HodgePodge: New NHL reg season predictions

New NHL reg season predictions

HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge

If you are not hockey fan then check in again next week because today’s HodgePodge is all about chasing that silly black puck around the ice.

Yup, plug in your bar fridge, stuff your cooler with ice, clean off the TV trays, and change batteries in your channel changer because it’s time for that fine Canadian tradition – NHL hockey season. Advise any non-hockey pundit family members you will see them come June (if the playoffs are over by then).

The only thing more fun than watching hockey is being part of a hockey pool. The trick is finding a couple of not so bright hockey people to join and then take their money. That is why I get involved every year in the Media Hockey Pool. It’s kind of like taking candy from a baby – only these babies drink beer.  (I haven’t worked full time for media for more than a decade but because of this column I’m given some sort of alumni status and they invite me in – but I digress).  Several of the guys in the Media Hockey Pool belong to newspapers so, well, say no more. (Some of us retired from full time newspaper work before the disease spread too deep). Pat, Marshall  and a couple others are simply ink-stained wretches with years and years of newspaper damage behind them. It’s sad but what can you do?

Dan prints the paper in the ‘back shop’ and there are hazardous fumes involved in that work – so that clarifies Dan’s issue.

Then there is Andre who gets lost so often trying to get to the pool or forget the draft someone else drafts for him.

No one really knows what ‘Happy’ does for work or pleasure – but he’s always happy. Good thing because he’s a big boy and it is never wise to beat a big guy in a hockey pool if he has no sense of ha-ha.

Al always shows up for the draft all the way from Grand Forks, but it doesn’t matter. Some guys in the pool kindly suggest the reason Al does not do well in the standings is because he had a tumour the size of a golf ball taken out of his brain several years ago. Others suggest that’s an exaggeration because Al’s brain is probably not the size of a golf ball to begin with and he was really bad in hockey pools long before the tumour. But I digress yet again. My point being is they would all do well to take heed of my brilliant thoughts and predictions.

So here they are, as always, for any hockey pool fans needing help. It’s time for ‘Laugh at Charlie’s Stupid Hockey Predictions’. I annually put myself through the embarrassing ritual of making these predictions. Readers can clip this out and stick it on their (beer) fridge and then laugh at me throughout the playoffs. For some pathetic reason I find this amusing, and so do others. Hope you have fun. Get out your highlight pen and scissors. (No running).

So here is how I predict the four divisions will finish:

  • Pacific Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Vegas Vancouver, L.A., Seattle, Anaheim, San Jose.
  • Central Division: Colorado, Minnesota, St. Louis, Nashville, Winnipeg, Dallas, Chicago, Arizona.
  • Atlantic: Tampa, Florida, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Detroit.
  • Metropolitan: Carolina, New York Rangers, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Islanders, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia.

Connor McDavid will lead the league in scoring amassing 52 goals and 132 points. Leon Draisaitl will finish second with 118 points and Auston Mathews third with a boggling 69 goals and 115 points in a season that sees scoring soar. Nathan MacKinnon will finish fourth.

Colorado’s Cale Makar will lead the leagues’ defenceman in scoring.

Despite all the scoring prowess injures will hurt both Edmonton and Toronto hence not winning division titles, however the playoffs will tell a different story. Both teams will finish in the final of the playoff

The final four clubs in the Stanley cup showdown will be Carolina and Toronto out of the Eastern Division and Colorado and Edmonton out of the Western Division.

Logic says it will be Carolina and Colorado facing off for the Stanley Cup but my heart says we will see a Toronto – Edmonton final. So that is where I am going to put my heart and my predictions. Leafs finally win the cup!

As stated last year my Leaf prediction is based on the fact that I believe God is a hockey fan, and more than that, a Leaf fan.  The lack of Cup victories since the early 1960’s was merely punishment for the club allowing the evil Harold Ballard and the Smythe clan to take control of the team for so long. Now, however, the club’s years of abandonment and suffering are over and players like Mathews and Mitch Marner are poised to play Moses returning the club out of the wasteland.

So there you are. Grab your scissors and a magnet and have extra fun for the shortened season.

(P.S. If anyone counters that my comments above are an exaggeration and mis-leading and that I finished at the bottom of last year’s pool they are wrong! It was actually second last).

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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