from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
The NHL regular season ends in a little more than three months, with the Olympics, trade deadline and general managers meetings happening beforehand.
Here are 10 predictions on what will happen:
- Blues win Presidents' Trophy: You have to admire how sharp the Anaheim Ducks have been lately, but the St. Louis Blues' team defense might carry them to No. 1 overall in the regular season. Their offense remains strong, even with leading goal-scorer Alexander Steen out with a concussion. The Chicago Blackhawks also are in the mix.
- Americans win medal: Russia and Canada are considered the teams to beat in Sochi, and Sweden is sneaky good. But goaltending, dependable defense and Chicago's Patrick Kane will lead the USA to a bronze.
- Playoff positions: Although the Atlantic Division looked like it would boast both of the wild-card teams, Metropolitan Division teams have narrowed the gap. It seems far more possible now that each division will boast one wild-card qualifier.
read on for the other 7 predicitions...