Prediction Round-Ups

So every year, the “experts” (so very few of which have actually played) around the nation make a few predictions on the season.  I’m ignoring anyone I haven’t heard of.  Let’s take a look and see where they pick the Wings.

NBC:

Stanley Cup chances: On a scale of 1-5, with one being the worst and five being the best, the Red Wings are a 5. They’ve got all-world talent, they’re a deep team and they’re dangerous in all facets of the game. With the amount of talent in Detroit, it’d be a bigger story if the Wings weren’t a major contender for the Cup. As it is, they, along with Vancouver and San Jose, are the biggest threats to come out of the Western Conference and challenge for the championship.

TSN:

The 2011 Stanley Cup parade will roll down Woodward Avenue next June.

The Detroit Red Wings, led by captain Nicklas Lidstrom and veterans Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, are TSN’s consensus choice to win the Cup as revealed in the NHL on TSN Season Preview on Wednesday.

Allen Muir – SI:

Kid to Watch: Jakub Kindl. Some teams would have written off a 2005 first rounder with just three NHL games to his credit. Not the Wings, a team that slowly seasons its prospects the way an alligator marinates a deer under a submerged log. Now that he’s out of minor league options, Kindl will stick with the team in a reserve role. Based on his steady, heady preseason play however — and the struggles of Jonathan Ericsson — he could assume more significant responsibility before long.

Keep an Eye On: Jiri Hudler. Didn’t take a particularly long stint in the KHL for the ex-Wing to realize that the deal offered by Detroit prior to last season wasn’t so bad after all. Hudler’s young legs and enthusiasm will make him a valuable addition to this lineup. It’ll be interesting to see how he clicks with Modano, a player who still had the speed and creativity, but lacked the motivation to be a consistent contributor in Dallas.

Bottom Line: There’s sure to be a long line of pundits willing to write off the Wings, but it says here that good health may be all that separates this team from a berth in the Western Conference Final.

Michael Farber – SI:

Finals Prediction: Capitals over Detroit in the finals.

Jim Kelly – SI:

Finals Prediction: Sharks over Pens 
Detroit:  3rd in the West

Darren Eliot – SI:

Finals Prediction: Bruins over Sharks. 
Detroit:  2nd in the West.

Helene Elliot – Tribute:

Finals:  Doesn’t make a prediction. (That’s a ballsy move Colin)
Detroit:  2nd in the West.

Matthew Barnaby – ESPN:

Finals:  Pens over Detroit 
Detroit: Winning Central and the West.

John Buccigross – ESPN:

Finals:  Philly over LA
Detroit:  Not even winning the division.  Seriously, he has Nashville winning the division.

Scott Burnside – ESPN:

Finals:  Pens over Chicago. 
Detroit:  Not even winning the division.

Prediction: It doesn’t seem possible that the Wings could suffer a similar rash of injuries this season, which means they’ll challenge Chicago for top spot in the Central Division, ultimately finishing second. We see them battling the Hawks in the Western Conference finals.

EJ Hradek – ESPN:

Finals:  Same terrible prediction as Burnside. 
Detroit:  Winning the division, but somehow not making it out of the West.  Do you really think Chicago will beat us in seven games?

Pierre LeBurn – ESPN:

Finals:  Sharks over Caps
Detroit:  Winning the division.

Greasy Barry Melrose – ESPN:

Finals:  Nucks over Caps
Detroit:  Winning the division.

Kevin Allen – USA Today:

Detroit: 1st in West, and he has them winning it somewhere, I just can’t find it.

Outlook: Other top teams in the Western Conference lost major components, and Detroit added potentially meaningful contributors. The Red Wings could be the team to beat.

Our predictions tomorrow.

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