By Rob Ficiur
In the January 5, 2015 issue of the Commentator, I made eight predictions of what would happen in the sporting world in 2015. My 2014 Predictions were 50% correct. Once again my 2015 predictions were 50% correct (at least that is the way I count it).
Here are the predictions and a few notes about why I was right (or an excuse for my error in predictive judgment).
1. Four Canadian teams will make the NHL Playoffs. Correct
When I predicted four Canadian teams would make the NHL playoffs no one could have predicted that five Canadian teams would make the post season. (Especially when only one made the playoff the previous year).
On January 1, 2015 five Canadian teams were in a playoff spot. Three months later when the playoffs started four of those Canadian based teams; Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver were in the playoffs.
2. a) No Canadian team wins the cup. Correct
No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993 and this tradition continued another season. The first round of the playoffs saw two all Canadian matchups; Calgary defeated Vancouver and Montreal eliminated Ottawa.
After Calgary and Montreal won their first round playoffs series, they were eliminated in five and six games respectively in the second round.
2 b) New team wins the Stanley Cup… Wrong:
From 2005 to 2014 (the time since the NHL lockout and new salary cap system went into effect) seven different teams have won the nine Stanley Cups. My prediction was that in 2015 the Stanley Cup winner would be a team that had not won since in the Salary Cap era (starting in 2006).
Three of the final four playoff teams have not won a Stanley Cup in the salary cap era; New York Rangers, Anaheim and Tampa Bay. The eventual Stanley Cup champion was the Chicago Black Hawks who have now won three of the ten Stanley Cups since the lock out.
3. Toronto Raptors win a playoff round Wrong:
For the second year in a row the Toronto Raptors were first place in their Atlantic Division. The Raptors set a franchise record for most wins in a season. This had to be a good omen…right?
With home court advantage against the Washington Wizards the fourth seeded Raptors lost the opening two games. Vowing things would be different on the road, the Raptors went into Washington and this time the home team won two games. In other words the Raptors lost in a four game sweep. It was not what the Raptors fans / management hoped for.
4. Toronto Blue Jays make the playoffs Correct
I wrote: In 2014 the Kansas City Royals ended the longest active playoff drought in baseball and then came within a game of winning the World Series. The Royals had 89 wins compared to the Toronto Blue Jays 83 victories. Now the Blue Jays own the longest active playoff drought in baseball…but that will end in 2015.”
The Blue Jays did made the playoffs. More about that Toronto Blue Jays season will be written in January 12, 2016 sports column entitled “No one could have predicted these things for 2015.”
5. Calgary Stampeders repeat as Grey Cup champs. Wrong
The Stampeders lost in the Western final to the eventual Grey cup champion Edmonton Eskimos. (Many thought that Western final had the two best teams, but that doesn’t make it any better for Stampeder fans).
6. A Canadian will win in a Grand Slam Tennis tournament. Wrong
In 2014 Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Ranoic came closer to winning a Grand Slam singles than any Canadian before. It seemed logical / hopeful that one of these rising stars would take their play to a new level. Eugenie Bouchard’s career went backwards in 2015. Her overall record was 12 wins and 18 losses. At year end she ranked 49th in Women’s Tennis. Milos Ranoic fared better than Bouchard. At year end he ranked 14th with a 33-16 record in 2015. He won the St. Petersburg Open, but did not get past the quarter finals in any of the Majors.
7. Canada would win the World Junior Hockey Championship Correct (sort of)
When I made this prediction I was extremely careful in my wording. I wrote: “I am not making any predictions on the World Junior Hockey Championship. Right now the Canadian team is doing well – so my making predictions won’t help. In the last five years my patriotically wonderful predictions did not come true – so this year my silence on the subject might help.”
In the previous five years whenever I predict that Canada would win the World Junior Gold, they did not succeed. My secret plan to help the team win in 2015 was my silent prediction. Since my written support had not helped, I rationalized that my silence would make all the difference. My interpretation of this is that my fence sitting was close to a vote for Canada.
Next week I will make my bold fearless predictions of what will happen in the 2015 sporting world. There will also be a few vague and silent predictions that I can reinterpret a year later when I account for my words.