Oct 1, 2013, 11:40 AM EST
We didn’t so well with these last season, with not one of us predicting the Chicago Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup. We’re going to blame the lockout for that and try again for 2013-14. No excuses this time around. Unless there are injuries. Then there are excuses. We may also think up other excuses.
Jason Brough: Los Angeles Kings over Detroit Red Wings
I look for three major things when I pick a Cup winner. First is goaltending. Second is a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman that can log big minutes. Third is at least one, preferably two, top centers. The Kings have all these things. I’m a little concerned about their ability to create offense, but if Willie Mitchell can stay healthy, that may allow Drew Doughty to get a bit more involved in that area. Picking a team out of the East was tough because there’s only one that unequivocally meets my criteria, the Bruins, and it’s really hard to put together back-to-back runs to the Stanley Cup Final. Meanwhile, I don’t like the Pens’ goaltending, and the Rangers, Caps, and Flyers don’t have that one great d-man. I ended up taking the Wings, but that back end will have to keep improving, and Stephen Weiss can’t be a free-agent bust.
Mike Halford: Los Angeles Kings over Boston Bruins
After winning it all two years ago and going back to the Western Conference finals last season, the Kings spent the summer tweaking what was already a pretty solid roster. They turned a backup goalie into another backup and arguably their fastest player (Matt Frattin); they added by subtracting Dustin Penner (who was mediocre at best last year) and, perhaps most importantly, got a clean bill of health for Willie Mitchell, the veteran defenseman that was a key cog on the Cup-winning side of ’12. The Kings are talented, deep, experienced and still bitter about getting dumped by Chicago in five games.
Ryan Dadoun: St. Louis Blues over New York Rangers
These are two teams I’ve liked for a couple of years now and it obviously didn’t pan out for me last season. Still, the Blues have what I believe to be the best group of defensemen in the NHL from top to bottom. They also have strong goaltending, especially if Jaroslav Halak can stay healthy during the playoffs. Their offense isn’t comparatively as impressive, but it’s well-rounded. While it includes some rising youngsters like Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, its core has largely matured at this point.
James O’Brien: St. Louis Blues over New York Rangers
With parity reigning supreme in the NHL, depth is increasingly important, and the Blues might be the deepest of them all. Not many teams boast such a variety of scoring options (adding Derek Roy was shrewd), 2-4 top pairing-quality defensemen and 2-3 viable goalies. Each of the Blues and Rangers have the motivation (key contract years, bright coaches) and talent to get it done, but the Blues edge the Rangers. And, no, I’m not just picking them because EA Sports’ supercomputers did, either.
Joe Yerdon: Los Angeles Kings over New York Rangers
The Kings are one of a handful of teams that can hang with Chicago in the West. Their skill, toughness, and goaltending are as good as it gets. The Rangers shake out as a team that seems to have it more put together. If not having Torts in their ears makes the difference, and I think it will, they’ll be right there.
Cam Tucker: Washington Capitals over Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Ovechkin should be extra motivated considering what’s at stake for him personally. I do worry about a potential emotional letdown for No. 8 after the Sochi Olympics, but the Blackhawks didn’t have that problem in 2010 when Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook played for Canada in Vancouver. The Capitals should also enter the season fully adjusted to Adam Oates and his system. At some point, this team has to break through in the playoffs. Washington isn’t perfect, but what team is? Particularly in the East.
So there you have it. PHT has the Kings (thrice), the Blues (twice), and the Caps (once). Sorry about that, those three teams. There’s always next season.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Pens captain returns after missing Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg.
Jan 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Rivalry night on NBCSN.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:55 PM EST
Is expected to be released today.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:21 PM EST
Sharks, Ducks, Kings, Flames, and Oilers will all have their affiliates in the west next season.
Jan 28, 2015, 4:44 PM EST
That’s a picture of Milwaukee.
Jan 28, 2015, 3:02 PM EST
The Los Angeles Kings are bad at the shootout, and the Buffalo Sabres are good at it.
Jan 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Jan 28, 2015, 1:51 PM EST
An incident against Philly on Jan. 19 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:39 PM EST
Chris Stewart remains a member of the worst team in the NHL.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:39 PM EST
“We’re not giving up on him at all.”
Jan 28, 2015, 1:16 PM EST
Someone check the water in Columbus.
Jan 28, 2015, 1:11 PM EST
“That was a team with tremendous character, with great coaches, great players and quality individuals. “
Jan 28, 2015, 12:51 PM EST
Habs’ d-man was tossed from Tuesday night’s game.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:52 AM EST
“It shouldn’t be a part of hockey,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:51 AM EST
Could be bad news. Could be good. All depends who you cheer for.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:33 AM EST
Boston d-man has struggled this season, but could be on the move by Mar. 2.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EST
Los Angeles is currently out of the West’s top eight.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:16 AM EST
“Show up to your job, and you’re off suspension.”
Jan 28, 2015, 11:08 AM EST
Jim Rutherford, really working the phones.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:36 AM EST
“I got nothing left here.”
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 15
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 21
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 61
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 30
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 41
- Mike Richards clears waivers 32
- Game on: Islanders-Rangers to be played despite storm 15
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 57
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 17