Sports are extremely hard to predict. At the start of every season, no matter what the sport, experts all attempt to predict what will happen in the upcoming season, and almost always they are ridiculously wrong. So with that in mind, here are five things that I predict will unfold over the next few months.
The Canucks will win a playoff series
At the start of the NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks were one of the most interesting teams in the league. No one had a good idea of how the Canucks would do this season, after they seemingly self-destructed the season before. But thanks to some smart moves by new General Manager Jim Benning, the Canucks are poised to have home ice advantage at the start of the season. With the NHL’s regular season entering its final week it’s looking like Vancouver will play either the Calgary Flames or the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. Any Canucks fan will tell you that they would rather see Vancouver play Calgary in the first round, as the Canucks stand a good chance of beating the Flames. But I really don’t think that LA is as good a team as they have been in previous years. The Kings have lost some important defensemen over the last year and aren’t as deep offensively as they have been in previous years. Even though it would be preferred by many around BC if the Canucks wound up facing the Flames in the first round, I’m confident that Vancouver will be able to dispose of either opponent in the first round, although it’s hard to see the Canucks winning more than one series this year, especially if they engage in a long physical series with LA.
The Seattle Mariners are going to make the playoffs
It has been tough to be a fan of baseball in this part of the world for the last 22 years, since the Toronto Blue Jays won their second consecutive World Series title in 1993. Since then, the Blue Jays haven’t qualified for the playoffs once. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners have put together a handful of successful seasons, but for each good season the Mariners have had, they’ve had at least two poor ones. Since 2001, neither the Blues Jays nor the Mariners have qualified for the playoffs. In fact, the Blues’ Jays 22-year playoff drought is the longest in the MLB, while the Mariners’ 14-year drought is the second longest. Last year, the Mariners had a strong season, missing the playoffs by a single game. After making some key additions in the off-season, including the addition of the reigning MLB homerun king Nelson Cruz, the Mariners look poised to put an end to their playoff drought, allowing BC baseball fans to get their first taste of playoff baseball in 14 years.
Tiger Woods won’t win a golf tournament
The Masters tournament takes place April 9-12 in Augusta, Georgia, and Tiger Woods has announced that he will take part in this year’s tournament after taking a small hiatus from the world of competitive golf. The four time Master Champion, who has struggled with injuries the last few years, hasn’t won on tour since 2013, and, as a result, has seen himself fall out of the top 100 in the world golf ranking for the first time since 1997. Woods has played just 47 holes of golf this year, largely due to injuries. Although it will be interesting to see how Tiger does at Augusta National this year, it’s easy to see that his ever-growing list of injuries and aliments have taken their toll on Tiger. Because of Tigers slump and these reoccurring injuries it’s hard to imagine Tiger getting his game in shape to the point where he manages to win a tournament at any point this season. Personally, I think it’s more likely that Tiger never wins another tournament again than it is that he picks up a victory this season. The mind is more than willing, but the question is, is his body still able to keep up?
The Tampa Bay Lightning will win the Stanley Cup
Out of all major professional sports leagues, the NHL has the highest sense of parity. An argument can be made that almost any team that qualifies for the playoffs this year has a legitimate shot of winning the Stanley Cup. But this year I think the Tampa Bay Lightning is going to be the team that comes out on top. The Lightning had a good season last year, but lost star goaltender Ben Bishop at the start of the playoffs and got swept in the first round by Montreal. This year, assuming another star player doesn’t get injured, the Lightning possess all the pieces of a serious cup contender. They have one of the league’s best pure goal scorers in Steven Stamkos, who is surrounded by a roster of underrated young forwards. Victor Hedmen is one of the best defenders in the league. With Bishop healthy and in goal, the Lightning have an all-star at every position and a good chance of being the last team standing at the end of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will win the NBA Championship
When Lebron James decided to take his talents from South Beach back to the Cleveland Cavaliers this past off-season, a fair amount of criticism followed. James, who made it to the NBA finals all four years he played in Miami, was looked at to bring a Championship to the city of Cleveland. James and off-season trade acquisition Kevin Love joined all-star Kyrie Irving on the Cavaliers this season. Although Cleveland struggled at the start of the season, they now sit second in the NBA’s eastern conference. Now, with the playoffs just around the corner, the Cavaliers continue to get better and better. There are some really strong teams in the NBA this year, including the team ahead of Cleveland in the eastern conference, the Atlanta Hawks. But considering how much Cleveland has improved since the start of the season, I just don’t know if there is a team out there that can stop Lebron and the Cavaliers. It seems extremely likely that James will be appearing in a fifth consecutive NBA championship, with a good chance of picking up his third championship ring.