Saturday, October 2, 2010

NHL Preview - Western Conference - Pacific Division

The 2nd hardest division in the Western Conference is the Pacific Division.  This division has been highlighted in recent years by the top team the San Jose Sharks.  The Coyotes in PHX have been going through financial troubles, and almost moved back to Winnipeg.  The other three team in the division include the Anaheim Ducks, The Dallas Stars, and the LA Kings.  It should be an interesting year in the Pacific but it might be dominated again by the Sharks.  Lets go deeper into the Pacific:

The San Jose Sharks - The Sharks known for early exits in the playoffs, they at least won a couple of series before being swept by the champion Blackhawks.  If I was a Shark's fan I would have liked to see a little bit more fight against the 'Hawks.  The Sharks did help themselves out by signing a former 'Hawk Niemi, the goal tender that stood on his head for all of the 2010 playoffs.  The Sharks get all their star players back from last year and it should be another great campaign for San Jose this year.

The Phoenix Coyotes - The Coyotes in the wake of severe financial troubles, still made it in the playoffs last year.  There were alot of rumors going around about the state of the team, even a rumor of the team moving back to Winnipeg but it looks like the Coyotes will stay in Phoenix for a while.  They had a great year in 2010 and finished 3rd in pts in the Western Conference.  I would expect more of the same in 2010, as they improve as a team.  I think they will pose a major threat to the Sharks if they can stay healthy.

The LA Kings - They finished third in the Pacific last year and sixth in the Western Conference.  The Kings are another team that really does not have a bunch of flashy names but they have alot of talent.  They are like the Minnesota Wild but with more talent.  They are 2-1-1 in the preseason in 2010.  I think it will be hard for them to overtake the Sharks or the Coyotes but they are definitely better then the Ducks and the Stars.  This team will be able to make it back to playoffs this year, and hopefully they will get past the first round.

The Anaheim Ducks - They finished 11th in the Western Conference last year with 89 points.  The Ducks look to improve from last year and get back to the playoff level in 2010.  They are 2-4 in the preseason this year, hopefully this does not translate into a long season for the Ducks.  With all the inexperience the Ducks have they will be leaning on Hiller to have a solid year in net.  I hope they can come together this year and challenge the Sharks.  PS They need to put "Mighty" back in the name.

The Dallas Stars - In terms of points they were the best 5th place team in the NHL with 88 pts.  They also lost the face of the franchise Mike Modano to the Red Wongs.  They have been pretty decent this preseason putting up a mark of 3-2 so far.  I think the improvement continues for Dallas, hopefully they do not have a hungover from losing Modano.  The guy was with the team before the move from Minnesota, and he was there when they won the cup.  Its going to be hard to move up or down in this division though, unless one team has a rash of injuries.

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