HodgePodge: Podge predictions ’24 NHL playoffs

Podge predictions ’24 NHL playoffs

HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge

For approximately two gazillion years of column writing, I’ve maintained the foolish tradition of making predictions at the beginning of both the NHL’s regular season and playoffs. I suggest people post my predictions on the beer fridge next to their own and then laugh at the lists as part of their bonus playoff sporting pleasure.

For the record I made these predictions before the first games were played, though I was tempted to change my Leaf – Bruin prediction after the opening game. It is Monday night, and I am posting my column with a few added comments but the predictions remain unchanged.

In the opening round of the Western Division:

Our suddenly solid and almost trustworthy Vancouver Canucks will prove to the league that the regular season was not a fluke and while they may not claim the Stanley Cup this year they are good for a round or two. Led by outstanding defenceman Quinn Hughes the surprising new sparkplug Dakota Joshua and goaltender Thatcher Demko the Canucks will tumble the Nashville Predators in six games.

Edmonton will finally show their playoff potential long expected by defeating Los Angeles in six games. The series will be tied at two games each and Edmonton will then open their scoring machine and thump LA in the final two matches. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and defenceman Evan Bouchard will rack up the points, but old men Corey Perry and Evander Kane could help Edmonton into the finals.

Vegas and Dallas will be an intense, tough series going seven games. Vegas in overtime. Lots of folks believe Dallas is the top team in the west this year, I am not among them. Jack Eichel will finally catch the public spotlight long expected of him leading Vegas throughout.

Winnipeg will upset Colorado in seven games. Technically on paper this should be Colorado in five or six but Winnipeg will continue to work doggedly and prevail. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and former Kelowna Rocket defenceman Josh Morrisey will spark Winnipeg. Colorado fans will be shocked by a no-show performance from Colorado as a club. The only Colorado player to impress will be Nathan MacKinnon but he can’t do it all.

In the Eastern Division:

Carolina will defeat the New York Islanders in five games. Sebastion Aho and Andrei Svechnikov will star for Carolina.

The New York Rangers meanwhile will have their way against the Washington Capitals sending Alexander Ovechkin and friends packing in six games. Artemi Panarin, Nika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider will prove the firepower needed and finally get some impressive scoring displays by Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko.

In a top shelf clash the physical Florida Panthers will out body as well as outscore the Tampa Bay Lightning winning that brilliant series in six games. Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Barkov, and the in-your-face abrasive Matthew Tkachuk will rock and roll the panthers all the way to the final four.

While common sense and history dictates different I am (of course) picking Toronto to (finally) squeeze by the Boston Bruins in seven games. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares will finally lead the Leafs past the first round of a playoff series. It will be William Nylander and Max Domi who are the deal breakers though. The final two in the east will be Toronto and Florida while in the west the top two teams will be Edmonton and Vancouver.

So, there it is. There is not much left to do now except rip this out of the paper, tape it to the fridge – or some other very important location (beer cooler, remote control stand, side of TV) write your own prediction and stick it next to this.

(Note to editor – I just told readers to stick it – do you think they will notice?) Okay, somebody drop the puck!


This news, just in and with no space left I must plug an important fundraiser. My buddy Brian explains that a local family needs kind hearts to help their son. Oliver Hough was born with Down Syndrome 15 years ago and despite many challenges has thrived well, actively involved in Motion Ball and special Olympics. He has overcome so many obstacles and has been an amazingly positive role model for others.

But the challenges continue to mount and he has now been diagnosed with Leukemia and has been flown to Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital for treatments, which may last in excess of two years. Brian and friends are hosting some fund raisers to help the family with the huge costs of travel, mediation, etcetera. On April 26 Mid-Town Pub is hosting a beer and burger fund raiser from 3-6 and on April 27 the same thing at the Train Station Pub. Organizers are also collecting items for a silent auction. For more information about how to donate and item call 250-469-1678.

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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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