NHL Predictions 2012: Who Will Win the Cup? and Initial 2011-12 Power Rankings

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NHL Predictions 2012: Who Will Win the Cup? and Initial 2011-12 Power Rankings
Elsa/Getty Images

The NHL season has begun with tragedy—the death of three enforcers; concern—Sidney Crosby’s injury; and rebirth—the reincarnation of the Winnipeg Jets (the second Atlanta team to go north of the border).

Reebok is no longer a symbol on the back of a player’s jersey and Brendan Shanahan has begun is reign as the head disciplinarian by slapping major fines and suspensions in the preseason.

It should be a fun year.

Before I get to the power rankings, let me give you my Stanley Cup prediction:

  • Eastern Conference Finals: Pittsburgh over Washington
  • Western Conference Finals: Nashville over Vancouver

Pittsburgh, assuming Crosby returns fine and the rest of the team stays healthy, should be back in the finals.

They’ve had success against the Washington Capitals, who are usually picked to win it all in the preseason and, well, never have.

It’ll be another year of heartbreak in Vancouver, a team that’s capable of winning it all.

However, the Predators are under the radar (as always), but are in an upswing.

Last year Nashville made the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years and got to the second round for the first time in franchise history.

They will not be overwhelmed by the Canucks like they were last year, and sound defense, in the end, will get them to the finals.

Prediction: Nashville Predators in seven.

This week, rankings are based off of preseason projections more than recent results.

In the future, more emphasis will be placed on games played that week.

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