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.
Dec 9, 2013, 12:12 PM EST
“I guess I got him in the back of the leg.”
Dec 9, 2013, 11:49 AM EST
“Well that’s just super,” the Blue Jackets probably didn’t say.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:34 AM EST
It’s a mismatch on paper.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:23 AM EST
He led Philadelphia in scoring for a while.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:12 AM EST
Russian rookie is on fire at the moment.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:10 AM EST
Have won five of their last seven. Play tonight in Vancouver.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:54 AM EST
Hey, if you’re going to ask anybody…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:37 AM EST
Stemming from Saturday’s ugly incident vs. Boston.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:24 AM EST
It’s a Metropolitan Division throw-down.
Dec 9, 2013, 8:15 AM EST
That and the rest of the links to start your day ahead.
Dec 9, 2013, 12:11 AM EST
The check didn’t result in a penalty.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:34 PM EST
Plus the Olympics, legal matters and more.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:58 PM EST
More bad injury breaks for Boston.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:39 PM EST
“It’s getting old,” Brad Richards said.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:10 PM EST
Todd McLellan wasn’t happy on Sunday.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:53 PM EST
Good news/bad news night for Chicago.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:22 PM EST
Is this a faux pas?
Dec 8, 2013, 8:16 PM EST
Dec 8, 2013, 7:24 PM EST
Punishment for Varlamov’s last start or reward for Jiggy’s win?
Dec 8, 2013, 7:13 PM EST
It resulted in a broken ankle.
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 73
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 96
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 6
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 14
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 89
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 87
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 179
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (179)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (96)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (89)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (87)