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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

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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