Thursday, October 9, 2008

It'll be the Habs in their 100th

When you get right down to it, any predictions for the upcoming NHL season are nothing more than wishful thinking. Yes, you can do research. You can talk with fellow fans. And, if you're lucky enough, you can even talk to some players.

Still, though, no one knows. Players get injured or traded. A team's chemistry may never materialize. A top pick can become a big flop.

Yet, year after year, we put together, on the Internet, a piece of paper or the darkest recesses of our minds, a set of projections for the season ahead. Talk about optimism, eh?

So, for the record, here are Hound Central 4.0's picks. Remember, too, that they're certainly open for your debate:

Eastern Conference

1.) Philadelphia Flyers
2.) Montreal Canadiens
3.) Washington Capitals
4.) Pittsburgh Penguins
5.) New York Rangers
6.) New Jersey Devils
7.) Boston Bruins
8.) Carolina Hurricanes

Just missing: Buffalo Sabres

Western Conference

1.) Detroit Red Wings
2.) Anaheim Ducks
3.) Chicago Blackhawks
4.) San Jose Sharks
5.) Dallas Stars
6.) Calgary Flames
7.) Nashville Predators
8.) Edmonton Oilers

Just missing: Minnesota Wild

Conference champions

Eastern: Montreal Canadiens over Philadelphia Flyers in six games
Western: Anaheim Ducks over Calgary Flames in five games

Stanley Cup Finals

Montreal Canadiens over Anaheim Ducks in six games

Conn Smythe winner: Montreal's Carey Price

Annual awards

Presidents' Trophy
Detroit Red Wings, 112 points
Hart Trophy (MVP)
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Pearson Award (players' MVP)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Art Ross Trophy (top scorer)
Sidney Crosby, 128 points
Maurice Richard Trophy (top goal scorer)
Alexander Ovechkin, 58 goals
Calder Trophy (top rookie)
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Norris Trophy (top defenseman)
Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames
Vezina Trophy (top goalie)
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanlike)
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)
Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
Jennings Trophy (lowest GAA)
Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak, Montreal Canadiens, 2.13 GAA
Masterton Trophy (perseverance)
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
King Clancy Trophy (humanitarian)
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Bonus predictions

No. 1 pick: John Tavares by the New York Islanders
First coach fired: Tony Granato, Colorado Avalanche, or Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks
Biggest trade: Patrick Marleau for Simon Gagne
Biggest cut: Jeremy Roenick, San Jose Sharks
Fighting majors: Daniel Carcillo, Phoenix Coyotes, 17, with one three-game suspension
Shutout leader: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, eight

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