The NHL All-Star break is upon us. It is another checkpoint in the season that is ideal to gaze into our collective crystal balls and predict how the season will turn out.
This is particularly challenging in the Western Conference, where the top six teams are within two games of one another. Adding to the difficulty, four of those teams are in the Central Division.
Translation: A single point could separate someone from a division title and a sixth seed.
Even though home ice seems to mean little in winning playoffs games, it means a lot to earn it. No team has won the Stanley Cup from lower than a fourth seed since the fifth-seeded New Jersey Devils in 1995.
So who will earn those all-important division titles out west? Who will be the other home ice team?
(Check out my companion piece on The Hockey Beat for more about the NHL Pacific Division. You can also see how these compare to my preseason predictions—though seven of the eight teams are the same, only the three division winners are in the same seeds.)