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01-11-2012, 12:29 PM
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Beef Invictus
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Mid-Season Reflection and Second Half Predictions

Now that 41 games are on the books, I thought it might be neat to have a thread where we look back on our preseason predictions and expectations and see how things panned out; also, might as well make predictions for the second half.

My Preseason Expectations:

1) Offense would struggle with all the turnover, losing Richards and Carter, and all the rookies. Expected JVR to continue his inconsistency.

--Offense has been fine, what with that Giroux line. Especially with the way Hartnell has stepped up. Jagr has exceeded all expectations I had for him, and Read has been great. JVR has been just bad, whether it be injuries or what. I didn't expect him to be such a non factor. Briere's long cold streak has been a disappointment as well.

2) Defense would be notably worse, due to the loss of various defensively skilled players.

--Oh God help us all, it's incredibly terrible. The loss of Pronger only made things worse, but even when he was playing the team was looking pretty bad in their own end. This team just does not have the personnel to play well defensively anymore, and that bleeding process probably began when Gagne and Lappy were no more.

3) Goaltending would be really good.

--Some may remember that my problem with Bryz was his incredibly long and expensive contract, which seemed pointless with Bob on the team; not his skill. I thought he'd be a great goaltender here. My expectation was that with the worsened defense and offense, we'd need that great goaltending to steal games. Instead, it's been the opposite. Pure offense has won almost all games, with goalies taking maybe 3 or 4.

4) Read and Couturier: I thought neither one would be NHL ready. I thought Couturier just wouldn't be able to hang around at such a young age. I thought Read was being overhyped and would be nothing special.

--Oops.

Prediction Time:

I thought that with all the rookies and new faces, the team would struggle out the gate with chemistry issues, gel and be good, and then slide away as Timonen and Pronger got tired and the rookies wore down. I predicted a 6-8 finish, while possibly missing the playoffs...mostly because of defensive struggles and inconsistent offense.

So...for the second half, I'm not revising that much. I'm still not convinced that the key guys on our 4th line will be able to keep it up for the rest of our season. Read has been fantastic, and a big part of the team's success at times. But I'm still not convinced he can keep it up all season, and probably won't be until April. I expect offense to drop off, and the way other teams have shut down the top line the last few games is disturbing. If goaltending and defense don't greatly improve and the offense stutters, this team could run into a lot of problems. So...I still stand by 6-8 finish, possibly missing playoffs. I expect a second round exit from playoffs is the best case scenario, unfortunately. I predict Briere is going to step it up soon.

So, what were your expectations and how have they matched up with the season? Be honest! What do you predict for the second half?

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