Well finally it has arrived, and as my avatar says..."Once again...its time"
Lets watch some HOCKEY!!!
Anaheim signed argueably the best FA out there this summer in Sergei Fedorov, along with Vaclav Prospal, while letting go Oates, Thomas and Kariya. I dont think the Ducks will miss Kariya offsensivly too mcuh since Prospal can put up 60+ points and Fedorov can put up the same as Kariya maybe a bit less while being better defensivly The Ducks still have Jean-Sebastien "Giggy" Giguere in net so imo wont have goaltending issues. If he can play like he did after the all-star break and into the playoff the ducks will push the stars to the limit in the game and for the division. Defensivly the ducks are going to miss Keith Carney who is out with a broken foot, but they still have stalwarts like Salei and Vishnevski, while adding tough guy Todd Simpson through the waiver line. Overall I give the Ducks a B+ overall team score. Lets see if that Disney magic can continue.
The Stars are coming off an offseason which saw the loses of their team captin Derrian Hatcher and fellow defenseman Darryl Sydor. These loses will be big loses in the dressing room imo, but they still have plenty to go around. They accuired vetren Teppo Numminen and Don Sweeney in the offseason to offset the loses of Hatcher and Sydor. Dallas probibly has the deepest forward groups out there, when you have Stu Barnes on your 4th line that says something, newcomer Antti Miettinen is here to show us what M=G has been yapping about all summer long, lets hope for his sake he's as good as G says he is :p. IMO the Stars should have a forth line consisting of Malholtra-Ott-DiMaio, but thats just me. A healthy Guerin should help as well. Turgeon has been sort of an enigma over the last two seasons, I still think he can put up big numbers, just not vs. Colorado. Turco coming off a year where he posted a 1.72!!! gaa, I highly doubt he can better that number, but he will be atround 1.90-2.00 for the season. Very good goalie.
I predict the Ducks will squeeze by with a 3-2 or 2-1 victory.
I feel alot better about playing Dallas without Hatcher there, will be a easier to generate offense without him being the big bruiser he was for Dallas. Dallas still has a very good team but without Hatcher back there, their D is less intimidating physically. Ducks will be without their rock Carney which could spell trouble for the Ducks in this one. I think it will be a good game but I think Dallas will come out on top in this one being pumped by the home crowd. Giguere ad Turco will have a good goalie battle in this one and I expect the score to be 2-1. Hopefully my prediciton is wrong. I've been waiting for hockey since June 10 and its finally back. Cant wait to see Fedorov, Prospal, and Lupul in Duck unis. GO DUCKS!
I think Dallas wins easily. They're motivated, the Ducks are without their best defenseman, and Giguere has started each of the last 3 seasons slowly (it takes him about a month or so to really get sharp).