TSN’s hockey experts, as they refer to them, weighed in on their Stanley Cup favorites (or favourites, as it were). Ready?
Question #1: The playoffs open one month from now. Who is your current Stanley Cup favourite: Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Washington, or Vancouver?
Pierre McGuire: They’re all good, but I take the Pittsburgh Penguins. The major reason why: they’re the defending Stanley Cup champions. They’ve got Sidney Crosby in the prime of his career, and Evgeni Malkin, last year’s Conn Smythe trophy winner. The additions at the trade deadline – Alex Ponikarovsky and Jordan Leopold, and this is a team that understands winning and their coaching staff is calm, cool, and collected. That’s why I think Pittsburgh.
Craig MacTavish: Vancouver – they are one energized team. I saw them play two games last week – they are energized, they have everybody jumping on the play, they have got great goaltending, and they have got a great opportunity this year.
Bob McKenzie: I will say the Pittsburgh Penguins, although I did have second thoughts when I saw the New Jersey Devils handle them again on Wednesday (so maybe the pick should be New Jersey). I’ll stick with the Penguins for many of the same reasons that Pierre outlined. The ability to elevate their play and to draw on the experience of winning it last year.
No real surprises here; of course they’re going to opt for the safe choice, though the Vancouver pick is an interesting one. I could see them going deep into the playoffs, but winning the Cup this year? I don’t know. Frankly, I’m surprised none of them went outside the question and chose Detroit; even though they’re barely hanging on to a playoff spot, they’re Detroit. Let’s hope all three of them are wrong.