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Pattern Recognition: can Phoenix rise from the ashes?

Not to take anything away from James’ great pacific predictions (and no, I don’t have any beef with picking the Sharks; they’re my pick also), but there was one note I thought I’d share for all the pundits out there.

The prediction: Phoenix Coyotes will not only finish 6th in the west, but also will make it to the Western Conference Finals.

The justification: Recent history. The last three Western Conference Finals have featured a 6th-seeded team that finished the previous year at 12th in the west. Amazingly, twice in three years that 6th seed was the higher seed in the WCF, but in all three years the lower seed has taken the series to advance to the cup finals.

Here are the last three 6th seeds in the west, their WCF result, as well as their previous year’s finish:

2006 6th seed - Anaheim, lost to 8th-seeded Edmonton, previous year 12th
2004 6th seed - Calgary, beat 2nd-seeded San Jose, previous year 12th
2003 6th seed - Minnesota, lost to 7th-seeded Anaheim, previous year 12th
And of course, the Phoenix Coyotes own that infamous 12th seed from last year. Enough to give a Yote fan some hope? Not really, but if history does repeat itself you heard it here first.

Incidentally, if the west want to stop sending 7th-game Stanley Cups to the eastern conference (another 3-season pattern), maybe we should send someone higher than our 6th seed. The lowest the east has sent in those three years is their 2nd seed.

Just a thought.