Brent Sutter led the Devils to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Some people are sticklers for promises. For instance: The NHL’s regular season hadn’t officially ended when this kind note arrived in my email inbox late Sunday afternoon:
In response to your pre-season prediction, I wrote the following statements on Aug. 15:
"The Devils will not finish 4th in the Atlantic. At worst, they'll be No. 2 in the Atlantic Division behind Pittsburgh."
"We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but I'll be more than happy to make a correction if your prognosis on the Devils' season comes to pass."
Although four points separate the Flyers in 4th with the Devils in 2nd, my prognosis has come to pass. Now do me a favor and predict the Rangers will defeat the Devils in the 1st Round. I love when my team is underestimated and given no respect. Have you guys even watched hockey in New Jersey for the past 14-15 years?
LET'S GO DEVILS!!!!!
R. Ned DeWitt
I can’t deny it, R. Ned – the Devils once again defied the expectations of not only myself, but a lot of hockey observers. Kudos to Lou’s Crew for another job very well done.
I’ll do some more prediction-related groveling (Hi, Canadiens fans!) in the coming weeks. However, in my defense, how many pundits (emphasis on the second syllable) other than moi correctly pegged the Capitals to win the Southeast Division?
By my count, not too many. But it took a lot of good fortune to get them there, which is why I go out of my way in every prediction column to underscore how ultimately futile it is to bet the farm on anyone’s picks.
• Was Matt Cooke’s hit on Vinny Lecavalier Thursday night a cheap headshot that should’ve been punished with far more than a $2,500 fine? Absolutely.
But was the Lightning’s end-of-game response – low-lighted by coach John Tortorella intentionally sending a fifth Bolt over the boards with Washington about to start a power play, simply to start a meaningless fight – equally worthy of a severe financial penalty and suspension? You wanna believe it was.
Once again: Nice choice for coach of the American entry at the upcoming IIHF World Championship, USA Hockey. If Tortorella pulls another classless move during the tournament, nobody should say they didn’t see it coming.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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