Pre-season predictions don't mean much to me. Some dude looking at last year's standings, looking at each team's off-seasons, trying to figure out who's going to win each conference... it's just opinion. It's even more fantastic when you're thinking about this season, which will probably be either lockout-shortened or just lost altogether.
Now, just because I said that I don't put a lot of stock in predictions (and power rankings) doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it when my team's ranked pretty well up there. Is it a jinx? Oh, probably so. But then again I'm a Blues fan and I've been conditioned to expect the gut punch at some point during the year. But isi it pretty fun when your team's picked to win the Western Conference? Yup.
The Hockey News hasn't released their predictions for first overall yet, but if you scroll through the other 14 teams on their list, you'll see one team missing from each conference. In the East it's the usual culprit, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The West? Your very own St. Louis Blues. My reaction? The usual Blues' fan mix of incredulity and "aw, yeah! We got recognized!" Of course, mixed in with that was a hint of "great, now our goaltenders' hips will explode and we'll finish last in the division." But still, it was more of the second of the bunch.
Still, the fact that THN picked the Blues is a bit of a mystery. The forwards didn't upgrade, but I guess they're counting on Chris Stewart actually playing this year and Andy McDonald and Alex Steen not being injured. Fair enough. Defense? Well, Colaiacovo's probably gone, so yay Ian Cole. Enjoy the big leagues. Goalies? Will Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott repeat last season or just regress to the mean? So many things about the Blues don't scream "Western Conference Champions," so either competition's weaker this year or The Hockey News is trolling every Central Division fanbase at once, including our own.
Of course, if the season's only half as long as it should be and the Blues get on a hot streak, then sure. Anything's possible.
BTW, here's exclusive footage of THN deciding their list. I'm sure that they had Detroit and Chicago in mind here.