In every man’s life, a man must admit he’s wrong. I’ve done that plenty of times and it was true this past NHL season. However, I’ve also gotten a few things right. I’ll eat some crow and pat myself on the back. If I’ve missed something, please comment below or tweet me @DanMountSports.
1. The Cup Final
I will admit this is very hard to predict from the very beginning of the season. The West is pretty tough with a handful of teams that can win it, but I thought the Chicago Blackhawks would repeat as Stanley Cup champion. (The Los Angeles Kings took care of that.)
However, I looked really silly on the Rangers winning the East. I thought Detroit would make a surprise run at the Cup, but little did I know that the team would end up being sort of like the Grand Rapids Griffins with all the injuries they faced. I guess I was still kind of sore that two teams play each other only twice a season after the realignment.
2. Rise of the Elements
I really thought the Lightning and the Avalanche would really struggle this year. However, both teams proved me wrong. The Lightning adapted to Jon Cooper’s defensive system and got a breakout performance by Ben Bishop (and also survived the Steven Stamkos injury) to get to the postseason.
However, I really missed the boat on the Avs. I thought their young guys would struggle and new coach Patrick Roy would struggle transitioning from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but Roy found a way to get the most out of guys like Calder Trophy winner Nate MacKinnon en route to the Central Division title. The Avs will be a force to be reckoned with for the couple of seasons.
3. The Sharks changing their destiny
I was one of the people that thought San Jose would at least get out of the first round, but I forgot the first rule of Western Conference hockey is to pick against the Sharks. They got off to a great start, but collapsed in historical fashion in blowing a 3-0 lead to Los Angeles.
It seems like the Sharks are going to stand pat mostly, and I smell disaster for next season.
4. Leafs in the playoffs
I didn’t think Toronto would make any noise in the postseason, but I thought that they’d make it in. They had a great start, but could not sustain it. A lot of injuries doomed the Leafs and caused the shakeup that resulted in Brendan Shanahan taking charge.
5. Most of the major awards
However, I did get one of the big ones right.
Speaking of that, let’s segue to what I nailed.
1. The Bruins winning the President’s Trophy
Boston did have a great defensive team that is built to grind down teams and pick up points in the regular season.
2. The Bruins getting ousted in round two
That being said, I thought the lack of offensive creativity would cause some issues for the B’s in the playoffs. While the Wings didn’t eliminate the Bruins, an aggressive Montreal squad got great play from Carey Price and timely scoring to win the series over their hated rivals.
3. The Stars shine bright
I did see that the Stars were heading in the right direction with the acquisition of Tyler Seguin. He helped Jamie Benn and company get Dallas into the postseason for the first time since 2007-08. General manager Jim Nill did a great job in the offseason to help build the depth that was a little lacking in their playoff series against Anaheim.
4. Crosby for MVP
This one was a layup, but it’s nice to get one major award right.
5. Canada wins the gold
It was another layup, but there were some times that Canada fans got a tad nervous. It could be the last time we see NHLers at the Winter Olympics.
That’s it for today. I will be starting my summer series on who may have something to prove in the offseason. Take care, everyone.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He also covers the Rangers, Devils and Islanders for NYSportScene.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.