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Peeke's Points: Predictions

Thursday, 10.1.2009 / 10:30 AM ET / Blogs
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Peeke\'s Points: Predictions
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on FloridaPanthers.com for a third season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective in his own blog titled Peeke's Points (formerly YourBLOG).

A Michigan native who’s played hockey (admittedly average at best) most of his life, Cliff grew up watching Red Wings games at the old Olympia Stadium. His allegiance changed to the Panthers the moment it was announced South Florida would have a team.

Cliff has played in adult leagues at IncredibleIce and his oldest son (age 27) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 11) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.

Peeke's Points Archive

The new season is upon us…and this will be the year we make the playoffs.  Sound familiar?  I’ve said it for several years in a row, but always with the same caveat…we need to get off to a fast start.  Same thing this year. 

If we do that, I think we can grab at least the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference…that’s where I predict we’ll finish.  If that happens, I’m betting three teams from the Southeast make it into the top seven…Washington, The Dive Team, and the Panthers.

Washington is my pick for #1.  No surprise that being lucky with the top two positions in the 2004 entry draft would yield Ovechkin and Malkin for two hungry teams.  The Caps take Ovechkin and their future became much brighter.  Superstars of that caliber…players that will quickly turn a team around…were not available to us when we had the #1 overall picks in ’01 and ’02.  Heck, we even traded down and selected Bouwmeester and Horton with those picks.  Anyway, in that same 2004 draft, the Caps select Mike Green at #29.  Twenty-two spots earlier we grabbed Rostislav Olecz.  That was a super draft for the Capitals.  But it was the 2002 draft that they were able to select Alexander Semin with the #13 pick (we took Petr Taticek at #10…he’s somewhere in Europe now).  A lot of luck and some savvy drafting has certainly elevated this team.  They did have a clunker in 2005, picking Sasha Pokulok in the 1st round, but rebounded nicely with Nicklas Backstrom…the 4th pick in ’06.  Their marquee players will help overcome what many consider their weakness…goaltending.

Here’s my 2009-2010 Eastern Conference predictions…

1. Washington Capitals…highly entertaining team with loads of skill and talent

2. Pittsburgh Penguins…pure luck that Crosby and Malkin become available to  them.  Any chance of getting both on a fantasy team?

3. Philadelphia Flyers…this team will contend if they avoid injuries…strong defense and top six forwards make this a classy team.  How did they get so good so fast?  Answer…their GM.

4. New Jersey Devils…the model of consistency.  And Brodeur.

5. Boston Bruins…to think our division is stronger than theirs.  This team, even minus Kessel is playoff bound.

6. The Dive Team…I so badly wanted to put us ahead of them, but until Horton proves he’s a better NHL player than Staal, I’ll leave them at #6.

7. Florida Panthers…will only happen, and possibly higher, if we get off to a great start, avoid injuries, and all the other reasons I stated in my prior blog (except Jeff Taffe’s contribution, of course).

8. Buffalo Sabres…I just can’t see them missing the playoffs three years in a row.  If goalie Ryan Miller has a good year, this is where they’ll land.

9. NY Rangers…this is one team I love to beat in our building, and we’ll do it each time this season.

10. Montreal Canadiens…even with their re-vamped roster, there is no way I can stomach Jacques Martin leading them to the playoffs, although I’m glad he’s there and not here.

11. Atlanta Thrashers…a lot of offense, especially Kovulchuk, but can they keep the puck out of the net.  They are #11 only if their goalie situation strengthens.  Rick Dudley (favorite ex-GM) is here.

12. Toronto Maple Leafs…a team on the rise.  Not this year, but maybe next.

13. Ottawa Senators…the last part of the trifecta of Eastern Conference Canadien teams that do not make the playoffs.  Brian Murray is still their GM????

14. Tampa Bay Lightning…a year ago, they made a mockery of the off-season and will still pay the price.  Their ownership quarrels are a joke.

15. NY Islanders…they are one year away from being a pretty good team.  But will that be in Kansas City???

The puck drops soon in Finland as we take on Chicago. We need to arrive for our home opener on 10/10 with at least four points. GO PANTHERS !!!!

As always, I enjoy hearing comments…my email is fibersuccess@yahoo.com 




1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

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