Brownlee's Western Conference Predictions: Blockhead or Genius?

Robin Brownlee
March 18 2008 06:45PM

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Making predictions is about the easiest way there is to look like a blockhead. Then again, the flipside is that once in a blue moon you get lucky and come off like a genius, a puck clairvoyant. I'm willing to roll the dice on either possibility by laying out how I see the playoff race in the Western Conference unfolding. Specifically, how it'll go for the six teams, including the Oilers, who are battling for the final three spots.

The top five teams in the Western Conference will be Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota, Anaheim and Dallas, with the only the order to be decided. I know, how bold.

That leaves Calgary, Vancouver, Colorado, Nashville, Edmonton and Phoenix, all separated by just seven points going into action tonight, dicing for sixth, seventh and eighth.

OK, OK, the fine people of Columbus would like it known they're good enough, at the very least, to vault over Phoenix when all is said and done. They're probably right, but I'm not laying out all the remaining games for the Blue Jackets. Here's how it looks to me. Or not...

RIGHT NOW (6:45pm Tuesday)

6. Calgary 37-25-10 for 84 points 7. Vancouver 37-26-10 for 84 points 8. Colorado 39-29-6 for 84 points 9. Nashville 36-29-8 for 80 points 10. Edmonton 36-32-5 for 77 points 11. Phoenix 36-32-5 for 77 points

CALGARY

March 18. at CBJ WIN OT 20. COL WIN OT 22. MIN LOSS 24. at COL LOSS 25. VAN WIN 29. EDM LOSS 30. at VAN LOSS OT

April 1. at EDM WIN OT 3. at MIN LOSS 5. at VAN WIN RECORD 5-4-1

VANCOUVER

March 20. at EDM LOSS OT 21. MIN LOSS 25. at CGY LOSS 25. at CGY LOSS 26. at COL WIN OT 28. at MIN WIN 30. CGY WIN OT

April 1. COL WIN 3. EDM LOSS OT 5. CGY LOSS RECORD 4-4-2

COLORADO

March 20. at CGY LOSS OT 22. at EDM LOSS 24 CGY WIN 26. VAN LOSS OT 28 EDM WIN 30 at MIN LOSS

April 1. at VAN LOSS 6. MIN WIN RECORD 3-3-2

NASHVILLE

March 18. WSH LOSS 20 DET LOSS 22 CHI WIN 25 CBJ WIN 28 at CBJ LOSS OT 30 at DET LOSS

April 1. at STL LOSS 3. STL WIN 4. at CHI LOSS OT RECORD 3-4-2

EDMONTON

March 18. PHO WIN 20. VAN WIN OT 22. COL WIN 24. MIN WIN 26 at MIN LOSS 28. at COL LOSS 29. at CGY WIN

April 1. CGY LOSS OT 3. at VAN WIN OT RECORD 6-2-1

PHOENIX

March 18 at EDM LOSS 20. LA WIN 22. ANA LOSS 25 SJ LOSS 27 at LA WIN 30. at SJ LOSS

April 3. DAL WIN 4. at DAL LOSS OT 6 at ANA LOSS RECORD 3-5-1

AFTER 82 GAMES

6. Calgary 42-29-11 for 95 points 7. Vancouver 41-30-12 for 94 points 8. Colorado 42-32-8 for 92 points 9. Edmonton 42-34-6 for 90 points 10. Nashville 39-33-10 for 88 points 11. Phoenix 39-37-6 for 84 points

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5 pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 RobinB
March 18 2008, 07:23PM
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Hmmm. Obviously, I should've snuck a peek at the scoreboard for the Calgary and Columbus game before starting my trek to Blockhead City.

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#2 DJ Spin Cycle
March 18 2008, 07:25PM
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Here's hoping you aren't wrong about Edmonton v. Phoenix.

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#3 Wanye Gretz
March 18 2008, 10:25PM
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Holy Crap Brownlee? Where is the team spirit? Two points out of the playoffs? Hells No!

I predict the Oilers will win 8 of their remaning 7 games, and will be retroactively credited with a win for an October 5-2 loss to the Canucks, on the grounds that there were too many men on the ice.

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#4 Muller
March 18 2008, 11:12PM
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Should be interesting if they go back to Rolo again against Vancouver, Garon has had success against the Nucks. Seeing Robin has made his predictions, I've been making my own at Mullers hockey picks.com for the past three years. Check it out if you wish.

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#5 hemmer
March 19 2008, 01:05AM
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In regards to Muller, 630 CHED was sayin after the game that Garon most likely will start against the Nucks.

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#6 Bobby Robertson
March 19 2008, 08:41AM
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Robin quick question.

Theoretically lets say the Oilers make the playoffs. Will any of the injured players be ready to play in them? I know they all had season ending injuries, but that was with the assumption the Oilers weren't going to make it. IF they do, can any of them come back?

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#7 RobinB
March 19 2008, 11:48AM
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BR: No chance Horcoff, Torres and Souray could play even if the Oilers got into early June. Their surgeries require extensive rehab -- their goal is to be completely fit by training camp. As for Moreau, I don't know. He didn't have surgery, but with him re-breaking the same fracture that kept him out of the start of the season, you've got to know the medical staff will play it very safe with him. I can't see it, bit I'll have to ask Ken Lowe on him.

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#8 Bobby Robertson
March 19 2008, 12:54PM
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Thanks Robin. I kinda assumed that.

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#9 Gord Mark
March 19 2008, 05:09PM
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RB: Did you get a chance to have a chat with or about Torres? Has he still been hanging around the team?

Also, because I don't think I'll see this anywhere else, can you do some digging for some Pouliot quotes from MacT and then interview the kid and come up with a story for this site?

He's most likely on his last chance and that story's getting lost in the shuffle and I'd like you to shine a little bit of light on it.

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#10 RobinB
March 19 2008, 05:29PM
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Gord: Raffi's around. I asked about him the other morning after your note -- I just haven't seen him. Different hours for all the rehab guys, as I said.

Maybe on Pouliot -- that's not a bad idea, although at this time of season with every game being so important, players are hesitant to talk about their particular situation as opposed to the team thing. I'll keep it in mind.

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#11 Gord Mark
March 21 2008, 11:25PM
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Thanks, RB.

I get your point on the timing of a Pouliot piece; I just find his situation intriguing given his draft pedigree and the glut of young talent he's now encountered in his quest to make the top 13 come the '09 season.

In any case, I think there's a story there. Kid's putting up close to a PPG in his second season in the A, gets a call and plays the last ~50 games of the '07 season but then finds his way back to the minors for the vast majority of the following season.

The guy's really picked up his play in the last few games and after looking like he was primarily worried about not being scored upon during the first couple of games of his recall, now he's starting to create some chances as well.

Also, here's another idea for you and maybe something you can give us a little insight on: if you put Souray back in the lineup now -- or even if you're looking ahead to next season -- considering that Smid and Greene are out 5th and 6th dmen, which one of them would sit for Souray, and in your opinion, why?

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