Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/30/13 at 07:04 AM ET
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
After winning the Stanley Cup in June, the Chicago Blackhawks remain the top-ranked team in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings to open the 2013-2014 NHL season, ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins -- the usual suspects.
What really works in the Blackhawks' favour this time around, as opposed to following their 2010 Stanley Cup, is that, even with a decreasing salary cap, they didn't have to gut the roster. Sure, there are some tweaks, but it's very much the same cast from last season, with a few prospects making the jump from the farm and veteran goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin returning to Chicago, giving Corey Crawford an accomplished backup.
It's not as though maintaining close to the status quo automatically grants the Blackhawks the number one ranking, but even with their questions -- that number two centre spot still looks like it needs to be addressed -- they are in the best position entering the season.
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