Canucks and Beyond

Northwest Division Playoff Shakedown

01/18/2007 at 6:49pm EST

Calgary: “The Flames will get to the top and stay there—99 points, first in the division, No. 3 playoff seed.”

Well, I agree and disagree with Frei here. Yes, it’s very possible, even likely, that the Flames will win the division. But I sincerely doubt they’re going to ride the top spot for the rest of the season. Especially since Frei himself even predicts only a 2-point difference between the top two NW teams. And I’d guess that more than just Calgary and Vancouver will be fighting for that spot. For at least the next 6 weeks, I say that almost everyone will stay in that race.

Vancouver Canucks: “The Canucks will continue to have fun—97 points, second in the division, No. 6 playoff seed.”

I agree. Not that the Canucks are going to pick up 97 points—I figure it’ll be a bit lower than that. But the #6 spot sounds about right, although it’s probably a crap shoot whether they take #6 or #3, with the likely horse race finish to the end.

Minnesota: “90 points, third in the division, No. 8 playoff seed.”

Frei seems uncertain about his Minnesota conclusions (“I’ll take the safest route and plug them right in the middle of the division.”) and I can see why. The Wild really are an unpredictable team, running with strange streaks all season. But ultimately, I’ve got to agree with Frei because Marian Gaborik is back, and he and Pavol Demitra (not to mention Brian Rolston) should probably steer them to the playoffs—at least until Gaborik trips on some stairs and snaps a groin muscle, or some such idiocy.

And finally the really fun part, and the reason that I am now an Official Terry Frei Supporter… he thinks Edmonton and Colorado will miss the playoffs. Not that this is some incredibly controversial sort of assessment, but I still like seeing it in print. (Though he loses points from me for being so polite about it—i.e. about the Avalanche: “It is praiseworthy that the once-elite franchise is hanging in the hunt…” Oh, gag me.)

Anyway, there you have it. I’ve now cited a Terry Frei column without being (incredibly) obnoxious about it. I’m feeling very saintly about that. I deserve a cookie.

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