The top Eight In the West will be:
1) Vancouver (fuck it makes me feel dirty writing that) (Goal Differential last year: +77)
2) San Jose (+35)
3) Chicago (+33)
4) Detroit (+20)
5) Los Angeles (+21)
6) Nashville (+25)
7) Calgary (+13) (That's the homer pick. Deal with it.)
Dropping out (from last years top 8): Phoenix.
Phoenix drops out due to their reliance on a goaltender Feaster once traded Brad Richards for. The Flames, by the grace of the deity, gets in. Why do we think that?
Well, we are fans of the team at the end of the day. Beyond that reason, we like to squint. Squinting real hard, we see the defence not suck more than it did last year. This is a gamble: the defence can easily suck more than it did last year, especially because we are of the mindset that Hannan is like Regehr, except smaller, slower, less positionally sound, and is less aggressive (ie he doesn't check). And Butler is a question mark. And Babchuck may get 5 on 5 minutes.
Similarly, the Flames scored a lot of goals last year, but expecting the over 30 crew to match those totals may be as delusional as expecting them to surpass them. It would most certainly be prudent to anticipate the offense being less potent this year. But fuck that shit. Prudence is for the Sedin sisters. Jarome Iginla, 50 goals.
The forward depth, which the Godfather makes some good points today about the stuff like 'it's kinda stupid to be paying forwards who will play 10 minutes or less 3 million dollars', may turn out to be a plus. Maybe Hagman gets hot and forces some players to watch their place on the depth chart. The competition for minutes on the wings may turn out to be a driver that increases the general level of play from that position. Hey, we told ya'll we were squinting.
Hey, did we ever mention that we hate the centres on this team? Well, besides Backlund. Olli Jokinen is a bust. How people in this town cheer for that cat without developing an ulcer is something we will never understand. Brenda Morrison is Brenda Morrison, which is to say he will play on one knee, and if someone checks him he will complain loudly about it to the world, and his teammates will not do anything about it. Matt Stajan is Matt Stajan. We hope Matt Stajan scores 100 goals this year, so we can ship his ass out at the trade deadline.
Actually, we can cheer for Horak as well. If for no other reason than the fact we hope he plays so well it makes spending 1.25 million on a one knee Morrison look as stupid to the rest of the folks as it does to us.
But here is the real reason the Flames will make the playoffs: David Moss will score 70 points.
Holy shit, DB is high.
Just hold on a second. One of these years, David Moss will stay healthy and play 82. Why not this year? So lets say he plays 82. Last time he did that, he had 194 shots on goal. He also had a TOI/G of 13:36.
This year, the Mosster is starting the season on the big line. His minutes will go up. His other stats, because of his increased minutes, should go up as well. He shoots 10%. Lets say he gets his 200 shots, scores 20 goals. If he plays with the big boys, is it insane to think he could, by virtue of the second assist, not accrue 50 helpers? Well, yeah, it is kinda insane. But if he sticks between Tangs and Elvis the whole season, who knows, maybe.
And so that's our Crazy Prediction for the Flames this year. Break out season for Moss, who is playing for his next contract, and who has a wife we are assuming enjoys shopping. Oh, crazy prediction number two is that Kipper doesn't sink the team this year.
So, squinting real hard, real hard, as of today, when everyone starts undefeated, we could see the Flames make the playoffs.
We could easily see them not making them, mind you. We would probably prefer that outcome for the admittedly selfish reason that missing them for a third time may impel Murray Edwards to shake up the front office, but we are misanthropic assholes.
Furthermore, I think
P.S. For Rubbertrout, who thinks that Muggsy Bouges in the backcourt was just as awesome as we do.