Well, this is interesting -- and something fans of a few other Central Division teams might have a problem with. The Hockey News, in their annual predictions as to conference placement (which apparently happen regardless of if a season will or not), have fourteen teams listed so far for each conference. One team's missing from each; in the East, it's the Pittsburgh Penguins. The West? The St. Louis Blues.
I take pre-season predictions as seriously as I take power rankings, but this is still nice to see. It's also more than a little surprising. The Blues did exactly jack and a little bit of squat as far as the off-season went, shoring up the Rivermen and re-signing Jamie Langenbrunner. Are they basing their predictions on the fact that the rest of the competition's dropped off a bit between last season and this possible one?
It's hard for me to fully grasp their reasoning -- the chances of the defense and goaltending slipping are high, as are the odds that the Blues' top forwards will be concussed again. But hey, positive pre-season buzz is positive pre-season buzz, even if the season probably won't start until January.