Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hockeyrama Season Predictions, sponsored by Reebok

The playing field is even this year, as every team introduces the new RBK Edge uniform system. To honor this great achievement in hockey technology, Hockeyrama has made it's predictions for the 07-08 season using only new jerseys as the criteria to evaluate the 30 NHL teams.

So with no further adieu, here's a division by division breakdown:


Atlantic Division

New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins
Philadelphia Flyers
New York Islanders

The Atlantic is anyone's race, well, except the Islanders. No one really hit a home run. While the curved hem makes the Rangers look like they forgot to tuck in their jerseys, for better or for worse they did their best to maintain their classic look. That will help them eke out a division title if they don't get to distracted by the Pens oversized '250' shoulder patch or the construction sign orange shoulders of the Flyers' road Jersey.

Northeast Division
Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators
Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs

There's really only two teams contending in the Northeast: Montreal and Buffalo. A battle of the new and old guard, if you will. The Canadiens are perhaps the only Original Six team to come out of the redesign unscathed. They should make quick work of their other division rivals. The Sabres, on the other hand, will be another story. We all made fun of these young guns last year when they introduced the Buffaslug, but they were building for the future. Turns out Buffalo was wearing the RBK Edge jerseys the whole time right under our nose.

Southeast Division
Washington Capitals
Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina Hurricanes
Atlanta Thrashers
Florida Panthers

Dispelling the notion "you're not always as good as you look", the Capitals are Hockeyrama's pick to win the Cup. Washington went retro this year and came up with something more Ovechkin's style. The flashy Caps will roll over their Southeast rivals before commencing the pose-off which is the Stanley Cup playoffs. And this team will have no trouble turning left.


Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Nashville Predators
Columbus Blue Jackets
St. Louis Blues

Fortunately, Wirtz was too cheap to mess with a good thing. and so the Blackhawks' uniforms - like their Original Six counterparts - remain unchanged. That's enough to edge Chicago past the Red Wings, who employed the same strategy going into the new season. The rest of the Central will put on an admirable show but ultimately succumb to old school chic.

Northwest Division
Calgary Flames
Minnesota Wild
Edmonton Oilers
Colorado Avalance
Vancouver Canucks

It's a two-horse race in the Northwest: the tough, bold look of the look of Flames vs. the well-executed but identity-less Wild. Carried by the Canadian flags affixed to their shoulders, Calgary will take the division and claw their way to the Stanley Cup final. But as if to simply prove the '94 Rangers were a fluke, the Flames will ultimately fall to the Washington Captials, leaving only 23 more teams to try their luck with Iron Mike.

Pacific Division
Anaheim Ducks
Dallas Stars
Phoenix Coyotes
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks

With a new look last year, the Ducks brought home their first Stanley Cup. In order to repeat, they'll need to adapt to the changes a new season brings without messing up their recipe for success. So far so good. Their new Reebok rags almost mask the fact they're dropping the puck this year without Niedermayer or Selanne. Anaheim's biggest competition in the Pacific will be the Stars, who bucked convention by putting "Dallas" across their home jerseys. The Coyotes and Kings haven't done much to improve themselves this season, but a few easy points over the Sharks, who went from the coolest Jerseys in the league to college cast-offs, should help.

Special thanks to the NHL Tournament of Logos photo gallery.

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