Well, I cheated a little and watched the first three nights of
the playoffs before making predictions. But these are a little
different: I'm picking the 8 teams that I feel have no chance
of winning the Cup. These teams may advance 1, 2 or maybe
even three rounds, but when the Cup is engraved, none of these
boys will appear. Listed in order from worst to best.
Chicago Blackhawks: 2 years ago I thought this team had a legit
chance at the Cup. Now, they're struggling for an identity at
the worst possible time. Hackett could stand on his head and
it won't matter. Daze has been disappointing, and the losses
of Roenick, Murphy, and Nicholls have killed them.
Ottawa Senators: The popular upset pick amongst many on RSH,
the Senators are young, but the lack of a consistent defense
and the fact they are facing Hasek spells doom for a team that
will contend in the future.
Montreal Canadiens: This team can score, score, and score some
more. But offense comes at a price, and the Habs have not paid
the piper. Their defense is weak, and Thibault has yet to emerge
as even a shadow of his predecessor. They're young, but they
need to get better defensively.
Phoenix Coyotes: Roenick, Tkachuk, Tverdovsky, Khabibulin make
this team seem like they should be tough. I don't know why it
hasn't materialized. Khabibulin has not had the greatest year (after
he looked ready to emerge as the next great goalie after last year's
playoffs) and Roenick still doesn't seem 100% offensively. They're
another young and rising team, but they haven't arrived yet.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim: Yeah, I know: Selanne and Kariya. This
team is dangerous enough to knock you right out of the playoffs,
and Selanne is the best offensive player in the NHL (once Mario
is retired) but one line is never enough. Colorado, Dallas, New
Jersey, and any other team that can shut down one line will beat
this team easily.
New York Rangers: They had a better year than I figured they would,
but it just isn't enough. Lack of solid defense and injuries have
this team a chance at the Cup. But you never want to play them......
Edmonton Oilers: Though they won't win it all, every game this team
plays is a stepping-stone to returning playoff glory to Edmonton.
Tons of offensive talent, a solid goaltender, and a strong work
ethic could conceivably get this team to the West Finals. But no
St. Louis Blues: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Blues have got about 100 different directions in terms of
in the past few years, yet they continue to have no shot at the Cup.
They could win one round, but never two (happening only once in the
last 26 years). Now that their defen*** haev improved, their
is lack of consistent goal-scoring and few defensive forwards. Didn't
seem to be a problem in years past.
The Rest? I think they all have a shot, though Philly, New Jersey and
Colorado are the clear favorites. A hot goalie (Beezer, Moog, etc.) could
change all that. Pittsburgh, Detroit, Dallas and Buffalo would be
to me if they won it, but they certainly have a chance.
New Jersey Devils - 1995 Stanley Cup Champions!
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