Despite the growing chance we won't see hockey for a while, The Hockey News today posted its regular season predictions. The boys at THN picked Pittsburgh to finish first in the Eastern Conference.
Here's what THN said to back their pick:
Critics take note: the Pens finished one point out of first overall…and Sidney Crosby played all of 22 games. Yes, we know Jordan Staal is gone, but Brandon Sutter slots in beautifully on the third line. Keep in mind, too, that GM Ray Shero has almost $10 million in cap space to play with to upgrade the flanks and the ‘D.’ The Flyers may be in their heads, but the rest of the league is in their wake in terms of talent.I like their enthusiasm. You have to still question how Crosby doesn't have a top winger on his line yet, whether Brandon Sutter will in fact replace Jordan Staal, and how dismal the Pens defense looked to finish the year. But like they say, it's hard not to pick a team with the best player in the world only playing a quarter of a season and still finished a point out of first place.
THN slotted the Flyers in 5th, Rangers 4th, Capitals 3rd and the Hurricanes 9th. View the entire article and list for the Eastern and Western Conference here.
It's just a prediction folks, but we'll take it. Go Pens.