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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    NHL Season Comes to a Close

    With the end of the NHL’s regular season only a week ago, it’s time to reflect and make predictions.

    Western Conference.

    The Detroit Red Wings started the season really hot, and held first place for the entire season. They’re the best defensive team in the entire league, allowing the least amount of shots against and goals against throughout the entire season. The Red Wings are also the best offensive team in the Western Conference, and third overall in the NHL. They have two veteran goalies in Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood who have split time through out the entire seasons, logging records of 25-9-3 and 27-9-4, respectively.

    The San Jose Sharks, currently in second in the Conference, are 15-0-2 since the February 26th deadline. They’re the second best defensive team in the entire league and their goalie Evgeni Nabokov leads the league in games started and wins.

    Past the Red Wings and Sharks, the only other team worth mentioning is last year’s champs, the Anaheim Ducks. Since Scott Neidermayer came back from “retirement,” the Ducks have turned their season around, going from ninth place in the conference to third (in points). They have the veteran goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and are the third best defensive team in the league, led by Neidermayer and Chris Pronger.

    Prediction: the Red Wings will represent the West in the Stanley Cup Finals. They play two veteran goalies who are no strangers to the Finals, and stars such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski with the firepower to carry them to the top of the Conference.

    Eastern Conference

    The Ottawa Senators dominated the conference early on, but inconsistency at the goalie position and injuries to Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson have seemingly slowed them down and they’ve dropped to sixth in the conference.

    The New Jersey Devils had a rough start to their season, mainly because their first 9 games were on the road due to the construction of their new arena. However once they started playing home games, they turned their season around and seemed to be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference once the Senators dropped off. Yet, they’ve had a scoring drought lately and went from first to fourth in the conference, where they will likely finish the season. They have arguably the best goalie in hockey,Martin Brodeur, and have the best defense in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand they have the fifth worst offense in the entire league, and seventh worst power play in the league. Unless they have a scoring surge in the playoffs, they seem prime for an early exit.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens are currently tied for first place in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have high powered offenses; the Canadiens have the best in the league. Both made very interesting moves at the trade deadline; the Penguins gave up draft picks and some young stars to get Marion Hossa, who will be a free agent after this season. The Canadiens traded their starting goalie at the time, Cristobal Huet, who was 21-12-6 at the time, to the Washington Capitals, for a second-round draft pick. To replace Huet, the Canadiens gave 20 year-old Carey Price the job and he’s been 22-12-3 this season. At this point, the Penguins seem like the favorite to win the East because they have advantage in the Wins department.

    Like the Sharks out West, the Washington Capitals have also been successful since the Feb. 26th deadline. The Capitals have been 12-4 since the deadline, 9-2 with Cristobal Huet in the net. The additions of Sergei Federov and Matt Cooke have brought veteran leadership to help guide the Capitals into playoff contention.

    Prediction: the Eastern Conference pick is circumstantial. If the Capitals are able to come out of the Southeast division and get the third seed, they seem the team to win the East. They have the best player in hockey, Alexander Ovechkin, and have been hot lately. However, if they don’t win the Southeast, regardless if they make the playoffs as an eighth seed, they won’t win the conference.

    If Carolina wins the Southeast, then I think the New York Rangers will win the conference. They have the second best defense in hockey, and they should beat the Devils in the first round, being that they are undefeated against them this season. Although they have the sixth worst offense in hockey, they have a strong core of veterans like Jaromir Jagr, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Brendan Shanahan. They also have goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has shown he can be a superstar goalie at times, especially in big situations (2006 Winter Olympics).

    Prediction: Red Wings win the Stanley Cup, and Dominik Hasek finally retires as a champion.

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