The NHL’s new season is underway and there has been quite a change in the makeup of the league this year, most notably, the redrawing of the conference lines and moving from six divisions to only four now. The Eastern Conference is now made up of the Atlantic and the Metropolitan Divisions, and the Western Conference is made up of the Central and Pacific Divisions. Another interesting shift is the conference switch of the Detroit Red Wings and the Winnipeg Jets, the former going to the Eastern Conference and the latter to the Western. Thank goodness there wasn’t a lockout over this.
After winning Lord Stanley’s Cup last year, the Chicago Blackhawks have not been off to such a strong start this year. Needless to say, they are not going to have the same season that they did last year and are going to have to make some vital changes if they want to make another push for the cup this year.
After getting knocked out in the second round during last year’s playoffs, the San Jose Sharks have come out with teeth bared this season. They are playing like they have something to prove this season and are doing it well.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins duked it out in the Eastern Conference finals with the Bruins winning the series in only four games. These two have consistently been the teams to beat in the East with each of them being the most recent to bring the cup to the Atlantic Coast. Look for them to keep up this tradition and make their claims at the Stanley Cup again.
Coming out of the gate 0-3, the Philadelphia Flyers said goodbye to head coach, Peter Laviolette, and moved assistant coach, Craig Berube, to the helm of the team. Do not be surprised when they fail to make a serious mark on this season. A winning season would be more of a surprise than them finishing below .500.
Teams to keep an eye on this season: Toronto, Boston and Pittsburgh in the East; and St. Louis, San Jose and Colorado in the West. Look to see these guys come May.