Thursday, October 4, 2007


This is the first edition of my Eastern Conference Notebook, where throughout the season I will be taking a look at how the East is taking shape. I don’t usually make predictions this early, but for my first notebook post I will make an exception.

1. Ottawa – Until proven otherwise they are the best of the East and the best in their division.

2. Pittsburgh – The kids are out to prove last year was no fluke, a year older and a year wiser.

3. Carolina – After an embarrassing end to last season, they will rebound back to the top of the Southeast.

4. N.Y. Rangers – Despite holes on the blue-line, the offence, especially the power play will put the Rangers in a solid playoff spot.

5. Buffalo – Even though they will drop off a bit from last season, they are still a tight and fast team.

6. N.J. Devils – They will struggle from time to time to find scoring, but Marty will keep them in the mix.

7. Philadelphia - They made enough improvement to make the postseason, after that it’s anyone’s guess.

8. Toronto – Fighting tooth and nail with the Habs, Caps and Panthers to end the season and claim the last spot, the Leafs squeak in.

9. Montreal – Another just miss year, but not for long.

10. Washington – They will look strong for stretches and suspect for stretches, they are still a year away from being a playoff contender.

11. Florida – Vokoun and health problems will once again deny Jokinen a trip to the postseason.

12. Tampa Bay – This is the year the wheels fall off. The “Big 3” experiment fails and the window of opportunity closes. Defense and goaltending will need upgrading.

13. Boston – A season of transition for the Bruins, learning a new system will tighten up the defense, but goal scoring will become the issue.

14. Atlanta – A total fall from grace will have the fans in Atlanta scratching their heads as to which team will show up from night to night. Most nights it won’t look pretty.

15. N.Y. Islanders – Hillary Duff will be the most attractive addition for Isles fans. As for the bench, the best looking thing will be Ted Nolan.

As the season goes along I will be breaking down the conference and take a deeper look into each division and individual teams. So be on the lookout for Gregsky’s Eastern Conference Notebook and Miser’s Western Conference Roundup as we have your season covered here at Around The Rink.

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