Alternative NHL Season Predictions
Tonight marks the beginning of the NHL season, so everyone’s rolling out their preseason prediction articles. But since you already know Sidney Crosby — barring injury — will win every trophy possible, I’ve decided to go a different route with my predictions. Below I forecast one major event that I think will come to pass in each of the season’s eight months.
October — Seth Jones wins Calder Memorial Trophy: After Jones scores his first goal in his third NHL game, a bald eagle crashes through the roof of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, retrieves the puck, and carries to it the top of the Washington Monument. The Pro Hockey Writers’ Association calls an emergency session to confer its rookie of the year honors early.
November — Darren Dreger accidentally refers to the Maple Leafs as “we” in a tweet: After inexplicably being scratched for a third consecutive game, Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson requests a sit down meeting with the coaching staff. As rumors begin to spread that the power play specialist wants out of Toronto, TSN analyst Dreger tweets, “No truth to rumours Franson demanded trade from TOR. We want him on the roster for the stretch run/value our defensive depth.”
December – The Buffalo Sabres don’t show up for a game : Ryan Miller reportedly tells the Buffalo News, “I have to get ready for the Olympics.” Coach Ron Rolston says, “I don’t blame them.” Christian Ehrhoff simply adds, “Alles ist nichts.”
January — The Red Wings clinch President’s Trophy: The East has no response to Mike Babcock’s “skate straight ahead and shoot” strategy. Pavel Datsyuk announces he will rest until the playoffs, causing 6,332 angry fantasy owners to email Yahoo! about a refund for a free service.
February — Russia advances to Olympic finals on Jack Johnson own goal: Riding the goodwill of his World Championships captaincy, Jack Johnson inexplicably finds himself on the ice during the waning minutes of a tied semifinal match against host Russia. Watching a puck kick off Jonathan Quick’s pad, Johnson has a flashback to his Kings days and acts instinctively to bury Russia’s winner. Ilya Kovalchuk is credited on the score sheet.
March — The Flames trade their first round pick for Martin Brodeur: Due to a fluky 14% shooting percentage, the Calgary Flames find themselves in eighth place entering the season’s final months. Believing their good fortune to actually be the result of a renewed commitment to physicality, Jay Feaster and Brian Burke engineer a trade for Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has a .920 SV% in 16 games as Cory Schneider’s backup. Relied on as the everyday starter in Calgary, the future Hall-of-Famer posts a .880 SV% down the stretch and the Devils win the draft lottery with the Flames’ first round pick.
April — The Philadelphia Flyers sign Ilya Bryzgalov: In a tight race for a playoff spot and physically unable to watch Steve Mason tend the net anymore, Paul Holmgren makes a tremendously difficult phone call. Ilya Bryzgalov walks into Holmgren’s office 3 minutes later, in full gear, having waited outside the Wells Fargo Center all season for this moment.
May — The San Jose Sharks are eliminated from the playoffs