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Sports Then and Now



Here Comes Hockey Season: Western Conference Preview 8

Posted on September 20, 2009 by Scott Weldon
It is almost time to start the annual quest for the Stanley Cup.

It is almost time to start the annual quest for the Stanley Cup.

The shortest off-season in professional sports is over. The NHL season is ready to begin again and most of the teams have made huge changes in an attempt to make the playoffs and challenge for the Stanley Cup in 2009-10. Here’s a quick look at the teams in the order they finished the regular season in their conferences and how I expect them to do this year and why.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. San Jose Sharks (5) – San Jose won the tough Pacific division and the President’s trophy as the leading team in NHL regular season last year. Then they were handled by a more talented eighth place Anaheim team losing their first round playoff series in six games.

San Jose has been an early season Stanley Cup favorite for years now and they started paying their players as if they’d already won a cup. As a result San Jose has huge cap problems this year. They had arguably the best defense in hockey last year giving up a league low 27.2 shots per game.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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