Looking Ahead – Week 8

Bob Fisher





Fisher takes a look at the schedule for next week and breaks down the teams with favorable/unfavorable workloads

Conference Bias

The Eastern Conference felt that last week it was too close in the "Best Bets" section, so they decided to pull away to 22-13 this week.  However, in a rare upset, the East is also the predominant Conference in the "Steer Clear" section, taking it 19-16.  So be careful what Eastern teams you load up on this week!  A lot of Eastern teams with only two games, depending on which timeframe you're focusing on, could be the major culprit.

Boston Theory

I have a theory, and this is not a popular theory, or even a theory that I'm totally convinced of, even though I'm the one saying it.  Chicago has been unreal this year, they're in the midst of a never before seen winning streak and they are head and shoulders above everyone else they've played.  But I think Boston is better.

Boston's record isn't as gaudy, but their team is unbelievably strong.  No more Tim Thomas drama, no concussions weighing on their psyche, only big bad Bruins hockey.  The Bruins team just screams depth.  Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are leading the way.  Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic all have more to give.  Tuukka Rask is going to be everything Andrew Raycroft wasn't and Dougie Hamilton is just another nightmare for the Toronto organization of an opportunity potentially wasted.

With rivalry matchups against Philly, Ottawa and Pittsburgh, followed by defensively-challenged teams like Florida, Washington and Winnipeg, and another visit to Pittsburgh – the Bruins are primed to put their stamp on the Eastern Conference.  Marchand has 40-goal abilities – I'm expecting four goals in his next four games.

Washington Finally Turning It Around

Going into every NHL season, I routinely do my own stat projections.  I go team by team and try to be as thorough as possible.  When projecting Washington, I obviously had Troy Brouwer leading the team in goals and Mike Ribeiro leading the team in points, it only seemed natural.

All kidding aside, the Caps have finally started to turn it around.  Their goaltending is still brutal, but slightly less brutal.  Alex Ovechkin has shown flashes of his old self and Adam Oates has finally started to get his system in place.

With games against the Islanders, Rangers and a home-and-home with the Canes on the horizon, the Caps have a chance to make up some ground.  The second line of Nicklas Backstrom, Brouwer and Eric Fehr has been very solid lately.  Ribeiro should continue his stellar season and I'm expecting