So...none of them had the Devils winning in the Atlantic. All of them had Kool-Aid shooters on the Habs 100th anniverary thing. The Capitals did win the Southeast (Linda Cohn's nod to former colleague Barry Melrose notwithstanding). The Red Wings were a no brainer -- my dog Koho could have picked that one. No one had Vancouver in the Northwest. Only Pierre LeBrun had the confidence to pick the Sharks in the Pacific. For the record, here were our picks (correct ones in bold)...
Northeast: Montreal (we drank the Kool-Aid, too)
Pacific: San Jose
We had our brain fart moments, too. Like Dallas making the playoffs, but Vancouver missing the cut. And then there was our picking Boston 10th, but it's not like we were alone in that gaffe.
Only E.J. Hradek had the Penguins coming out of the East, and as such was the only "expert" to predict a rematch. We have no idea what Matthew Barnaby and Linda Cohn were thinking.
As for the individual awards, the panel of "experts" saw things this way last fall...
Linda Cohn earns a measure of redemption for picking the local favorite to repeat as the Hart Trophy winner, and she was the only one to at least get a finalist right. Everyone drew a blank on the Vezina finalists, but be honest... did you have Tim Thomas, Steve Mason, and Niklas Backstrom?
As for the Norris, E.J. Hradek, Matthew Barnaby, and Pierre LeBrun at least got finalists in their picks. But then again, no one was predicting that Dion Phaneuf would have a face-plant (for him) of a season in Calgary, and fewer still probably thought Mike Green would make the leap all the way to the final three.
The Selke? Well, a Red Wing got a lot of attention, but it was Henrik Zetterberg (three votes), not Pavel Datsyuk (one). Points to John Buccigross for getting Ryan Kesler.
For the Calder, there was a pandemic of Stamkos Flu running through ESPN studios. No one had Bobby Ryan, Kris Versteeg, or Steve Mason. Shoot, there might not have been a dozen fans in North America outside of Chicago or Lethbridge, Alberta, who could spell "Versteeg" in October.
As for the Adams, we have no idea what David Amber was thinking, except maybe that was the only coach's name he recognized, "Gretzky." We won't even comment on Ms. Cohn's and Mr. Buccigross' pick, only to say that organizational loyalty is a wonderful thing, except when it's not. OK, we will make one comment. If you're not picking Tampa to win their division, let alone go any farther, what on earth made you think Barry Melrose was going to win the Adams, John? That he had better hair (or at least more of it), than Bruce Boudreau?
We're going to have our own awards prognostos later in the week (hopefully before they're actually handed out). In the meantime, a word to the ESPN'ers...
Leave prognosticating to the prognostifessionals.