There has been a ton of hype over the last few days from hockey fans and media on the 2011 NHL season just days away. I have seen too many preview shows and read too many analysis’s predictions, so I decided to post who I think is the favourite to win it all. First I checked to see who other NHL experts picked to win it all:
- NHL.com predicted the Detroit Red Wings to defeat the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals
- The Hockey News looked into their crystal ball and saw Henrik Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks lifting Lord Stanley
- Hockey nut, Pierre McGuire said that the Detroit Red Wings will win another Stanley Cup over the Pittsburgh Penguins
- James Duthie predicted John Toews to once again lift the Stanley Cup, beating out Philly once again
- Sportsnet analysis’s Darren Millard and Mike Brophy both picked the Washington to win it all, meanwhile Doug Mclean picked the Nucks and Nick Kypreos picked Pittsburgh
So with all the rumours and speculation from around the league, I have picked the Vancouver Canucks to win it all. Yes the Vancouver Canucks. On paper Mike Gillis and the Canuck management has put together the best team in the league.
But why the Canucks? : It has been 40 years since the Vancouver Canucks have entered the National Hockey League and through those 40 years the Canucks have been cup-less. The city is desperate for a winner. Well Vancouver finally has a team. The Sedin’s have ripped apart other teams defence and have given goalies a sore neck from looking in the back of the net. Luongo is one of the best goalies in the league and has backstopped team Canada in the 2010 Olympics that won the gold medal. Luongo has come into training camp determined to win and shredded some pounds for easier side to side movement. Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard were brought in this offseason adding onto a defence core that already contains Elder, Ehrhoff, Bieksa, and Salo. Gillis did an amazing job at improving the blueline without giving up too many picks and prospects. Also the depth up front is strong. Burrows, Samuelsson, Kesler, Raymond, and Torres all can provide secondary scoring for the Sedin twins.
The thing that gives me the most hope is that Vancouver has been knocked out of the playoffs for two straight seasons and underachieved both years, and the team has taken it personally. The Canucks were pissed off for being knocked out of post-season play in the second round against the ‘Hawks. Vancouver is now on a mission to prove to the rest of the league and themselves that they can win in the playoffs. Luongo lead by example by gave up his captaincy and has focus on improving all offseason, not taking the recent failures lightly. With all the adversity, I believe has brought the team together and made them even stronger building up to this year. Things are starting to fall in place for the Canucks and it is a do or die year for the Nuckleheads.
It was a tough decision for me to pick the Canucks, as I think that the Penguins are a threat to take home the Stanley Cup. We all know how good the Penguins offence is, improving defence, and Flower is bound to play better this season. Crosby and Penguins are a close second in my books.
It is early to pick anyone to win the Stanley Cup and a lot can change between now and June. Let’s sit back and have fun seeing on how things will play out.