Skip to content

PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup?

Apr 30, 2013, 10:58 AM EDT

Dustin Brown Getty Images

As introduced in our first-round predictions, the PHT staff is comprised of myself (Mike Halford), Jason Brough, Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien, Ryan Dadoun and Cam Tucker.

You may recognize us from such articles as “Sidney Crosby‘s hourly health update” and “yes, another Bryzgalov post!”

Today, we’re here to give you our Stanley Cup champion picks for the 2013 playoffs.

But there’s a wrinkle! Rather than use the comments section to insult our picks/manhood, we challenge you, the PHT reader, to submit your Stanley Cup champion pick too.

Those that get it right will receive a cookie (Note: legal issues might prevent us from actually giving you the cookie. It’ll probably be more like a symbolic biscuit.)

Anyway, here we go…

Jason Brough: Pittsburgh Penguins

I have to preface my selection with this: I count eight, maybe even nine, teams that wouldn’t shock me if they won the Cup. So when I say the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to win the Stanley Cup, I am fully prepared to be wrong. Just as wrong as I was last year when I picked the Pens and they got embarrassed by the Flyers in the first round. My theory is Sid and company will take something from that experience and apply it to this year’s effort. It’s not a particularly unique theory, but whatever, I’ll probably be wrong anyway.

Preseason pick: Boston Bruins

Joe Yerdon: Los Angeles Kings

I’m taking the Kings over the Rangers in the finals. It’s a reverse of what I picked in the preseason. I think both teams are trending up going into the playoffs. Yes, Chicago and Pittsburgh are beastly, but no one is unbeatable. Picking the teams with the best starting goalies in the playoffs makes me feel a little better about going out on this limb.

Preseason pick: New York Rangers

James O’Brien: Los Angeles Kings

The hottest team in the NHL is in the West, but it’s not the Chicago Blackhawks. The Los Angeles Kings possess a little bit of everything: two capable goalies, plenty of versatile forwards and an appealing set of defensemen. They’ve also possessed the puck more often than anyone else lately. Look for the defending champs to top one of the East’s deepest, most versatile teams in the Bruins to complete the repeat.

Preseason pick: New York Rangers

Ryan Dadoun: New York Rangers

When we did our preseason predictions, I took the New York Rangers and I’m stubbornly sticking with it. They’ve had problems, but so did the Los Angeles Kings in 2011-12. The Rangers bolstered their top-nine forwards at the deadline while simultaneously making their team more physical. They still have potential playoff heroes in Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, and most importantly Henrik Lundqvist. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve been hot lately.

Preseason pick: New York Rangers

Cam Tucker: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins just have too much depth. And look out for when Sidney Crosby makes his return from a broken jaw. He was by far the best player in the NHL this season until his injury, and it won’t take him long to return to that form once he comes back to the lineup. Look for Marc-Andre Fleury to exercise the demons that haunted him in last year’s first-round loss to Philadelphia.

Preseason pick: N/A

Mike Halford: Chicago Blackhawks

What the ‘Hawks accomplished this season is remarkable. They won 75 percent of their games. They finished with a plus-53 goal differential. They only lost seven times in regulation. Their longest losing streak was two games. Sure, sure, but that’s all regular-season stuff, you say — except that the ‘Hawks head into this postseason built largely around the core of the 2010 Cup-winning side. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson all have a wealth of postseason experience, and you could argue the team’s one weak spot — goaltending — is better now than it ever has been during the Joel Quenneville era. Now all they have to do is avoid the Presidents’ Trophy curse…

Preseason pick: St. Louis Blues

  1. jb8383 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    I’m going with the Blackhawks to win the Cup.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Blackhawk penalty number 24 bob probert
      5Mins for fighting and a game misconduct best team in the nhl its a slam dunk

  2. hockeywithdrawal - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Interesting! Strange Chicago doesn’t get more love in the West…they beat LAK 2 out of 3 times year. Close games though. Would be a great match-up for a WC final if it happens.

  3. 13datsyuk13 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    The redwings have the hottest goalie in the league and the team has come together at just the right time. The only team they have really struggled with us Chicago. It’s the last year playing in a conference with the Blackhawks so it could get interesting.

    • bensawesomeness - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      We’re going to have to go through Anaheim, Chicago, and LA/Vancouver/St.Louis/San Jose, PLUS whoever makes it out of the East.

      Got news for you, as it stands right now, the bracket’s going to have to open up for us for us to make it to the WCF, let alone the Cup

  4. jonkchar - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    The only team that can beat the Penguins is themselves. and I say that with a sober mind, knowing that the West is pretty freakin stacked, but alas, East only meets West in the playoffs once, and that’s when it matters

    • bmscalise - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      I think it’s funny that no one has mentioned that, because the West is deeper, it will likely be a more difficult road for whoever makes it through. That likely gives the Eastern team (I think Pens) a bit of an advantage, if they can make it to the Finals in 3-4 less games.

    • imauggiedoggie - May 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      …wait til they meet up with the caps! washington (and ovy…especially) is peaking just at the right time and holtby is hot right now too. the ‘flower’ makes me nervous for the pens, his is just too flaky at times.

  5. jonkchar - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    alao, to comment on the West- Chicago has a great shot, but they have a giant target on their back and they better hope they don’t run into Anaheim or Vancouver otherwise they’ll be the ones wondering “what happened?”

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      They’ve had a giant target on their back from probably Game 5 of the regular season.

  6. jpelle82 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    no love for the ducks huh? i’m sure thats just how they like it

  7. baned0n - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    The Blackhawks only lost 7 games in non-shootout fashion in 48 games this season. Now some team needs to beat them in 4 out of 7 games in non-shootout fashion?

    Obviously it’s not impossible, but hey…good luck on that.

    • jonkchar - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Who were those losses against? And what was the season series against those teams?

  8. michiganhockey11 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Nobody picked the Wings after them getting hot the last 4 games of the season? I’m hoping for a barnburner with the Blackhawks and Wings.

  9. orangandblack - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM


  10. capsrockva - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Caps will do more damage than people think They are peaking at the right time

    • michiganhockey11 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Same could be said about the Wings….

    • tomahawk12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Peaked already, it’s almost over.

  11. bcisleman - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I’ll make a qualified pick. IF my Isles can get past the Pens, they will win the Cup. Nobody else in the East scares me and if the Isles can beat the Pens, they can beat whoever comes out of the West as well. More generally, the team that gets the best goaltending will probably win. If the Isles DO have a shot against the Pens, it will come down to goaltending. Flower has an .875 sv% the last three playoffs while Nabby’s lifetime playoff sv% is .913. Nabby will have to be significantly better than either Flower or Vokoun for the Isles to win.

    • hawksin5 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      I don’t watch a terrible amount of the east, with the exception of Toronto, NYR, NYI, Boston, and FLA. My team is in the west. I’ve watched the isles and they’ve impressed me this year, that being said im going to disagree with you on your comment about the west. Almost all of the teams out west would dominate them. the isles don’t have nearly enough offensive power to compete with defenses like STL, VAN, or CHI, and even if they could, the isles D doesn’t stand a chance against their offenses. NYI>LA, VAN, SJ, ANA, CHI, STL? No. NO. No. Nope. No way in hell. No.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      I really think you’re overvaluing the talent on your favorite team. It’s possible they upset the Pens, but it’s not close to likely. And even if they do, there’s no way they roll through the rest of the East AND dominate the Western finalist all because they were able to beat the Pens. The Devils didn’t scare me in the least last season (especially after almost losing in 7 to Fla), because the Flyers had just beaten everyones Cup pick… then lo and behold, NJ, a team no one respected, absolutely dominated the series and went on to the finals. Just because you beat the favorite doesn’t mean you’re gonna waltz to the Cup. There are always surprise teams, maybe it’s the Isles, but your logic is faulty. The NHL playoffs are totally unpredictable.

  12. jhuck92 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Mike Halford knows what’s up

  13. rg3isvictory - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Caps vs Rangers is a pick’em, but Lund. edge out Holtby in their last playoff series. If the Caps get past them I like their chance against everybody body else except a healthy Pens squad or the Islanders who found a way to Trump the Caps in every meeting this season. Admittedly, I don’t pay much attention to the West coast and fully expect the East to take the Stanley Cup.

    • micklethepickle - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      I’m a huge Caps fan as well, but this wasn’t the year to not pay attention to the West – they are far deeper and far superior to the East. In fact, I fully believe in a 7 game series that Pitt (arguably the class of the East) would lose to not just Chicago, but Anaheim, St. Louis, and possibly even San Jose. I just don’t see the East as anywhere near competitive to the West this year.

      That being said, GO CAPS! This could be the year!!!

    • jonkchar - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Im a Pens fan but it is good to see the Caps rolling again. If the Pens lose, Im going for the Caps in the East

  14. jonkchar - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I can’t reply to banedon’s comment from mobile- so I’ll ask here- who were those Chicago losses against, and what were the season series against those (two) teams? Ah forget it, ignorance is bliss

  15. steelpenbucs87 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Nice try Halford – but I see right through your guise to try to get us to not make mention of the fact that the entire PHT writing staff’s manhood can be described as ‘workmanlike’ at best. (Kidding of course, but couldn’t resist :))

    I’ve got the Pens (shocker) over the Ducks in 6.

  16. phillyphanatic77 - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    It’s interesting that the Kings are picked several times considering JQuick was the most important player during their run last season. And this year he’s been average… 18-13 .902sv% 2.45GAA. That save % was good for 38th. Now he obviously has the ability to dominate but he was totally outplayed by Bernier this season. So maybe his confidence isn’t where it needs to be. I just don’t see the Kings making consecutive runs.

    As a Flyers fan I want the Islanders to upset the Pens, but as a hockey fan I’d love to see a Pittsburgh-Chicago final (as long as the Hawks win). I think that would be an epic matchup. Unfortunately, the two best teams rarely make it so I’m sure we’ll see a surprise final. Idk who’s gonna end up with the Cup but these are the teams I think advance to round two: Pens, Sens, Caps, Bruins, Hawks, Red Wings, Sharks, Blues.

  17. nvillano - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    I do not know much about the NHL this season. Lockouts make for some strange occurances in the playoffs. If I had to pick someone I would go with the Kings because Quick is good enough to carry that team once again. All I know if that Pittsburgh won’t have a shot no matter who they have on offense as long as the guy between the pipes plays like he has been playing.

  18. gaborik104life - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    As a Rangers fan I have to pick the New York Rangers. They should not be afraid of any team. Having said that they are not unbeatable but neither is any other team. Certain teams are being given so much credit and love by the majority but the fact it playoffs are a different beast. Not only did the eighth seed in the western conference who were not favorites of the majority they did so by winning in dramatic fashion in terms of how quickly they ended the dreams of other teams. There are certain teams that are all but guaranteed of losing however miracles do happen.

    Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting: The Theory of Evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive.” Maybe so, maybe so. But the Theory of Competition says “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked.” That’s right. See, what every long-shot, come-from-behind underdog will tell you is this: The other guy may in fact be the favorite; the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough … But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows and the clock starts ticking, just remember: out here, the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “uncle”. And then suddenly, as the old saying goes, “We got ourselves a game.”

  19. ironcitydonnieiris - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Being a Pittsburgh native, my pick is obviously the Pens. Just as my pick for the World Series is the Pirates. Pens are a First Seed, and I believe played extremely well in the wake of having multiple top players out through out the season. What concerns me is what the lines will be like when EVERYONE is back in the line up. Hopefully those who stepped up in other players absences continue to step up and hopefully all the players mesh together quickly.
    I think the Islanders series will be similar to last years Flyers/Pens series. Ugly and some loss of control (not ridiculous like last year by both sides) but some. If the pens keep their focus, the team that worries me in the east is Washington. They are peaking, and I see them carrying that winning streak through atleast 2 rounds of the playoffs.
    I think Anaheim has Chicagos number this year. Ducks win the west to go to the Cup. Pens get through the east and bring Lord Stanley home to Pittsburgh again.
    The home team may have blinders on me, but it’s the pick I gotta make N’at.
    Lord Stanley Lord Stanley, bring me the brandy!!!!

  20. President Charles Logan - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    pens -kings in the finals

  21. basedrum777 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Am I missing why the Ducks aren’t getting more love? Didn’t they win the series with the CB’s this year?

    Either way I’m a Pens fan and think they’ll win. They didn’t lose 4/7 games at any point during the season (assuming I read the results correctly). Think about that.

    I definitely don’t want to see CB or AD in the finals if we are lucky enough to make it that far. They are the strength of the West. Hopefully by that point they’ll be beaten down. We shall see.

  22. ron05342 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    The Los Angeles Kings will repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

  23. thewaytonever - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I’ve got the two 6 seeds playing for the cup. but who knows this is like sorting salt from sand

  24. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Hope we’re treated to a Hawks vs Pens SC Final. Probably 2 of the top 3 organizations, best 2 teams of the year, and the best 2 Captains in the league. Pens in 7 because of their depth.

  25. sjsharks86 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    San Jose Sharks:
    Please don’t pick them to win it, since it can only help their chances. However, the reasons why they can and WILL win it this year are endless. They have depth (Couture, Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Burns, Havlat, Boyle, Stuart, Vlasic, etc.), solid defense (thank you Larry Robinson), speed (post trade deadline), special teams (PK 6th, PP 7th overall), goaltending (Niemi4Vezina), playoff experience (9 straight appearances), & more than a few guys that have already won it (Niemi, Burish, Gomez, Stuart, Boyle). They picked up Scott Gomez at a discount who’s filled the 4th liner center position admirably & moved Brent Burns up front and he’s been killing it with Joe Thornton & TJ Galiardi. After unloading some of their less fleet of foot players before the trade deadline (simultaneously sabotaging the Hawks, Pens & Rangers), they successfully inserted Raffi Torres (still hate him, but its hard not to cheer for him) into their lineup, shifted some of their offensive talent across the top 3 lines, and had their 4th liners start to produce, just in time for playoffs. I project the Sharks will meet the Caps in the Final, and at the end of it the Sharks will prevail.

    • sjsharks86 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      And yes I’m bias, but I don’t care.

  26. mclovinhockey - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    My pick, Habs, the goalies are an issue but I feel the team who wins it this year is going to squeak by in round one, then turn on the jets. Not sure why but my guy says them. The way Gallagher has been playing really is going to get under the other teams skin and take them out of the game. I just feel after round one Carey will get hot, and they may just be able to pull off a miracle.

    Preseason pick: Rangers

    Keep in mind this is just a gut feeling. I have not really thought about the bracket much, but my gut has called 4 of the last 5 cup winners preplayoffs and 3 of them were the same as my preseason pick.

  27. pennerismyhomeboy - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Kings in 6

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1676)
  2. P. Kane (1305)
  3. S. Matthias (1162)
  4. D. Carcillo (1060)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1036)