2011 NHL Playoffs Predictions: Top 10 Pre-Playoff Questions
With the start of the 2011 NHL playoffs only a few hours away, the anticipation and excitement has reached fever pitch!
The playoffs is always a great time of year, as the play on the ice is—generally speaking—superb and the enjoyment off of it is equally spectacular. In addition, the playoffs tend to spin off a lot of story lines as the teams wage war in the trenches.
So before the puck drops tonight, I thought I'd steal out of my Hockeybuzz.com colleague's (Eric Engels) book and throw out my top 10 pre-playoff questions.
Read them, love them and post your answers in the comment section!
So here we go, in no particular order...
1: Vancouver Canucks/Chicago Blackhawks
Can the Vancouver Canucks get past their playoff nemesis—the Chicago Blackhawks—in the first round?
2: Roberto Luongo and the Canucks
Can Roberto Luongo silence his critics and lead the Canucks to the promised land?
3: Another Miracle in Montreal?
Do the Montreal Canadiens have another miracle run in them or will they be a "one-and-done" team this year?
4: Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks
Can Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks finally make a legitimate playoff run, or are they destined to be a regular-season success that fizzles in the postseason?
5: Who's the New Jaroslav Halak?
Will Pekka Rinne be this year's Jaroslav Halak? And if so, how far will he lead the Nashville Predators?
6: Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals
Are the Washington Capitals really a changed team and can their new style of play lead them to a championship this year?
7: Guy Boucher and the Tampa Bay Lightning
Can and will Guy Boucher's turnaround of the Tampa Bay Lightning continue in the postseason, or will the cracks start to show?
8: Chris Pronger and the Philadelphia Flyers
Is the loss of Chris Pronger too much for the Philadelphia Flyers to overcome?
9: A Repeat for the Chicago Blackhawks?
Can the Chicago Blackhawks—minus Dustin Byfulgien, Andrew Ladd and others—repeat after backing into the playoffs?
10: Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins
Can Pittsburgh get it done without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby?