Ah, the perils of public prognostication. Putting yourself out there for all the world to read comes with its pitfalls and I’ve had my share the past three seasons. So with this being my 100th blog for THN.com, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane by revisiting some of my blogging lowlights.
I’ve been called an idiot, stupid and been told I’m “on crack.” But I have a thick skin and don’t take it too personally. I know it’s usually those who don’t agree who comment because, really, few get passionate when all you have to say is: “I agree.”
Now, I admit this just might be the worst idea I’ve ever had for this space. Highlighting the ridiculousness of my own opinions will open every writer’s least-favorite door, the one that leads to ridicule. But, hey, if you can’t admit your faults, you really are an idiot.
So here it goes.
Back in November 2008, I extolled the virtues of a trade that saw Pittsburgh acquire D-man Philippe Boucher from Dallas for Darryl Sydor. I said Boucher would pay big dividends and that he immediately became “Pittsburgh’s No. 2 defender.” Not so much. Boucher was more of a No. 6 or 7. He played 34 mostly nondescript games for the Pens and hasn’t been seen in the NHL since.
About a month later, THN.com editor Rory Boylen and I posted duelling blogs about Tomas Vokoun’s future in Florida. I thought it was time to trade him. Boylen didn’t agree. And apparently then-Panthers GM Jacques Martin didn’t either, nor does Dale Tallon. Three years later Vokoun still hasn’t been friggin’ traded.
My first stab at playoff predictions came in April 2009. It didn’t go well.
I had San Jose winning it all, Joe Thornton taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy, Sidney Crosby leading all post-season scorers and Jonathan Cheechoo surprising as a difference maker.
The Sharks lost in Round 1, Evgeni Malkin took the scoring title and Cheechoo scored one goal in six games, his last as a Shark.
In case you’re keeping score that’s a big fat zero for me in the ’09 playoffs, which is probably why I didn’t make any post-season predictions for 2010. At least not until I chose Philly over Chicago in the Cup final.
Summer is team-building time for NHL GMs. I thought Toronto’s Brian Burke was doing a bang-up job in July ’09; putting together a rugged, defensive blueline. To quote myself: “There’s no way it will be as easy to score on (the Leafs) with this D-corps.”
Silly John. The Leafs finished 29th in goals against and 29th in the league standings.
The next week I said the Ducks were going to be a better team than they had been in ’08-09, when they lost to eventual Cup-champion Detroit in the Western semifinal. The Ducks missed the playoffs.
And to round out my most ignominious month as a THN blogger, I said St. Louis could challenge for the 2010 Central Division crown. They missed the playoffs, too. (I also remember Boylen roundly panning the idea at the time. Kudos, sir.)
I’ve called Vincent Lecavalier “a superstar the likes of which few other teams can boast,” said Mikkel Boedker was due for a step up as a sophomore pro (I meant in Phoenix, not San Antonio) and suggested the NHL adopt an unnecessary roughness penalty. (One commenter’s response: “Cool. One more bulls--- penalty to use when a ref gets his panties in a bunch.” Well said, pHreaksYcle.)
Prior to this season, you read that the Oilers “could jump past at least (Columbus, Minnesota and Dallas) and even threaten for a post-season position.” While, in November, I again whiffed on the Blues by writing that their hot start wasn’t just a blip and that they’d continue to compete atop the West.
A self-imposed moratorium on forecasts has since been instituted.
So there you have it, folks, straight from the horse’s mouth: The stupidest prognostications and analyses I’ve written in this space. Consider this a mea culpa, a public reckoning, if you like. Wipe the slate clean.
We begin anew with No. 101.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.