FWIW File -- A Summing Up of 4 Major Plot Lines Thus Far in the 2013/14 NHL Season (nothing more; skip if too basic)
Subject : Preseason Predictions in Retrospect -- Corrections, & Credit Where It's Due
I read many a 2013/14 NHL forecast (maybe 50? -- from both expert & fan) before the season began. Looking back at the schedule's mid-point, here are a couple things that stand out to me.
1) Nobody - and I mean nobody (that I came across, at least) - foresaw the success of the Colorado Avalanche this season. They were picked almost universally to finish at or near the bottom of their division. The highest anyone I read picked them was 4th in the Central (that was ESPN's Scott Burnside), which is where I placed them. (He thought they would miss the playoffs, whereas I picked them to make it.)
2) The second most surprising team has been the Tampa Bay Lightning, almost as remarkable a turnaround as the Avs. They too entered the season with low, non-playoff expectations. They've been great, even after superstar Steven Stamkos was lost to a broken leg (tibia). (I didn't have them slated as playoff-bound.)
3) Just as the above two teams have overachieved, the Detroit Red Wings have thus far underachieved. Before the season, next to the Boston Bruins it was Detroit's name one heard/read most often when it came to expected success in the Atlantic (as I also thought). Instead they have struggled all year, and their 23-year postseason streak is hanging in the balance.
4) The Anaheim Ducks were expected to be strong, but not 'Army strong'! They are blowing up not only the Western Conference, but the entire hockey world. 77 points, and opponents are crumbling like stale bread in their path (9-1 against Vancouver recently, for example). The only expert I remember who predicted they would win the Pacific Division was Barry Melrose. There may have been others, but props to him. Interesting in retrospect that Colorado began the year (some of us were there) by blowing them out 6-1 on opening night.