happen but the tragic accident involving Heatley and teammate Dan Snyder may set this entire team back for the first half of the season and Heatley longer than that both physically and emotionally. With the addition of Marc Savard late last season the Thrashers will have enough talent to keep opposing defenses on their toes but if Byron Dafoe doesnít return to being ď Lord Byron ď Atlanta could be in for a long year. Bob Hartley will have his work cut out for him to take this young team to the next level.

Prediction 13th in East

Carolina Hurricanes
Will someone please put Paul Maurice out of his misery. Short & Sweet: Carolina will be at the bottom of the pack near Christmas due to injuries. Everyone will call for the Coaches head but it never happens. Carolina picks up their play by the sheer will of Ron Francis and the team falls short of the playoffs. Sound familiar. Maybe some players on this team will figure out that every team suffers with injuries and that you have to pick up the slack.

Prediction 10th in East

Florida Panthers
With one of the most talented, young lineups in the NHL with the likes of Olli Jokinen, Steven Weiss, Jay Bouwmeester and Roberto Luongo and off season veteran acquisitions such as Eric Messier & Lyle Odelein and the Panthers find themselves as a team that will compete every night. Mike Keenan will push these guys to the limit and will come close to a post season ticket.

Prediction 9th in East

Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts should be able to take the South East Division again as the same roster that gave New Jersey a run in the playoffs will be a year older & wiser. Vincent Lecavailler, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis will lead the way offensively with the ĎBulin Wallí ready to shut the door for a full season. If Tampa can put a full 82 game season together they shouldnít end up in 3rd by default this year.

Prediction 3rd in East

Washington Capitals
If Jaromir Jagr decides that he wants to take this team to the playoffs then watch out. However, the more likely scenario for the Capís this year is that Jagr will continue to pout about everything and will take this team down with him and they wonít be able to recover. Donít count on any other team to take on his attitude or salary either. Even the Rangers donít want him. It will take some pretty special performances by Oleg Kolzig and Petr Bondra to keep this team out of the cellar. Oh wait, I forgot about the Penguins.

Prediction 14th in East


What do you think?

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Have an opinion on Mark's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts.

coastie
Top Prospect

USA
49 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2003 :  06:29:01  Show Profile
These are the first set of picks I've completely agreed with so far this season.
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Ripley
PickupHockey Pro



USA
341 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2003 :  19:21:50  Show Profile
Oh I don't know about Ottawa snagging first! They just don't have the killer instinct. They're just too fragile mentally. I think that Jersey is in a better spot to get first.
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coastie
Top Prospect

USA
49 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2003 :  06:24:53  Show Profile
Let's hope they pick it up in the next few weeks or they are going to be looking down the barrel of a long cold gun.
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coastie
Top Prospect

USA
49 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2003 :  02:15:07  Show Profile
Now that they are off to such a rough start, I see some of yrou wisdom coming to light, however, not for the fact that they aren't hungry for it. After coming so close last season, you KNOW they want it!
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Ripley
PickupHockey Pro



USA
341 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2003 :  22:47:51  Show Profile
Am I a prophet or what!! Ottawa just doesn't have the fortitude to do it! Nice victory for them tonight though...for once!
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Ripley
PickupHockey Pro



USA
341 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2003 :  00:05:03  Show Profile
Coastie.

Looks like your Senators did an about face. Cool.
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Joey Lockie
Top Prospect

Canada
4 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2003 :  09:35:18  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by admin

Contributed by: Mark Lee

Toronto Maple Leafs
Playoff Experience + Character + Veteran Leadership = OLD!
Donít expect too much from the Budís this year. With one of the oldest teams in the league injuries will surely take their toll this season. Although a great player in his time the addition of Joe Nuiwendyk is not what this team needed and if you believe he will be the final piece to get them to the cup Leaf fans should get a good dose of reality once January hits. The truth is the only reason the Leafs were able to make the playoffs last year was due to the play of Ed Belfour. Donít count on a repeat performance.

Prediction 8th in East


Ok what are you talking about?
two sweet winning straks and number one in the Leauge? not just in the east. I think you ned to relook some of you picks
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Ripley
PickupHockey Pro



USA
341 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2004 :  18:10:27  Show Profile
Dude.

you have missed the boat pretty bad here. You better come out of hiding and defend yourself!
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Ripley
PickupHockey Pro



USA
341 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  23:21:51  Show Profile
Hey Mark!

Where are you predictions for 2005/2006? No advice for us losers this year???
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Canucklehead
Top Prospect



Canada
7 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2006 :  15:22:04  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by coastie

These are the first set of picks I've completely agreed with so far this season.



Canucks Rule!!!!
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