October 1, 2009

The puck drops here

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

That’s right folks, the National Hockey League is back already. Not even four whole months since their playoffs ended, regular season ice hockey action is almost upon us again. Couldn’t there be a bit more time between seasons, for the sake of the players and for the fans? How burned out are some of the guys who’ve had long playoff runs going to be? How burned out are fans going to be with a schedule that seemingly never ends? Even worse, this season the schedule is compacted because the league foolishly takes two weeks off for the Olympics — but that’s fodder for a whole different “Why the NHL is dumb” post.  So let’s get to what should happen in the world of ice hockey this season.

Award wnners
Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals.
Malkin and Crosby will always steal votes from each other and there’s really no one else who can challenge the flamboyant Russian unless he’s injured or a goalie wins 50 games.

Norris Trophy: Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames.
With the addition of Jay Bouwmeester to their blue line, Phaneuf has one hell of a partner to help take some heat off of him on offence. These two should light up both ends of the ice.

Vezina Trophy: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils.
At this point, you really need to look at reasons not to pick Marty for the Vezina. He might just be the best goalie ever.

Division winners
Northeast Division: Boston Bruins — They have to rely on Tim Thomas again, but they’re still the best of a division that looks surprisingly weak.
Atlantic Division: New Jersey Devils — Everyone except the Islanders are a contender in this division, but none have Martin Brodeur.
Southeast Division: Washington Capitals — There’s no one even close in the division, not even Carolina.
Eastern Conference: Washington Capitals.
Central Division: Detroit Red Wings — The young Blackhawks are going to five them one hell of a fight but the savvy vets will hold the line.
Northwest Division: Calgary Flames — Vancouver could challenge but I’ve got the skinny on them below.
Pacific Division: San Jose Sharks — The Kings have some darkhorse potential, but Anaheim is the only other contender to the Sharks’ crown.
Western Conference: Detroit Red Wings.
Stanley Cup Champion: Capitals in six.

Underachiever: Vancouver Canucks.
Now that the Sedins have got their big pay days, how sure are we that they’ll keep improving? Vancouver’s offence started sputtering towards the end of the season, are we sure it’s been fixed?

Overachiever: Columbus Blue Jackets.
Another season with Steve Mason between the pipes should keep the Blue Jackets in more games than the probably deserve to be in. They should even make their first playoff appearance.

6 Comments

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  5. What do you guys think about the Olympic hockey games that took place. What country did you want to win?

  6. Thanks for sharing

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