The Puck Stops Here

Halfway through the National Hockey League’s truncated regular season seems like a fine time to revisit my previous puck prognostications.

Here are how things looked in the National Hockey League on Saturday afternoon:

Eastern Conference
ATLANTIC

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Pittsburgh

24

16

8

0

32

15

1

0

6-4-0

10-4-0

86

71

+15

7-3-0

Won 3

New Jersey

24

11

8

5

27

10

1

3

7-3-2

4-5-3

59

67

-8

2-6-2

Won 1

NY Rangers

23

12

9

2

26

10

2

2

9-5-1

3-4-1

59

57

+2

5-4-1

Lost 1

NY Islanders

25

11

11

3

25

9

2

0

5-8-2

6-3-1

76

82

-6

5-3-2

Won 1

Philadelphia

26

11

14

1

23

11

0

1

7-4-1

4-10-0

72

80

-8

5-5-0

Lost 3

NORTHEAST

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Boston

22

16

3

3

35

14

2

1

8-2-1

8-1-2

67

48

+19

8-1-1

Won 2

Montreal

24

15

5

4

34

14

1

2

8-3-2

7-2-2

75

61

+14

6-1-3

Won 1

Toronto

25

15

10

0

30

15

0

0

6-5-0

9-5-0

75

65

+10

6-4-0

Lost 1

Ottawa

25

13

8

4

30

10

3

2

9-1-2

4-7-2

59

51

+8

6-2-2

Won 1

Buffalo

25

9

13

3

21

6

3

2

4-6-1

5-7-2

65

80

-15

3-5-2

Lost 3

SOUTHEAST

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Carolina

23

13

9

1

27

13

0

0

6-5-0

7-4-1

69

66

+3

5-5-0

Lost 1

Winnipeg

24

12

11

1

25

12

0

1

4-6-0

8-5-1

61

71

-10

7-3-0

Won 2

Washington

23

10

12

1

21

10

0

0

7-5-0

3-7-1

68

68

0

6-4-0

Lost 1

Tampa Bay

24

10

13

1

21

10

0

1

6-5-1

4-8-0

82

75

+7

3-7-0

Lost 1

Florida

25

7

12

6

20

6

1

1

4-5-5

3-7-1

62

93

-31

3-5-2

Lost 2

Western Conference
CENTRAL

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Chicago

25

21

1

3

45

18

3

3

11-0-1

10-1-2

80

52

+28

9-1-0

Lost 1

Detroit

24

12

8

4

28

10

2

1

9-4-2

3-4-2

66

60

+6

5-3-2

Won 2

St. Louis

23

12

9

2

26

10

2

1

5-5-1

7-4-1

70

70

0

5-4-1

Won 1

Nashville

24

10

9

5

25

8

2

4

6-2-3

4-7-2

53

59

-6

3-6-1

Won 1

Columbus

24

8

12

4

20

6

2

1

6-4-3

2-8-1

55

70

-15

4-4-2

Won 3

NORTHWEST

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Vancouver

23

11

6

6

28

9

2

5

6-3-3

5-3-3

64

63

+1

3-3-4

Lost 3

Minnesota

22

11

9

2

24

9

2

1

8-2-1

3-7-1

52

56

-4

5-4-1

Lost 1

Calgary

22

9

9

4

22

9

0

3

6-5-2

3-4-2

61

73

-12

5-4-1

Lost 1

Colorado

23

9

10

4

22

8

1

1

7-2-1

2-8-3

59

67

-8

4-3-3

Won 1

Edmonton

24

8

11

5

21

6

2

2

4-4-2

4-7-3

54

71

-17

2-6-2

Lost 5

PACIFIC

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

ROW

SOW

SOL

HOME

ROAD

GF

GA

DIFF

L10

STRK

Anaheim

23

17

3

3

37

13

4

3

10-1-0

7-2-3

81

60

+21

7-1-2

Won 2

Los Angeles

22

12

8

2

26

11

1

1

7-2-1

5-6-1

62

57

+5

7-3-0

Lost 1

San Jose

22

11

7

4

26

7

4

3

7-1-3

4-6-1

51

50

+1

4-4-2

Lost 1

Dallas

23

12

9

2

26

11

1

0

5-4-1

7-5-1

66

65

+1

5-4-1

Won 2

Phoenix

24

11

10

3

25

8

3

2

8-5-1

3-5-2

70

71

-1

5-4-1

Lost 2

If the season ended on Saturday, these would be the playoff teams: 

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Carolina Hurricanes
  4. Montreal Canadians
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Ottawa Senators
  7. New Jersey Devils
  8. New York Rangers

I had the final seeds thusly:

  1. New York Rangers
  2. Boston Bruins
  3. Carolina Hurricanes
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Washington Capitals
  8. New Jersey Devils

I nailed five of the eight, missing all the Canadian teams—blame me!—in favor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, and Washington Capitals. But I did have two of the three division winners (leaders) correct. As for the fact that not all teams have played an equal amount, I’m pretty comfortable with these teams as the games played (more than another potential playoff squad) would not effect these standings.

The same cannot be true about the West, however, as the tightness of the races depend heavily on how many games each team has played. Nonetheless here is how the playoff seeds stood on Saturday:

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Anaheim Ducks
  3. Vancouver Canucks
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. Los Angeles Kings
  6. San Jose Sharks
  7. Dallas Stars
  8. St. Louis Blues

I had them finishing:

  1. Los Angeles Kings
  2. Vancouver Canucks
  3. Chicago Blackhawks
  4. St. Louis Blues
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Detroit Red Wings
  7. Phoenix Coyotes
  8. Edmonton Oilers

Better here in the West, where I had six of eight correct and again two of the three division leaders correctly ascertained. One regret that I had immediately after I posted my predictions was keeping Phoenix in the playoffs over Anaheim. My concerns have proven well-founded with Anaheim sporting a dominant 17-3-3 mark. I also had the youthful Edmonton Oilers making the playoffs over the Dallas Stars and the ageless Jaromir Jagr. Oops.

All in all, though, not a bad job of prognosticating. So far.

Irony’s Height

A few final words about the craziest Academy Awards I’ve ever witnessed:

If Ben Affleck gets nominated for Best Director, Argo never wins Best Picture. In fact, I think Steven Spielberg would have won as premier auteur and Lincoln taken home Best Picture without the swift and epic backlash over Affleck’s snub. While it ruined my predictions, I feel no ill will. Any of my top five films—Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall, Silver Linings Playbook, and Argo—are more-than-worthy winners as the best film of 2012.

And since my predicted winners are on the Internet for all to see before the nominations are even announced, I occasionally alter my picks at the most crucial time: right before the envelope opens, as my wondrous wife and I vie for the crown of Oscar King (Queen).

So during the ceremony I knew Jennifer Lawrence would win Lead Actress and once the upset in Adapted Screenplay—Argo over Zero Dark Thirty—occurred, the Best Picture was a foregone conclusion. In epic fashion, that was the vote that beat her (she went for Life of Pi). Final score: 12-11.

On Literature

Reading Now: The last of Gillian Flynn’s books, Sharp Objects; American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House; Barack Obama: The StoryDouble Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Several Short Sentences About Writing; Timeline of World History

Recently Finished: Dark Places; Warm Bodies; Gone Girl; In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

Up Next: Francona: The Red Sox Years; No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden; rereading John Keegan’s seminal treatise The Second World War; and a to-be-determined (suggestions are welcome!) thorough examination of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

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