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2011/2012 Season Preview: The Eastern Conference


Tonight the puck drops on the 2011/2012 NHL season as the defending champion Boston Bruins take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Not willing to sit on the bench as every other dang NHL website puts their predictions out there, Black & Blue & Gold’s three amigos are ready to share their picks with the hockey world! After the jump, check out our cockamamie Prince of Wales Conference predictions!

1). Washington
2). Philadelphia
3). Montreal
4). Buffalo
5). Pittsburgh
6). Tampa Bay
7). Boston
8). New York Rangers
9). Carolina
10). Toronto
11). New York Islanders
12). Winnipeg
13). Florida
14). New Jersey
15). Ottawa

My pick for the Eastern Conference champion is easy – the re-tooled, newly-fortified Washington Capitals. I still believe the Philadelphia Flyers are good enough to win their division and I think the Montreal Canadiens are underrated to the point of dismissal. #4, #5, and #6 were pretty easy to pick, too. Boston at #7 makes sense to me – is Tim Thomas really going to have another historic season? I originally wanted to put Toronto in the 8th spot, but the season hasn’t even begun yet and their center depth is plagued by injuries.

1). Washington
2). Pittsburgh
3). Buffalo
4). Philadelphia
5). Tampa Bay
6). Boston
7). New York Rangers
8). Toronto
9). Montreal
10). Carolina
11). Florida
12). New York Islanders
13). New Jersey
14). Winnipeg
15). Ottawa

To me, #1-3 were pretty easy along with #15. Beyond that, there are so many questions. Will Martin Brodeur and Dwayne Roloson show their age? (Saying yes, and partially.) Will massive changes in personnel in Philadelphia and Florida net positive results? (No, but they won’t be damning either.) Did Toronto improve their team enough that a good season by Reimer will get them into the playoffs? (Going with the Leafs on this one.) Can the Islanders put together a solid full season if everyone stays healthy? (Possibly.) Will everyone stay healthy? (No.) I think #4-7 shouldn’t have too much trouble getting into the playoffs, barring major catastrophes, after that it wouldn’t surprise me to see anyone from #8-#13 fighting for the bottom spot.

1). Pittsburgh
2). Washington
3). Boston
4). Buffalo
5). NY Rangers
6). Tampa Bay
7). Philadelphia
8). Montreal
9). NY Islanders
10). Carolina
11). New Jersey
12). Winnipeg
13). Toronto
14). Florida
15). Ottawa

Are the Sabres ready to join the ranks of favorites for the Stanley Cup? You may have heard — excitement for the season here is through the roof. The defense on paper is improved, which should help Ryan Miller. They also appear to have A LOT of guys with the potential to score 20+ goals. Will it take a while for the team to find its legs? Boston is bringing just about its entire Cup winning roster back. Pittsburgh was without Crosby and Malkin for extended stretches last season, yet still finished just 1 point out of 1st in the conference. The team in front of them? Washington, still with loads of fire power, and now with some defensive pride that they learned last year. All provided tough matchups to Buffalo last year.


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