If Sid comes back I don't know how you don't pick the penguins. They won 12 in a row without Staal, Neal, or kovalev. They are the best structured team in the league. If Sid doesnt come back, I don't think this team can win it all. Sid is coming back, the question is can the pens survive that long?
I love watching San Jose, mostly because their announcers, but I fear they'll lose 1-2 games because they completely turtle when up a goal or two. The Phoenix game was case and point. They looked the part for forty minutes then just stopped playing to protect their lead. If it wasn't for outstanding play by Niemi, they would have lost.
Vancouver looks great. Anaheim is coming on strong but relies on 1 line.
The two complete teams honestly look like Washington and Vancouver. They look the part. They act the part. I think they pull it off. Vancouver wins it in 6.
IF both make it that far, I agree Vancouver would take it. Vancouver's biggest obstacle is in round 1. If they can get over the mental hurdle of the Blackhawks, they have a very good chance to make it to the Final. Washington OTOH has two other teams at the very least who could potentially hand them a defeat without going 7 (Philly and Boston). Unlike last year I don't think there's any chance Montreal beats Washington if they happen to meet because Washington is better defensively than they were. Better able to play grind-em-down type of series.
Alot of injuries are affecting what I think.
Sid for the Pens obviously can affect an entire bracket.
Pronger for the Flyers, who I imagine will already have problems figuring out whos in net again.
I was thinking Vancouver was the new sure thing, but Malhotra is a big loss. Kesler will have to play tougher minutes again while providing offense and being the net guy on the PP. Also that second line has struggled at times to find chemistry and with Sammuelsson and Raymond going into slumps. Whos thier third center now, Hodgson?
Also did they ever get all thier Dmen back from injury? Bieska and Salo? Plus Hamhuis and Ballard seem to take turns being healthy.
If Hiller had been healthy all that time Id pick them to make a run, as it stands now I could see them getting knocked out by Nashville. The Ducks really depend on 4 guys for offense.
Then 3, 4, 5 of the better offensive teams have goaltending issues.