The NHL is Back!

It looks as though St. Luke’s student Robert Powis’s ’14 prediction was correct. The NHL is back! After finally reaching a settlement, the players will sharpen their skates, tape their sticks, and get ready for the season. The games are set to begin on Saturday January 18th, starting off the season with the brilliant time of year when all teams believe they can win the elusive Lord Stanley Cup.

After missing over three months of games, it seemed as if an NHL season would be impossible. However, Powis remained hopeful and confident that the game he loves would return. The NHL is set to have a rare 48 game season, instead of the conventional 82. Since the number of games has almost been split in half, it only means that each one is more important than ever.

And even better is the fact that the first few games will involve some of the most heated rivalries in the sport. The Bruins will host the Rangers on the first game of the season, while the Toronto Maple Leafs will pay a visit to the despised Montreal Canadiens.

So, which teams will thrive during this shortened season? Which teams will surprisingly struggle? And who will host the Stanley Cup in late June?!?!

The NHL is back and better than ever!

A strong favorite from the Eastern Conference is the young and talented New York Rangers. The Blueshirts last year had one of their best seasons since Mark Messier led them to the Stanley Cup in the 1994-1995 season, only to lose to the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Final.

The Rangers have gained an even bigger fan base due to the acquisition of former Columbus Blue Jacket, Rich Nash. The team’s main question last year was how they would score goals, but the trade for Nash will certainly improve the Rangers offense. And of course, no one can forget the goaltending prowess of Swedish star Henrik Lundquivst. With one of the best goalies in the league and backed by a talented defense, the Rangers will certainly be the team to watch this year.

Two teams to watch in the Western Conference are the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues. The LA Kings are coming off their first Stanley Cup victory in their short history as a team and are sure to be a contender this year. Led by all-star goalie Jonathan Quick from Hamden, Connecticut, the Kings have one of the best net minders in the game. Don’t count out the Blues just yet though. After losing in the Western Conference Semifinals last year, the Blues led by Captain David Backes are looking to make a run in the postseason.

And you can’t forget about the always powerful Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chicago Blackhawks. Now that Captain Sidney Crosby is returning after a series of head injuries, the Penguins are one of the most feared teams in the league. And even without veteran goaltender Tim Thomas, who left due to personal reasons, the Bruins will still be a tough team to beat thanks to talented young stars such as Tyler Seguin.

It is still too early to predict who will take home the Stanley Cup in June. However, Powis has some thoughts, “Right now I predict the New York Rangers will beat the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in this year’s Stanley Cup.” So, we will have to wait and see if Powis’s prediction is correct and in the meantime watch the games this weekend, as each one is more important than ever.

Ben Decatur, Sports Editor

Posted by on January 18, 2013. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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