Ask any Sabres fan where the team will finish this year, and their answer usually includes the words “Stanley” and “Cup.” However, it doesn’t appear that our friends at The Hockey News agree.
In their annual Yearbook issue, THN writers predict the Sabres will finish fifth in the Eastern Conference – behind Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston and Philadelphia. The Capitals are also THN’s choice to win Stanley Cup this season. Chicago is predicted to be the Western Conference Cup representative, but Vancouver is their choice to finish first in the West during the regular season.
Before you start firing off hate mail to the THN editors, keep in mind their 2010-11 regular season predictions were almost on the money. They had both conference winners (Washington and Vancouver); nailed the top three finishers in order out West; correctly picked seven Eastern Conference playoff teams, and six in the West.
The Hockey News has also released their “Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide,” which features player analysis and individual point projections for those of us who dabble in hockey pools. (Full disclosure: I don’t just dabble in a hockey pool, I dive in head first. I’ve been in a 12-team keeper league for the last decade with team owners spread across North America. Our league format is so complex we can’t find an online service to run it. Our scoring is tabulated every day using an Excel spreadsheet and NHL.com stats.)Derek Roy
is projected by THN to rebound from his quad injury to lead the Sabres in scoring with 70 points, just ah ead of Thomas Vanek
(69), Jason Pominville
(63), Ville Leino
(60) and Tyler Ennis
(58). While those numbers all seem low to me, I was even more surprised their projection of a 48-point season for Drew Stafford
. I’m convinced he’s a lock for at least 35 goals and 65-70 points this season.
Former Sabre Brad May was announced as one of seven hockey players to compete in season three of CBC’s Battle of the Blades. The show features former NHL’ers paired with world-class figure skaters in a competition that has become wildly popular with Canadian viewers. If you haven’t seen it, think of it as Dancing with the Stars on ice. This season’s roster also includes Bryan Berard and Wade Belak. I’ve had a chance to see a few episodes in previous seasons and it’s very addicting. Why this hasn’t been picked up by a US network is beyond me.
Finally, watch for details of a live chat with Sabres President Ted Black next week on sabres.com. He’s got plenty to talk about, including some of the latest arena renovation news.