A new season is upon us, but it feels like it was only a few weeks ago when Sid the Kid and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled the ‘ol switcheroo and beat Niklas Lidstrom and the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 a year after losing 4-2 to the same squad. Evgeni Malkin was the MVP of the Finals as well as the playoffs as a whole. Max Talbot scored the only two goals in game seven, and Marc-Andre Fleury only allowed one goal to secure the clinching game.
But four plus months have passed since the Penguins triumphantly raised the cup. With the drop of the puck last week, the ’09-’10 season has begun, a season full of hope as well as dreams of Stanley Cup glory for all thirty teams. Right now, every team is still in playoff contention as far as I know.
The Usual Suspects:
In the East, the Penguins are flying high with ginormous targets upon their backs. They are still loaded, but will have a big challenge pulling a repeat. The Bruins are a team looking for a little more respect after finishing last season with 116 points. That was tops in the East by eight points, but they still didn’t make it out of the second round of the playoffs. The Flyers, Hurricanes, Devils and Rangers are loaded teams with high playoff aspirations who shouldn’t dissapoint. The Capitals are the trendy pick for East champion and Stanley Cup champions. With players like Alex Semin, Nicklas Bakstrom and the magician Alex Ovechkin, they will be a tough team to stop on offense. With a goalie like Jose Theodore, on paper they seem unstoppable.
In the West, the old standbys the Red Wings, Sharks and Canucks are full of all-star players on defense and offense. The Flames, led by forward Jerome Iginla, goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and a group of veterans is a team to keep an eye on all season long. The Blackhawks and Ducks are both popular playoff picks and shouldn’t disappoint. After that, the rest of the league is kind of a toss up.
In the East, keep an eye on the Sabres, Canadians and Panthers. There will probably only be one or two playoff spots available for these three to fight for. Buffalo’s season hinges on staying healthy. Last season, goalie Ryan Miller missed six weeks with an injury and by the time he returned, the Sabres had lost their hold on the playoffs. Montreal and Florida are both talented teams that can challenge for a playoff spot and just might surprise a few teams.
In the West, the Blue Jackets, Wild, Blues and Stars are teams to watch out for. These are all teams that are often overlooked and have large chips on their shoulders. The West seems to be a little more one-sided than the East when it comes to the parity of competition, but these teams will be out to prove that is just a myth.
- New Jersey
- NY Rangers
- Tampa Bay
- NY Islanders
- San Jose
- St. Louis
- Los Angeles
Stanley Cup Prediction:
Boston over Detroit
Image credit: Jenn Vargas
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn