Sunday, August 21, 2005

 

Berger's Predictions

I am working on my predictions still, but here is your Berger Fix with how he sees 'em!



Howard Berger
Fan 590 Toronto


As yours truly wraps up a wonderful five-week summer hiatus here in Los Angeles, and returns to Toronto to prepare for training camp, I’ve been asked by several e-mailers to go way out on a limb and predict how the coming season will unfold, from beginning to end. It’s a perilous undertaking, let me tell you, and it won’t be possible to keep the masses content. “Leaf Fan”, for example, (and there is no comparable creature anywhere on earth) will lunge for the Prozac, wondering how in the Lord’s name the losses of wingers Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Alexander Mogilny and Owen Nolan, and defenseman Brian Leetch, could remove the Beloveds from 100-point territory. Blasphemous is a suggestion that Toronto will not accumulate 90 points, and a prediction of less than 80 (like this one) is worthy of the electric chair.

Prepare the voltage, I say! Permit me one last conversation with my children, and lavish me with a voluminous Chinese spread (“Sea-Hi” or “Lichee Garden” in Toronto…or “Yang Chow” in Los Angeles will do). Then, put me face-to-face with… “Leaf Fan”.

The crystal ball (dusty as it may be) says here that Toronto, Colorado, St. Louis and San Jose will experience the biggest point decreases from the 2003-04 season, and that Pittsburgh, Anaheim and Chicago will rise majestically. The Penguins, in fact, will go from a 58-point season to deep into the Conference semifinals. As a testament to the new salary-cap universe, two of the four teams standing in the Conference finals will hail from north of the border. And, Vancouver will become the first Canuck… oops, Canadian squad to cop the Holy Grail since Montreal, in 1993.

Here, then, is the whole shootin’ match, from top to bottom. If business takes you to Fiji for the winter; if your home is not equipped to receive the Outdoor Life Network; should the CBC strike give you arena P.A. announcers all season, or if your Internet service craps out as frequently as mine does… have no fear. Simply print out a copy of the following summation, and attend to other matters. Your 2005-06 NHL season is safely in my hands.

Predictions include: Points For This Season/Points From 2003-04.



EASTERN CONFERENCE WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Philadelphia 108/101 1. Vancouver 112/101

2. Tampa Bay 104/106 2. Detroit 104/109

3. Ottawa 102/102 3. Anaheim 94/76

4. New Jersey 100/100 4. Calgary 102/94

5. Pittsburgh 96/58 5. Edmonton 98/89

6. Boston 94/104 6. Nashville 90/91

7. N.Y. Islanders 92/91 7. Chicago 88/59

8. Montreal 88/93 8. San Jose 84/104

9. Florida 82/75 9. Dallas 82/97

10. Toronto 76/103 10. Los Angeles 80/81

11. Atlanta 74/78 11. Columbus 74/62

12. Carolina 72/76 12. Colorado 72/100

13. N.Y. Rangers 68/69 13. Minnesota 70/83

14. Washington 62/59 14. Phoenix 66/68

15. Buffalo 60/85 15. St. Louis 64/91



PLAYOFFS—CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

PHILADELPHIA vs. Montreal (Flyers in 5) VANCOUVER vs. San Jose (Canucks in 5)

TAMPA BAY vs. N.Y. Islanders (Lightning in 7) DETROIT vs. Chicago (Red Wings in 7)

OTTAWA vs. Boston (Senators in 5) ANAHEIM vs. Nashville (Mighty Ducks in 6)

NEW JERSEY vs. Pittsburgh (Penguins in 6) CALGARY vs. Edmonton (Flames in 7)



PLAYOFFS—CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

PHILADELPHIA vs. Pittsburgh (Flyers in 6) VANCOUVER vs. Calgary (Canucks in 6)

TAMPA BAY vs. Ottawa (Senators in 7) DETROIT vs. Anaheim (Red Wings in 7)



PLAYOFFS—CONFERENCE FINALS

PHILADELPHIA vs. Ottawa (Flyers in 6) VANCOUVER vs. Detroit (Canucks in 7)



STANLEY CUP FINAL—

VANCOUVER vs. Philadelphia (Canucks in 7)



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