They are rarely spot on, and in the rare cases that they are, we have to hear the prognosticator remind us how he nailed that call for pretty much the rest of his life, ignoring of course the 99% of his predictions that weren’t even close.
Plus, predictions just give people either false hope – “Sabre Noise predicted the Sabres will win it all!” – or fill people with crippling amounts of dread – “Hello, NASA? I heard a rumor the world was going to end this year. Is that true? Because if it is, I’m offing myself when I hang up this phone.” In short, predictions are unreliable, unhealthy, and wholly unnecessary . . . which is why I’m going to share with you my Five Guaranteed-Not-To-Come-True Predictions for the 2013 NHL season. (Notice my attempt to use reverse psychology in order to trick fate into helping these come true!)
#1: The Sabres Will Win It All This Year!
Why not? Someone’s going to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup home in 2013, and in a season like this, when anything can and will happen, the Sabres have a legitimate chance to hit the jackpot. Sure, the past doesn’t support this prediction – but the past didn’t favor the Los Angeles Kings last year, and look how that turned out for them. The Sabres are young, hungry, playing for a consistent and even-keeled organization, and have added a few players that should strengthen their backbone for at least the short term. 2013 will be the luckiest year in Buffalo history . . . and mark my word, when I’m wrong, I’ll deny I wrote this until I’m blue in the face.
#2: Gary Bettman Will Lose His Job.
Ok – this is more of a wish than a prediction, born out of sheer emotion, instead of cold hard facts. I believe I speak for almost all hockey fans when I say there would be nothing better (aside from prediction #1 coming true) than seeing Gary Bettman relieved of his duties as commissioner of the NHL. Again, the facts don’t seem to support this – he works for the owners, and the owners wanted a bigger piece of the pie, so in that sense he did his job well – and getting rid of Bettman would ultimately be viewed as an admission of guilt on the NHL’s part, which we all know the owners would like to avoid. Still, I think the NHL is going to have to work harder to win back fans than they want to, and will ultimately be disappointed by attendance and by the bad word of mouth and press the sport receives. It’s been nice knowing you, Gary, and I hope the door hits you on the way out.
#3: The Minnesota Wild Will Not Make The Playoffs This Season
Yeah, yeah, yeah: the Wild went hog wild before the lockout, picking up free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Big deal. Under normal circumstances, with a full-length training camp and regular season, the Wild would have time to develop chemistry, adapt to each others playing styles, and have their new guys find their niche in the system. I bet the Wild will be absolute beasts . . . in 2013-2014. This year? I call it now: they don’t even make the playoffs. They’re talented, sure, but there’s too many pieces to the puzzle that haven’t been given the chance to come together yet (including one of Minnesota’s stars of the future, Mikael Granlund, who spent the lockout playing for the Houston Aeros of the AHL) and in a shortened season, the value of team chemistry cannot be overlooked. See you next year, Minnesota!
#4: The Edmonton Oilers Will Face Buffalo In The Stanley Cup Finals
Anyone sense a trend here? The Oilers are another team with a bunch of fresh, young legs – and unlike Minnesota, a significant part of this team DID spend time playing together during the lockout, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and defenseman Justin Schultz all tore it up in the AHL for the Oklahoma City Barons. I still think they are TOO young to bring the Cup home – the average age of the four guys I just listed is a mere 21 years-old – and the bright lights of hockey’s biggest stage will turn their studs into duds this year, but I believe these guys will come out of the gates smoking hot and enjoy a hell of a season.
#5: Sidney Crosby Will Win The MVP of the Regular Season
This pick isn’t a heck of a stretch – you know, the guy is pretty good – but my reason for picking him has nothing to do with his talent, or the abundance of skilled players he gets to share the ice with. No, I’m picking Crosby to bring home his second Hart Trophy based solely on the leadership role he displayed during the lockout, and the amount of attention he drew to himself by being so involved in the process. As I wrote toward the middle of the lockout, Sid the Kid took a risk by stepping into the fray and trying to help orchestrate the players-owners only meeting that took place in December. He could have gone and played overseas; instead, he stuck around to help settle the dispute. All throughout the lockout, Crosby really impressed me with his maturity and determination, especially when compared to his childish meltdown in last year’s playoffs, and I see his investment paying off in the form of a dominant season on his part, and with me promising to never call him “the Kid” again.
And now . . . a bonus prediction!
#6: Not One of Predictions 1-5 Will Come True
Sorry, but I have to give myself a shot at getting at least ONE prediction right this year!
Any predictions of your own? I’d love to hear them! Add them below, or fire me some bold guesses on Twitter @theaveragedick.