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Sports Then and Now



NHL Playoff Preview: Western Conference 6

Posted on March 23, 2010 by Scott Weldon

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks

Could this be the year the Chicago Blackhawks bring home the Stanley Cup?

The Western Conference has been the NHL’s elite conference the last couple of years, dominating the inter-conference games. The cup win by Pittsburgh and the recent development of talented teams in Washington and Philadelphia seems to suggest that perhaps that dominance is finished. Once again however the NHL’s best teams seem clustered in the west with only one or two eastern teams even capable of competing with them.

Here’s a look at how the western conference teams are shaping up going in to the playoffs.

FAVORITES:

1/Chicago Blackhawks- Chicago were pre-season cup favorites. They’ve got a depth of young talent most teams can only dream of. Their defense was led by young Olympians Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook who distinguished themselves against the best in the world. Twenty one year old Jonathon Toews was chosen the best forward and first all-star team center at the Olympics. Team-mate Patrick Kane starred on the US silver medal team. Throw in sniper Patrick Sharp, veteran Slovakian talent Marian Hossa, youngsters Bolland, Versteeg and Brouwer, power-play quarterback Brian Campbell, the resurgent Andrew Ladd, thumper Dustin Byfuglien and it’s hard to imagine this team losing to anyone.

They maintain an incredible defense giving up a mere 24.7 shots per game, two and a half shots stingier than the New Jersey Devils, who are renowned for their tight defensive game, and best in the league.   Read the rest of this entry →

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