Wednesday, October 09, 2002
My pal Shea Harris is first out the box with preseason predictions (co-written by Jon Larson), and frankly, there's nothing I can add to his expected Southeast order -- Austin, San Angelo, Corpus Christi, Laredo.
In the Southwest, after Odessa, I'll take Lubbock over New Mexico. I'm just not sure what Pat Dunn has to work with, or rather, what the chemistry will be. 'Til we find out, I gotta favor Macker. His rebuilding job is not as big, and with all those rings and finals appearances, I give the closest thing the CHL has to Scotty Bowman the benefit of the doubt. Guys play hard for him, and do so as a team. That wins games in April (if not necessarily October). Last season was an aberration.
Onto the North. Because of the CHL's unbalanced schedule, I know the Northeast teams reasonably well (particularly Fort Worth and Shreveport) and the others not at all. I'll echo Jon's Northeast order -- Memphis and Bossier are top dogs 'til proven otherwise, but Indy and Fort Worth should not be taken lightly.
The Northwest? I must be crazy to say this on a site owned and populated by so many Oklahoma City fans (Dear Chris... please don't fire me...) but when I see how loaded up the Blazers are, all I can think is, last year's New York Rangers. Or Dallas Stars.
But I really don't believe that. A more plausible scenario is an absolutely stunning season, followed by a classic playoff upset.
I'm not handicapping the rest of the division 'cause I only saw Tulsa, Wichita and Amarillo play a total of two times (collectively) last season. But all three teams made excellent new pick-ups. I'm looking forward to seeing old Wiffle favorites Todd Marcellus and Regan Harper up in Tulsa, we're all curious about Wichita's Jeff Petruic and San Antonio's loss could be Amarillo's gain.
Oh, and to make up for what I just said about Oke City: Sooners by 9.
Mike Tilson is the latest CHL all-star turned ECHL waiver fodder. So there's still a chance he'll be there at the Ford Center to defend his hardest shot title. Roanoke's coach said that Tilson didn't make the squad because on the one hand, he isn't a true prospect (at 24, he's considered old), and on the other, he wouldn't put up 80-90 points. Didn't realize he was auditioning for the job of first-line winger.
It seems the Buzzards refused to trade Mike Rees to Austin, as ownership didn't want to help out the closest rival of that other team they own. Instead, they got Mike Sanderson from Odessa. How's that working out?
Don't want to get suspended, even when you take off for another league? Try not cross-checking people in meaningless late-season games...This probably goes without saying, but no matter how much time-wasting I do on the Internet myself, I always find something I missed thanks to The Farm Report. Make sure you visit every day... Separated at birth: Gord Dineen and Lyle Lovett.... Mike Minard is indeed in Memphis... Just think -- a few more days, and we'll never hear about the Dick Moore Crime Family (and by that I mean crimes against hockey, not the law) again...Poor Theo.
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