Zandberg's fearless predictions: Western Conference

I never got why some people make predictions so early, especially with the Sundin and Shanahan saga for example. But I think that now it is about the right time.
Some people don't get why pundits and experts even make predictions. Well I am here to say: "Because it's fun, that's why!"

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Red Wings. No brainer. Not the strongest division and the most-loaded team. I do not think the Wings will repeat though. I think the team in slot 2 will do that.

2. Stars. I'm sold on these guys. And why isn't anyone giving Fabian Brunnstrom any credit? I've drafted him late in every pool I'm in. When I get him people say: "Ah shit! I forgot about him!" These guys pushed Detroit to the limit in the playoffs even without their top 2 D-men.

3. Who the hell is going to win the Northwest Division? It's going to be close. Very close. Just to shut up all of the Vancouver nay-sayers, who have no clue about what they are talking about, I have the Canucks barely taking it. This team is better than it was 2 years ago.
Where's the scoring going to come from? How about I whack you over the side of the head? By committee. The first 3 lines will score. Oh yes they will.
Now, somebody give Sami Salo full armour so he doesn't hurt himself again. How about all of our D gets armour? I really don't want a repeat of last year's injury compilation. Hell, those guys wore out the road to the hospital. They had to re-pave it.

4. Sharks. It should be close between these guys and Dallas for top spot in the Pacific. Their powerplay is going to be scary.

5. Ducks. We should see a return to form for the quacks. Having Selanne and Niedermayer play a full season will do that. Is Getzlaf going to score 100 points?

6. Flames. Bertuzzi? Bah! Cammalleri is good, but he replaces Tanguay. Calgary isn't that much better than last year's team. Or is it? Can Keenan continue his rule with an iron fist? I smell a "tuning out" of Iron Mike this year. Just a hunch. Maybe I should rank these guys in 7th. Ah piss on it.

7. Oilers. Who's mocking Lowe now? The Oilers have depth up front and one cruel blueline in Souray and Visnovski. Can Souray and Cole stay healthy? Are the kids going to suffer from a sophmore slump? Answers: probably not and no. The Oilers continually get better. They could win the Northwest.

8. Coyotes. Love the youth movement here. I think Gretzky is finally going to have a playoff appearance as a coach.
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9. Avalanche. How hard can Raycroft push Budaj or vice versa? The goaltending situation here is the big question mark. Let's see if Forsberg returns at Xmas to boost the team. How will Granato fair in his 2nd try at the helm?

10. Wild. Any team coached by Lemaire can't completely flounder. Adding Brunette was good. But he's no Rolston. How much longer can newly-acquired Owen Nolan keep up his improved play?

11. Predators. I can't believe they finished 8th last season. I underrated them last year and I'll do it again this year. Can Jason Arnott pull off a stellar season twice? Doubt it. Jan "god" Hlavac is gone. How hard will Radulov play if he returns? That case isn't even resolved yet. It's close. Too many question marks/controversy surrounding this team.

12. Blackhawks. I don't trust Huet just yet. Just my opinion. If Khabibulin isn't there, who's going to push Crystalballs? Besides that, Brian Campbell isn't going to save this team. I don't like how the Hawks got rid of a lot of their veterans. Now they could be too young. We'll see. But they are moving in the right direction in the long term.

13. Blues. A crap shoot between these guys and Columbus.

14. Blue Jackets. A crap shoot between these guys and St. Louis. If Peca is right, these guys will be in the playoffs. Peca is probably smoking too much greens.

15. Kings. The rebuilding continues.

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