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Proteau's Blog: Celebrity predictions

John Ondrasik, the singer/songwriter and driving force behind Five For Fighting (fiveforfighting.com), is a huge hockey fan. The L.A. native, whose new CD “Two Lights" is at No. 8 on the U.S. Adult Top 40 chart, chimes in with his picks for the coming NHL season:

Western Conference regular season champions – San Jose Sharks

Eastern Conference regular season champions – Ottawa Senators

Western Conference playoff champions – Anaheim Ducks

Eastern Conference playoff champions – New York Rangers

Stanley Cup Winner – Anaheim Ducks

Art Ross Trophy winner – Joe Thornton

Hart Trophy winner – Chris Pronger

If you missed them, here are my picks for Western and Eastern Conference playoff teams, conference champs, Cup-winner, and individual awards this season:

Western Conference playoff teams:

1. Nashville

2. Anaheim

3. Calgary

4. San Jose

5. Dallas

6. Detroit

7. Phoenix

8. Minnesota

Eastern Conference playoff teams:

1. Ottawa

2. Carolina

3. New Jersey

4. New York Rangers

5. Buffalo

6. Atlanta

7. Toronto

8. Philadelphia

Western Conference playoff champions – Calgary Flames

Eastern Conference playoff champions – New York Rangers

Stanley Cup Winner – Calgary Flames

Art Ross Trophy winner – Alexander Ovechkin

Hart Trophy winner – Jarome Iginla

Norris Trophy winner – Scott Niedermayer

Vezina Trophy winner – Tomas Vokoun

Selke Trophy winner – Mike Fisher

Lady Byng Trophy winner – Chris Pronger

Jack Adams Award winner – Barry Trotz

First coach fired – Gerard Gallant, Columbus

Random brain blips: Nice to see Bates Battaglia back in the NHL with Toronto. I got to cover Battaglia (who once scored 21 goals for Carolina in 2001-02) with the American League Marlies last year; he handled his first AHL stint in seven seasons with dignity and determination, and his hard work has paid off. Battaglia provides a great example to teammate Jeff O'Neill, who finds himself in a humbling situation at the bottom of Leafs coach Paul Maurice's depth chart…Is it me, or is Eric Staal not getting the respect he should? Everyone raves about Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, but Staal is just a year older than the Russian, and two years older than Sid The Kid. He also was instrumental in Carolina's Stanley Cup championship, something that's likely to elude the other two players for at least a couple years. I'm not saying I'd take Staal over Ovechkin or Crosby, but the debate shouldn't be limited to the latter two…The NHL “Game On” commercial featuring a stone-faced Jonathan Cheechoo in full hockey gear – sitting on a surfboard in the ocean – is gold. More, please!

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