Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eloquence's 10 NHL Predictions for 2012

By GTOG Staff, with Eloquence

He doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, Eloquence, GTOG's Chief Technology Officer and Social Networking Coordinator, drinks Dos Equis.  And he doesn't always write blog posts, but when he does, he makes predictions about the NHL.  So we now turn it over to Eloquence: first he revisits his 5 predictions for 2011, and then ups the ante with 10 more for 2012.  You can take these to the bank.

Scoring Eloquence's 2011 Predictions

1) The Devils are at the beginning of a multi-year struggle, but not as bad as many think it will be. There was a point last year that Devils had a record of like 3-30. GTOG is not hasty in our outlook. They finished last year with an incredible run but still missed the playoffs and currently 7th in Eastern Conference. They’ll be on the bubble all year. 1 for 1.

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

3) Bruce Boudreau will not be the Capitals coach in 2012.  Though in fairness I predicted he’d be fired before the end of last season or during the offseason after another early playoff exit. But, like I said, he wouldn’t be behind the bench when 2012 rolls around. Good luck to ya, Anaheim.  3 for 3.

4) The NHL's popularity will gain ground in 2011 on the other three major sports. I don’t have the time or interest to analyze this, but l imagine it’s happening in some categories – esp. with the NBA lockout. The NHL has been steady, big market teams are doing well, another 24/7 series on HBO, etc. I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt and put The Onus on someone else to prove this wrong. 4 for 4.

5) ESPN will continue to suck. Recently, Finesse emailed me to ask if Burnside was reporting with a tire-fire behind him. Last year we think he was filming from his grandmother’s living room. And another point this year I’m almost positive there was folded laundry behind him. Guess ESPN has to make room in the budget for the virtual playbook and not listing any hockey players on the list of 2011 sports tragedies. And how could you possibly give the NHL more pixels on the homepage when news breaks that Rick Pitino will not seek extension in 2017? 5 for 5.

10 predictions for 2012 after the jump...

Ten Predictions for 2012

1) The Caps will have their best playoff performance since the start of the Ovechkin era. Normally they coast through the regular season with little adversity and a style ill-suited for the playoffs. This year they’re facing drama earlier in the season and have time to recalibrate before the playoffs along with a veteran goalie. Look for a tougher team to play against.

2) The Caps will make a big trade sooner than later. Are they better than their record? Yes. Is this a Cup contending roster? No.

3) The Wild, while flying high for a while, will barely make the playoffs and lose quickly in the first round. They’re -6 on goal differential and lack scoring options.

4) Detroit comes out of the West for the Stanley Cup. Better goaltending and same group of dangerous players. Blackhawks will make a strong push, but will allow too many goals.

5) The Rangers will finish second in Atlantic. They finally look legit with a +30 goal differential and multiple scoring threats. Still don’t scare me in the playoffs, but not a joke anymore.

"You want to say that to my face?"
6) Lindy Ruff will be fired/resign. Every time the Pens play the Sabres, we’re reminded 12 times that Ruff is the longest tenured coach in the league. That will end after this season with new ownership and an underachieving team.

7) The Sabres' new coach will have ties to the Penguins. The Sabres’ new executives, Ken Sawyer and Ted Black, spent years in Pittsburgh. Sawyer was former CEO of the Pens.

8) The Flyers will cool off and finish 3rd in division. Hartnell can’t maintain this scoring pace. Giroux will face increased physical play and probably fade a bit as a result. Goaltending is still a bit shaky. They give up three goals/game.

9) Winnipeg will win a playoff series. Just about every year there’s a big shocker in the first round. Winnipeg will do it this year. Why them? They are middle of the pack in the major team stats and aren’t terrible in any one category. They score and allow about 3 goals/game, have a decent PP and a decent PK. In other words, they can keep a game tight.

10) Scott Burnside will report from yet another obscure place but will be interrupted with the breaking news that Lebron James announced that he will celebrate his 40th birthday when he turns 40.

Handgun on the table?

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