Tuesday 10 October 2023

2023-24 NHL Season Preview - Vegas won't repeat... right?

OPEN ICE AHEAD...
Published October 10, 2023 
A year ago I got back on the horse with my first NHL Season Preview on wdnicolson.com in a decade, and we were kind of right with our Vegas prediction:
PS. The Vegas Golden Knights need to find some goaltending but Jack Eichel is going to have a big year. 
They did - ADIN HILL! - and look at that, won the Stanley Cup in 5 games over the Florida Panthers.
I also didn't miss on the Boston Bruins... well in a regular season sense.
The Boston Bruins might be a threat if they can start winning regularly when Brad Marchand returns from injury in the New Year and their goaltending is still very good.
So after nailing those two 'predictions' for the Playoffs* and Regular Season*, here is my look at the 2023-24 NHL Season - with a skew towards a team's regular season finish.
Here are the Contenders - this season feels wide open so there's a few in this category:
  • In the West... The defending champs Vegas look healthier up front than this time last year and the goaltending duo of Hill-Logan Thompson is suddenly formidable (Robin who?). If they roll out their defence (once Martinez is back) like they did during the playoffs it's hard to see them not in the race of the Pacific Division title with the Edmonton Oilers - who will once again ride their spectacular offence led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and a suspect back end. Both the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars look really strong - but if the Avalanche get secondary scoring again they have the edge on Dallas in the Central.
  • In the East... the Toronto Maple Leafs look like a regular season juggernaut... so they are in this category given they could win the President's Trophy but they don't have a good track record of convincing anyone when it matters. The New Jersey Devils will take a big stride by possibly winning that President's Trophy with a high powered forward group, quality defence but again, potentially suspect goaltending worries me. The next two are teams I look at as playoff threats if they get a good enough seed and survive the first round of the playoffs - the Boston Bruins with a lot to prove (again) and just need to find some reliable centremen to be in a position to do so, and the Carolina Hurricanes had one bad week last spring and got bounced out of the playoffs by Florida - they can get over that hump with an even better defence this season. They are really good - and deep.
As for the rest who deserve consideration for a Stanley Cup challenge?
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins have some serious top end talent but unless Tristan Jarry wakes up in net - no amount of Erik Karlsson with the Penguins core can lift them into the playoffs let alone a longer run. Although I've got the Tampa Bay Lightning in a wildcard seed they will have Andrei Vasilevskiy back at some stage so you can't leave them out of the playoff race - and if they are fit by then they can win the Cup. The Cinderella team of last year - the Florida Panthers will get back into the mix but it's hard to see them beating a fired up Boston in a rematch in the first round. 
Can I make a case for anyone else to really contend? 
  • The Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Seattle Kraken, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild are playoff teams in my predictions but only the Kings and Rangers might see Round 2. On the outside looking in are the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and my smokey the Arizona Coyotes but I feel all capable of making the playoffs.
  • It's going to be another long season for everyone else, with the Detroit Red Wings and the Washington Ovechkins the most interesting of the others in the East, and the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks might do okay in the West.
I've got the San Jose Sharks bringing up the rear in their quest for the 1st Overall Pick.
Here are my predicted 2023-24 Regular Season Standings for both conferences:
** Conference Top Seed *Playoff Team
Eastern Conference - Atlantic Division
  1. Toronto Maple Leafs *
  2. Boston Bruins *
  3. Florida Panthers *
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning *
  5. Buffalo Sabres
  6. Ottawa Senators
  7. Detroit Red Wings
  8. Montreal Canadiens
Eastern Conference - Metropolitan Division
  1. New Jersey Devils **
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins *
  3. Carolina Hurricanes *
  4. New York Rangers *
  5. New York Islanders
  6. Washington Capitals
  7. Columbus Blue Jackets
  8. Philadelphia Flyers
Western Conference - Central Division
  1. Colorado Avalanche *
  2. Dallas Stars *
  3. Minnesota Wild *
  4. Winnipeg Jets *
  5. Nashville Predators
  6. Arizona Coyotes
  7. St. Louis Blues
  8. Chicago Blackhawks
Western Conference - Pacific Division
  1. Edmonton Oilers **
  2. Vegas Golden Knights *
  3. Los Angeles Kings *
  4. Seattle Kraken *
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Calgary Flames
  7. Anaheim Ducks
  8. San Jose Sharks
2023-24 NHL Awards
Hart Trophy - Connor McDavid, Edmonton (from Draisaitl and Shesterkin)
Art Ross - Connor McDavid, Edmonton (from L Draisaitl, J Hughes, N McKinnon and M Rantanen)
Rocket Richard - Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton (from Rantanen and McDavid).
Norris - Cale Makar, Colorado
Vezina - Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers
Adams - Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh
Calder - Connor Bedard, Chicago
Jennings - Hill-Thompson, Vegas
Selke - Nico Hischier, New Jersey
Byng - Jack Hughes, New Jersey

The pointy-end of the season:
Eastern Conference Final
Carolina Hurricanes over Boston Bruins
Western Conference Final
Colorado Avalanche over Vegas Golden Knights
Stanley Cup Final
Colorado Avalanche over Carolina Hurricanes
Colorado's back end - when healthy - is the most dynamic in the NHL and I've got them pushing past Vegas (who knock out Edmonton) to emerge from the West. In the East I've got a hunch New Jersey do a Boston and go wild in the regular season but get upset by the Rangers in Round 1, with either Carolina or Pittsburgh coming out of the East after their first round matchup. Boston will be the team to emerge from the Atlantic - sorry again fans of the Maple Leafs.
So in the Stanley Cup Final - lets go with Avs over Canes in 6 games
But I think this is such an open race for the Cup - much like last year once Boston imploded in the playoffs. 
Cale Makar or Nathan McKinnon for the Conn Smythe, even if Alexandar Georgiev plays out of his skin in net.
Enjoy the season everyone.
==

Sunday 18 June 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 293: QLD v NSW State of Origin 2 Preview

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 293 
  
Published June 18, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 293 of NOT The Footy Show as we preview the chances NSW have of beating Queensland in State of Origin Game 2 at Lang Park. Plus we discuss Shane Flanagan to St George Illawarra and his chances of keeping Ben Hunt in the Red V in 2024. 

NSW won't have Nathan Cleary, Latrell Mitchell or Api Koroisau for Game 2 with Brad Fittler putting all his eggs in the Mitchell Moses, Stephen Crichton and Damien Cook/Reece Robson basket with the series on the line. 

QLD aren't without issues with no Arrow, Cobbo or Gilbert - will they miss some aggression in this one? They only need one win to secure the Origin Shield though... so advantage QLD. 

The boys agree it all boils down to Luai and Moses to keep this Series alive. 

πŸ”˜ Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. 

Cheers

==

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We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Monday 22 May 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 292: QLD + NSW Game 1 State of Origin Teams

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 292 
  
Published May 22, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 292 of NOT The Footy Show as we examine the QLD and NSW teams named by Billy Slater and Brad Fittler for State of Origin Game 1. 

Tom Trbojevic has quite rightly been selected but it was Queensland who pulled off the biggest shock with Kalyn Ponga dumped for Reece Walsh... suddenly it's QLD who have decided leaving out class players is a good idea. 

Of course Freddy waited til after we'd recorded to finalise his NSW 1-17 team so our squad analysis for the Blues is a bit off but not by much. 

Both teams look really strong - so we've given our tips for Game 1.  

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Friday 19 May 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 291: Hooked - Griffin era ends at Saints

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 291 
  
Published May 19, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 291 of NOT The Footy Show as we discuss the end of the Anthony Griffin era at St George-Illawarra and what's next for the Dragons. 

After a month long hiatus we are back with a Pod all about Hook getting hooked by the Red V Board. 

We break down how Griffin's tenure went and wonder if Jason Ryles is going to answer all the questions surrounding this team's inability to take a step forward for what seems like a decade? 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. 

We will be back post the State of Origin 1 Teams being announced next week. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Monday 10 April 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 290: NRL Round 6 Review Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 290 
  
Published April 10, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 290 of NOT The Footy Show as we review Round 6 of the 2023 NRL Season. 

Who saw Canberra's win over the unbeaten Broncos coming? Ricky Stuart. 

We ask why are Brisbane management following the trend of extending NRL player/coaching contracts after just a handful of rounds? Kevin Walters gets his new deal but why so soon? 

Oh and we might spend way too long debating the Marty Taupau/Jordan Rapana incident and if it should have been a penalty or not... 

We managed to rush through the other 7 games from the Round at the end before our Zoom call ended. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back mid-week for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Wednesday 5 April 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 289: Picking the NSW Blues Origin Team on Form

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 289 
  
Published April 5, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 289 of NOT The Footy Show as we discuss Coxsmith's NSW Blues team picked on form ahead of Round 6 of the 2023 NRL Season. 

Who deserves to be there for the Blues in Origin 1 and who doesn't? 

With Origin 1 on May 31st, we will aim to do regular Origin-themed Podcasts over the next month or two - because too much Origin is never enough right? 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after the NRL Round is over for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Monday 3 April 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 288: NRL Round 5 Review Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 288 
  
Published April 3, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 288 of NOT The Footy Show as we review the Warriors and Bulldogs saving Round 5 of the 2023 NRL Season with a gripping slate of Sunday Rugby League drama. 

We discuss the way new coach Andrew Webster has seemingly galvanised the un-galvanisable Warriors and wonder at Canterbury's ability to stick with and then beat North Qld. How good is Le Chad going... 

Plus we cover off the big blowouts of the weekend as Canberra, Redcliffe and the Tigers got smashed by Penrith, Saints and Brisbane respectively. 

Also discussed is the new automatic sin bin for anything that looks like a hip drop... nice mid-season rule introduction NRL. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after later in the week for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Friday 31 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 287: Jack Wighton's Worth? NRL Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 287 
  
Published March 31, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 287 of NOT The Footy Show as we examine the impending bidding war (or lack thereof?) for Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton who has decided to put himself on the NRL open market for 2024... 

We discuss Wighton's worth to another NRL club v Canberra and wonder aloud if Canberra are playing a game of chicken with Wighton and perhaps a full-on rebuild is what the Raiders need - without Wighton. 

What do you think Canberra and Wighton will do? 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back Sunday night to wrap up Round 5. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Monday 27 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 286: NRL Round 4 Review Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 286 
  
Published March 27, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 286 of NOT The Footy Show as we review Round 4 of the 2023 NRL Season with Brisbane winning most definitely NOT the Battle of 'Brisbane', the Warriors surging to 3-1 thanks partly to the Video Ref, Souths beating Manly in a thriller and Cronulla welcoming the return of Nicho Hynes. 

We also cover off Joseph Suaalii's financial decision to switch codes in 2025 and the contrasting responses of Brandon Smith and Part Time V'landys. 

Oh and Canberra and the Dragons still suck, as do the poor Wests Tigers who prop up the table at 0-4. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after later in the week for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday 24 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 285: Multi-Million Dollar Moses takes down Panthers

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 285 
  
Published March 23, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 285 of NOT The Footy Show as we recap Parramatta's 17-16 Golden Point win over Penrith to open Round 4 as the multi-million dollar man Mitchell Moses delivers the knock-out blow. 

Parramatta were the better team and deserved to win but what about the NRL square up on the Mitch Kenny sin bin? LAUGHABLE.  

Also has Parramatta shown up a Penrith weakness in amongst their perceived 'strength'? 

We also talk Redcliffe-Brisbane and the Tigers punting Ken Maumalo who joins the Gold Coast. 

Finally we discuss Anthony Griffin's Red V status for 2024 and pay tribute to John Sattler who sadly passed away earlier this week. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after Sunday Night Football for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday 19 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 284: NRL Round 3 Review Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 284 
  
Published March 19, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 284 of NOT The Footy Show as we review Round 3 of the 2023 NRL Season with Canberra beating Cronulla for the 9th straight time to get on the board. 

Brisbane and Redcliffe have stayed undefeated to set up what is definitely not the 'first' Battle of Brisbane, Easts made a statement beating Souths, the Gold Coast and Warriors gave Melbourne and North Qld footballing lessons and both the Tigers and Eels remain winless after Canterbury and Manly beat them. 

Plenty of topics out of Round 3 so join us for a solid half hour of footy chat. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after Thursday Night Football for another show. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday 13 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 283: NRL Round 2 Review Podcast

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 283 
  
Published March 13, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 283 of NOT The Footy Show as we review Round 2 of the 2023 NRL Season with the Wests Tigers falling apart, Canterbury shining in Melbourne and the Broncos and Dolphins starting 2-0. 

We covered off Penrith-Souths on Episode 282 on Thursday night, so this Episode will recap the rest of the round including the news that James Tedesco looks set to stay a Rooster though 2025 - meaning who will pay Joseph Suaalii the big coin he wants next? 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

Thanks for listening everyone. We will be back after Thursday Night Football. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
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Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday 9 March 2023

NOT The Footy Show Episode 282: Panthers 16 Souths 10 Recap

NOT The Footy Show - Episode 282 
  
Published March 9, 2023  

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for Episode 282 of NOT The Footy Show as we recap Penrith 16-10 win over South Sydney to open Round 2 of the 2023 NRL Season. 

The NRL Bunker continues to baffle us, but there was a lot to like about both the Panthers and Rabbitohs in a good early season big game. 

πŸ”˜  Stream the New Podcast or Watch on YouTube 

We then spend 10 minutes reviewing what happened in the opening round and ask why did the NRL wait til after the weekend to announce a new Dally M system? 

We'll be back early next week with Episode 283 - thanks for listening everyone. 

Cheers

==

You can subscribe to the subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and catch each episode on our YouTube Channel.

We are also on Instagram so please give us a follow @notthefootyshow 
==
Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.