I’m back after being a healthy scratch last week. We’re a week or more into the National Hockey League season, but there’s still time for me to offer my preview of what’s going to happen this season. The first period will tackle the Eastern Conference the second period will predict the West and the final will lay out the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I’ll even toss in some NHL Awards for you. Let’s get started
I’ve got to take the Washington Capitals to win the Metropolitan Divisionand get Alex Ovechkin to his Stanley Cup final. They may have lost a 3-1 lead to the Rangers in the second round, but he certainly did not choke away that series. Ovie may be having a little trouble with oversleeping, but he’ll be plenty awake for the playoff push. Standings: 1. Washington*; 2. Islanders*; 3. Rangers*; 4. Pittsburgh*; 5. Columbus*; 6. Philadelphia; 7. New Jersey; 8. Carolina. (*- clinched playoff spot)
I’m taking Montreal to win the Atlantic Division by a nose over Tampa Bay. Carey Price will once again have a fantastic season and be in the mix for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. PK Subban will really start to lead this team. Standings: 1. Montreal*; 2. Tampa Bay*; 3. Detroit*; 4. Florida; 5. Ottawa; 6. Buffalo; 7. Boston; 8. Toronto.
I know I cover the Nashville Predators for The Hockey Writers, but I don’t think it’s a stretch that the Preds have the stuff to win the Central Division. They have the arguably the best defense in the league and one of the best goalies in PekkaRinne. The Central is a minefield, so anyone who gets the division order correct needs to take me to Las Vegas. Standings: 1. Nashville*; 2. St. Louis*; 3. Chicago*; 4. Minnesota*; 5. Dallas*; 6. Winnipeg; 7. Colorado.
In the Pacific, I like the Anaheim Ducks with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Frederick Andersen proved himself in the playoffs, and is only getting better. The division has gotten better with all the young talent, but needs to still catch up to the Central. Standings: 1. Anaheim*; 2. San Jose*; 3. Calgary*; 4. Vancouver; 5. Los Angeles; 6. Edmonton; 7. Arizona.
I’m predicting a Washington vs. Anaheim Stanley Cup Final. I’ll take the Caps to beat the Lightning in the Eastern final, and the Ducks to finally get by the Blackhawks in the West.
My prediction for the final… Alexander Ovechkin finally becomes great and gets a Hollywood ending by winning the Cup in Anaheim in Game 6. Caps’ goalie Braden Holtby will be my Conn Smythe winner as he’ll outduel Marc-Andre Fleury, HenrikLundqvist, Ben Bishop and Andersen for the title.
As a bonus, here are some award predictions. Ovechkin will get the Hart Trophy as league MVP (He’ll also win the Ted Lindsay Trophy for MVP voted by the NHL Players Association. Price will win the Vezina Trophy for best goalie. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators will finally get his hands on his coveted Norris Trophy for top defenseman. Peter DeBoer of the San Jose Sharks will win the Jack Adams Trophy for best coach. Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres will light up crowds and take the Calder Trophy for top rookie. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks will take the Selke Trophy for best defensive center and Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars will win the Art Ross (top point-getter) and Rocket Richard (top scorer) trophies.