Well, it’s been too long but today the NHL season is finally back and much like every other season, I’m overly confident my Boston Bruins will be taking home the Stanley cup at the end of the season.
But before I tell you why the Bruins will lifting the Cup, we have to introduce you to the newest franchise in the NHL, the Seattle Kraken. I’ve long been saying that the city of Seattle needed another professional sporting team to partner the Seahawks and the Mariners since the Supersonics were moved to Oklahoma City. No, the Seattle Sounders don’t count, there trash. If I was a newbie to the NHL or was just thinking of getting into the sport, the Kraken are the perfect team to get in on from the start.
Not only do they have a kick ass name, a great Barn as we say in hockey, but their jerseys and colour are perfect and easy on the eyes. The new franchise and those in charge of it have made all the right moves both on and off the ice. If your hesitant about jumping on the Kraken bandwagon because you fear they’ll be the whipping boy of the League this season, we already have one of those in the Buffalo Sabres, and if history is anything to go by, they have every chance of a playoff season. The last expansion team to join the League, The Las Vegas Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and were only beaten by the Washington Capitals who were on there own team of destiny journey. And since then, the Knights have made the playoffs every season. So, success on the ice is very probable.
But now let’s get into the contenders and the pretenders. Defending Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning look strong again and will be pushing hard to make it a 3-peat this season. It is really annoying having a team in the same conference as them, but I have a good feeling about our chances this season. With the league switching back to the traditional divisions and conferences this season I’m ready for more games against the Canadiens, Leaf’s and more tests against Tampa to prepare us for the Eastern Conference finals.
When I look at the Metropolitan Division, I honestly only see 2 contenders. Last season’s semi-surprise packets the Carolina Hurricanes will without a doubt be in the mix for the ECF. Any team with Johnny Gaudreau scoring and assisting on their top line and the depth across the top 3 lines, they will be a tough team, especially on home ice. Along with the Canes, the Islanders will be another contender. Despite there lucky playoff win against the Bruins in last seasons playoffs. There roster is stacked and when they play on home ice the atmosphere is as intimidating as they get in the NHL. And for me I can’t help but wonder how Bruins Legend and ex captain Zdeno Chara will play and how he can help them. If he can sure up their defence and take them into the playoffs, I only hope he doesn’t help them knock the Bruins out again this season.
On the Western side of the draw there are plenty of potential contenders, but can they really put there hand up and become legitimate contenders.
In the Pacific division the Oilers lead by possibly the greatest player to ever do it Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl they have a team that can outscore almost any team in the league. And let’s face it, the Oilers for as long as they’ve had McDavid have underperformed and its good to see they have finally built a team around him that make them legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. Vegas are another good team that since joining the League they’ve never missed the playoffs and always have the potential to have a deep run. Their attack is deadly when they get hot and can score from anywhere on the ice, and defensively they can shut down the best lines in the league. Its gunna be a great 1st game for the Golden Knights as they take on new boys the Seattle Kraken and I for one will not be missing that. The Kraken have everything needed to be a successful franchise in the NHL. A passionate City behind them, and a roster developed to be competitive from the start, all eyes will be on Vegas when as the two newest franchises do battle. I don’t wanna go off early but I’m saying they will be in the playoffs and will start the season with a win over Vegas.
In the Central division there are 3 main contenders for me, The Jets, Preds and Blues with an outside chance for the Coyotes. The Yotes were good last season and unlucky to miss out on the playoffs. Maybe its just my love of the Spittin Chiclet’s podcast and Paul Bissonnette that makes me hope they can make the playoffs. The Jets and Preds are probably 1 and 2 for me in the Central and probably in that order in the Western Conference. Both teams had a great season last time out and I fully expect them to be hugely competitive.
Despite the strength of the Western Conference, I still firmly believe the Stanley Cup Champions will come from the Eastern Conference. Tampa, Boston, The Isles and maybe even the Florida Panthers will be the strongest contenders this season. And while I know the Lightning are a juggernaut, Lightning rarely strikes twice let alone three times, so its time for the Bruins to take back their rightful place at the top of the NHL and bring Lord Stanley home to Boston.
All I can say to finish this blog is “Cue the Duck boats”