Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And to answer

Jim's question, the season begins this coming Thursday, October 5th. The Rangers open at home against Alex Ovechkin and the assorted scrubs calling themselves the Washington Capitals. It's a pity, but typical, for a great player like Ovechkin to spend a lot of his early years surrounded by a terrible club - lousy team = high draft pick, after all. If there's some patience and shrewdness in Caps management, they'll build him something to work with before he gets fed up and demands a trade.

I expect Jim's Cup-champion 'Canes are in for the usual post-Cup hangover. They also lost some key character guys, so we'll see about their chances of a repeat. I'd expect them to be competitive and make the playoffs easily, but I don't think they'll pull it off again. I don't see the kind of strength to them that previous dynasties had - Detroit, the Devils, etc.

My beloved Rangers are probably in for a rougher road this season. They surprised a lot of people last year, and I think other teams will be geared up more for them this season. Everything hinges on Jagr and Henrik Lundqvist - as they go, so go the Rangers. If Jagr's shoulder is not up to snuff, their already worrisome Power Play is in deep trouble. My guess for them is a 5-6th place spot in the playoffs (i.e. 2nd in their division), and I expect a much better playoff performance from them this year.

Consider this my NHL Season Preview.