It doesn't bring us any great joy to report this, Capitals Nation, but the folks at EA Sports have some bad news for you: the Caps are not winning the 2010 Stanley Cup. In fact, they'd be lucky to return the second round of the playoffs.
If EA Sports' NHL 2010 is correct, Henrik Lundqvist won't be the only goalie shutting the door on the Caps this season.
I know this because I bought NHL 2010 for the XBox 360 when it hit the shelves Tuesday. Eager to find out just how dominant OV and the boys are sure to be on an actual sheet of ice, I simulated the upcoming season 20 times using something resembling the probable opening night roster. Apologies to Mr. Nylander.
Based on averages taken from those highly unscientific results and arbitrary sample size (do you know how long it takes to sim 20 full seasons?), let us make some bold, wacky, and occasionally contradictory predictions about the 2009-10 Washington Capitals!
- The Capitals will finish the season with a record of 43-33-6, good for 92 points, well off last season's 108-point pace. The best of the 20 seasons has the Capitals winning 55 games; the worst has them winning only 32.
- Ovie will post between 74 and 109 points in 2009-10 while skating on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble. He was the team's leading scorer in 17 of the 20 seasons; Alexander Semin outscored him thrice.
- Semyon Varlamov will wrest the starting job from Jose Theodore. Varlamov will win between 33 and 41 games, while posting a GAA of 2.36 and a save percentage of .905. Mr. Varlamov, I have Team Russia on the line for you, sir.
- In 15 of the 20 seasons, the Capitals are a playoff team. Hooray!
- Here's where it gets uncomfortable: they're going to lose in the first round of the playoffs 12 of those times. The Caps will see the second round only twice.
- Best case scenario? The 2009-10 Caps are going to lose to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals in five games. Yeah, that was my biggest fear going into this season too.
So let's get this straight: Vegas gives the Capitals 10-to-1 odds of winning this year's Stanley Cup. That's a roughly 9 percent chance, same as San Jose and slightly inferior to Detroit, Pittsburgh and Boston.
EA Sports gives the Capitals a big, fat zero. That's cruel. Even Tampa Bay has better odds in Vegas, at 100-to-1, than EA gives the Caps.
Either the Capitals are setting all of us up for a massive, epic, Hindenburg-style letdown season, or EA Sports doesn't think very much of those who Rock the Red. Or, it's possible that using a video game to predict the outcomes of real life events is
a huge waste of time not very reliable.
Either way, I'll take my chances on the Vegas Strip, thanks very much. (Image via EA Sports)