Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
*These are my previews for every NHL division and my predictions of what lies ahead for all five teams of all six divvies in this shortened, 48-game regular season. I intend to keep each team’s summary to two sentences or less. Not because I’m succinct or concise, but because I’m tired and lazy and I don’t want to write very much.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Stanley Cup engraver dude is already sharpening his tools.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have to play second fiddle to the Penguins. Their whole reason to live is their desire to screw over Sidney Crosby.
New York Rangers: Manhattan houses one of Las Vegas’s favourite franchises. The Rangers added Rick Nash to a roster that catapulted the hapless Rangers to the top of the Eastern Conference in 2012, and they’ve grown together as a unit that also includes one of the top two goaltenders in the world.
New York Islanders: Everyone who says this sounds like a Voodoo witch trying to jinx the Islanders, but they could actually be decent this year. John Tavares hit a point-per-game in 2012, and his team actually seems motivated to play behind him — and for him.
New Jersey Devils: The defending Eastern Conference champions lost their top all-around forward to a very trigger-happy Minnesota Wild squad in the offseason, and it’s hard to imagine them coming anywhere close to where they were not even 12 months ago.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. New York Rangers
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. New York Islanders
5. New Jersey Devils
If any team deserves to become the feel-good story of this financially stapled 48-game season, it’s the New York Islanders. They deserve every bit of good karma that could possibly come their way, especially since owner Charles Wang seems content to bury his own investment.
Sorry, that was all about the Islanders… Pittsburgh will be good, too, but the Rangers should be considered the deepest team in hockey and, therefore, the favourite to win the Stanley Cup.