Try to keep your obvious rooting interest out of your selection (I know it's difficult). I'll start by stating that I think the Caps are going to win the cup this year. Lots of learning experience/disappointments, playing much better defense, a stellar penalty kill, and a plethora of top line scorers. Obviously, goaltending is the BIG question mark.
I wish I could say the Penguins, but with the uncertainty around Crosby, a horrible showing in last year's tournament with the full squad, far too many wins in the shootout this season, and no Malkin it's hard to pick them even as a die hard fan.
I think Vancouver can be a really tough team to beat but the West is a gauntlet, not to mention they play the defending Stanley Cup Champs right off the bat.
Out of the East, I'm clueless. A lot banks on if Crosby returns because if he returns and can play even close to how he was earlier in the year, we could be realll tough to beat. Goaltending/defense is huge in the playoffs and ours is very healthy (knock on wood) and working extremely well.
The Flyers and Caps could be tough to beat but they have question marks, just like the Pens. Will both teams goaltending hold up? How will the Caps inexperienced defense fair? Which Alexander Semin will show up? For the Flyers, will goaltending hold up? What about if Pronger isn't at 100 percent? They are ice cold, will this be an issue?
If you put a gun to my head, I'd say this:
With Crosby, its either the Pens, Bruins or Flyers.
Wihtout Crosby, its either the Caps, Bruins or Flyers.
I think, with a healthy Pronger, that Philadelphia makes it in the East. San Jose overcomes major choking issues and makes it out West.
Then again, it's probably more likely that both teams choke in the first round... especially now that I picked them.
In all honesty, this may be one of the toughest years. In other years, you had teams like Chicago, Detroit and our Guins who had REAL good chances to win it all. You want to say that about Vancouver but there first round matchup is even hard to predict.
As much as I'ld like to say the Pens, I'm not getting my hopes up. But I am pumped about getting to watch at least one good round of playoff hockey, plus all that awaits us in the offseason. I'm very excited about next season.
The Bruins are who I'm rooting for, but Vancouver looks strong. I like the American boy Kessler. But, if the Caps or the Flyers have to win a cup, let it be this year. With the Pens being depleated, it would make one of them winning a lot easier to take.
Now that is one bold pick. I don't completely disagree with it because I live in LA and get to see them play all the time. One thing I'll say about them is that they are never out of a game. They've had one amazing comeback after another this season. They're going to be an extremely tough out.
I honestly don't really know. Usually there's one or two teams I have my eye on that could win it, but I just don't know this year.
I feel that Vancouver will get stopped, although I don't know who will stop them just yet. Chicago? Detroit? SJ? I think it's definitely going to be one of the Western teams that wins it. Wings, Sharks, Ducks, and even the Preds I would not be surprised to come out of the West (well, the Preds a little). If the Hawks can take out the Canucks they could go deep again too.
I just don't see any team in the East taking the cup this year. It will surely be one of the top 3 seeds who comes out of the East IMO though (or us with a healthy Crosby, unlikely).
Just to pick a team I'll pick Detroit. Never a bad pick.