by Patrick Hoffman on 09/20/10 at 12:00 PM ET
Justin gives us his thoughts on the upcoming season. What do you think?
PH: We know the season has yet to begin but name the eight teams from each conference that will make the playoffs.
JK: In the West:
In the East:
New York Rangers
And I’ll go ahead and lock that in as the final placement.
PH: Which team do you think will be the biggest surprise this season? Why?
JK: Toss up here. On the one side, I really think (all Leaf bias aside) that the Leafs can squeak in to a playoff spot. Coming from last in the East last year to 8th this year will take a lot of effort and will also require a healthy defensive squad.
On the other side of the coin, I think it will be interesting to see how Chicago fairs with losing so many key players from their Stanley Cup winning team. So many pieces of the puzzle has been shuffled and flipped, if they can be top in the conference, than I would be surprised.
PH: Which team do you think will be the biggest disappointment this season? Why?
JK: I think you will see Columbus be the Oilers of this year. I don’t see they have done a thing to improve.
Adding Moreau seems like a JFJ type of move. The second coming of Filatov will sure to have fans excited but his play will have to increase as will his ice time. At least with Hitchcock out as head coach, that may happen.
Steve Mason will have to erase last year and watch tape after tape of his rookie campaign, or play a bunch of NHL11 on easy to get his confidence back.
PH: Which players will have the greatest impact on their team this season? Why?
JK: Biggest impact…I’m sure you are sick of hearing his name but…Kovalchuk.
He played well during his 20 or so games at the end of the season last year and I think you will see him embrace the spot light this season and challenge for the Art Ross and the Rocket.
PH: Who do you think will be the Canucks’ next captain? Why?
JK: Sedin vs. Kessler but I don’t really care.
I would go with a Hank Sedin though as I see the twins as being life long Canucks and he is the leader on the ice in my eyes. Not sure about the locker room but I think a leader lead by example.
PH: Who do you think will be the next Habs’ captain? Why?
JK: I think it will be Gionta. I’m not a fan of the little bugger but all the silly Habs fans seem to love him.
As long as it’s not Josh Gorges I’m cool.
PH: Any other thoughts on the upcoming season?
JK: Final thoughts…just happy it is underway soon. It’s been a long drawn out summer and I’m sure many fans as well as the NHL are happy it is behind us. It’s always fun to see which rookie excels and it wouldn’t be an NHL article without mentioning Hall and Seguin so there ya go
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.