Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eloquence Speaks: Five Predictions for 2011

By Eloquence

It's GTOG policy not to make predictions willy-nilly about the Penguins playoff chances. It's bad form. However, I will offer some thoughts this morning about the rest of the league. Here are five predictions for 2011 in no
particular order:

1) The Devils are at the beginning of a multi-year struggle, but not as
bad as many think it will be. This year is long gone, but with a fresh start and resuming their trap-oriented style that former coach John McLean moved away from, the Devils will be a formidable team again next season. They may not scare you like they did the previous 20 years, but they'll keep things close and no one is interested in a close game with Brodeaur in net. Sure, they have underachieving offensive talent making a ton of money. And you don't need a whole lot up front to trap for 60 minutes and win 2-1 50 times.

2) It will help when Zach Parise signs a new deal this summer to stay in New Jersey.

3) Bruce Boudreau will discover the breakthrough inventions of mirrors
and napkins so he avoids interviews with sauce on his face. Joking aside, I predict the he will not be the Capitals coach in 2012. The Caps will either continue to underachieve and he will be fired before end of season; or they will exit the playoffs early again and Bruce will be replaced in the off-season. The regular season struggles fall on him -- this team shouldn't be losing 2-1 to sub-500 teams, or 1-0 to Tampa Bay, as they did last night. Another early playoff exit would not be a surprise - this team isn't built for a deep run. The offense doesn't play enough defense; the defense isn't good enough; and the goaltending is inconsistent. Someone has to take the fall and if you watched the 24/7 HBO special, you can f***ing see why Bruce would f***ing be the f***ing guy to f***ing go.

4) The NHL's popularity will gain ground in 2011 on the other three major sports. The Winter Classic, a great group of superstars to market, teams in big markets are doing well/improving (Chicago, LA, NYC (can't last long, right?), Dallas, DC, Philly), and HBO's 24/7 special will all contribute to the surge. The NHL will never surpass the NFL, NBA or MLB in popularity, but it's a well functioning league with a tremendous product, increased exposure, and compelling parity since the salary cap was implemented a few years back.

5) ESPN will determine that Brett Favre's personal life is more worthy
of a headline on the homepage than Crosby scoring 7 goals in
the first period of a single game. Four nights in a row.

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