I love when I get to look back at predictions I made six months ago and laugh at them, in most cases. God I was stupid and naive then, how could I have ever seen that happening? Was I mad? On magic mushrooms? Taking the day off? That's usually how it goes on posts like these.
Except this year, with my NHL predictions, most of them turned out to be broadly right. Does that mean I'm a genius? Hardly, as anyone who looked at my NCAA Tournament picks and NFL season predictions from last year will tell you. But at least my broken ego will be pieced together with chewed up gum and spit for these predictions, as my playoff ones percolate in my brain. Here comes the review:
My Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: WSH, PIT, NYR, NYI, TB, MTL, DET, FLA
Actual Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: WSH, PIT, NYR, NYI, FLA, TB, DET, PHI
One off. I even got the exact order of the Metro's Top 4 right, for what little consolation that brings. Most people suspected Philly wouldn't quite be ready for the playoffs this year, but thanks to the Habs falling off a cliff, there was an opening for a team like Philadelphia to sneak in. I won't take a victory lap for thinking the Panthers were postseason bound since they're my team, but it is nice to know that I could at least see the forest through the trees.
My Western Conference Playoff Teams: STL, DAL, CHI, NSH, ANA, SJ, LA, CGY
Actual Western Conference Playoff Teams: DAL, STL, CHI, MIN, ANA, LA, SJ, NSH
Seven of eight again, with only the Wild slightly undervalued. I expected the Flames to regress some, but not as much as they eventually did. The bounce back for LA and San Jose came as expected, and the Dallas Stars rose to the top of the West with their Texas firepower.
Now for the awards...
President's Trophy: Anaheim. Winner: Washington. The Ducks slow start doomed them here, but they still finished with the Pacific Division crown anyway. Amazing season in Anaheim.
Hart: Steven Stamkos. Will he win it? Doubtful. Probably going to be Alex Ovechkin for another 50 goal triumph, but Patrick Kane will be there too.
Calder: Connor McDavid. Will he win it? Probably not, thanks to Artemi Panarin, though he will be top three. He has been the most impressive rookie in his time on ice, though it was curtailed by a terrible injury.
Vezina: Braden Holtby. Will he win it? You bet. He tied Marty Brodeur's single-season wins record on the best team in hockey, there's not even a question, even though Roberto Luongo and Ben Bishop have a case.
Norris: P.K Subban. Will he win it? Nope. Going to be Drew Doughty because he doesn't have one over Erik Karlsson who should win it with his amazing offensive season on a mediocre team.
Selke: Anze Kopitar. Will he win it? Probably.
Jack Adams: Lindy Ruff. Will he win it? Nope, despite the fact that his team had a great season. Going to be Mike Sullivan for saving the Penguins from the brink, Gerard Gallant for taking a team that was decent last year and turning them into a division winner, or Bruce Boudreau for the amazing save of the Ducks he did.
So that's the predictions gone over. Let's get to the playoffs.