Over the last few weeks everyone and their neighbours has been making their predictions for the upcoming season. TSN spent two and a half hours today going through predictions for everything from who will win the Rocket Richard Trophy (Stamkos) to who will win the Chris Simon Award For Longest Suspension (Matt Cooke) and today's papers and websites will be filled with predictions. In fact, today is basically prediction day here.
Of course, it's different when the pros do it right? I mean, who knows better than an NHL coach? Well, sometimes, like fans, they'd do better to keep their thoughts to themselves.
"Our power play, especially thefirst unit, is scary-dangerous right now," coach Ron Wilson said. "And they've been good against regular penalty killers.
"We have things to fix on the penalty kill, but in general it has been breakdowns in the back-end in coverage and not what our forwards have failed to do. The defence has to do some little things better."
How did that work out? The only people scared by the Leafs' special teams were the fans. The powerplay finished 22nd in the league at 16.0% and the penalty kill came in at a lean 77.4%.
"We'll make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup," Maurice said as the club's pre-season roster went through medicals at Ricoh Coliseum in advance of today's first on-ice sessions. Maurice was also excited about his roster for the start of his second year as Leafs' coach. The Leafs shored up question marks from the last two seasons with the additions of Jason Blake, Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell. "This is the most talented team I've ever coached," Maurice said.
Oh boy. Come May, Paul Maurice was leading the blue and white into the play...no, he was fired. Because he was terrible. Seriously, read that post.
"Nothing would surprise me with this group at all, nothing at all. It won't surprise me when we make the playoffs, it won't. The biggest surprise of all might be if we don't," Renney said to media on Friday. "Because I know how deep the care is, I know how willing they are to be coached, how proud they are, quite honestly, to be here doing this in Edmonton."
This quote does not get nearly the attention that it deserves. On this date in history, the Oilers were fifth last in the NHL and dead last in the Western Conference where they sat eight points out of the playoffs. After Renney's hilarious quote? The Oilers finished thirty-five points out of the playoffs and dead last in the NHL. Good Lord, what an awful prediction.
Which brings me to the local hockey team's coach's latest prediction:
"We’re a better team now, so I don’t even think about that," Wilson said of the squad’s tendency to start seasons slow. "We’re a much better team than we’ve been the last three years. Before that, I have no idea. I wasn’t paying attention to the Leafs." The fan base didn’t have that luxury. Their memory is longer, their drought is bigger and that’s the main reason why there’s now more pressure to make the playoffs – something Wilson acknowledged Tuesday. "It seems I’ve always been under heat here," he said. "No matter what we do, there’s going to be pressure. I’m used to that now."
This seems ominous...