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Top 10 contenders for Stanley Cup Top 10 contenders for Stanley Cup /nhl/lists/top-stanley-cup-contenders-100113 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/10/01/100113-NHL-Blackhawks-Shaw-PI-HF_20131001180839436_136_102.JPG
Biggest choke jobs in sports Infamous chokers gallery /nhl/lists/Infamous-sports-chokers http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/26/New-Zealand-sailing-fan_20130926040909882_136_102.JPG
Who has the FOXiest fans? Take a look at the FOXiest fans in hockey. /nhl/lists/FOXiest-female-hockey-NHL-fans-092612 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-3-NHL-foxiest-kings-OB-G_20130308185330431_136_102.JPG
Stanley Cup Final expert picks Stanley Cup Final expert picks: Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Boston Bruins in an Original Six Series. Who will win? /nhl/lists/stanley-cup-expert-predictions-chicago-blackhawks-boston-bruins-061113 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/11/PI_20130611222922662_136_102.JPG
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NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045807 Counting down the East Counting+down+the+East NHL

It's that time of year when everything is put on the line and prognostications are made for the upcoming season.

In keeping with a THN tradition, we have already debated the merits of each organization and after much back-and-forth, settled on our rankings from 1-15 in each conference.

Here's the East.

— The Hockey News

Jamie Sabau - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-GalleryIntro-JW_20100914202207_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-GalleryIntro-JW_20100914202207_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045499 Washington Capitals Washington+Capitals NHL

Why: The Capitals stayed quiet in the summer but will see a few promotions from within. John Carlson will stay with the team full-time and Karl Alzner also has a very real chance of sticking on the blueline. The departure of Jose Theodore was expected and little cause for concern despite his 30-7-7 record. Semyon Varlamov showed he’s capable of handling a big-league load, while 2009 Calder Cup playoffs MVP and back-to-back champion Michal Neuvirth will look for split duty. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will be in the running for a few awards and the Capitals, who ran away with the East by 18 points last season, may very well dominate in the same fashion. Once playoff season rolls in, however, the team will be looking for redemption.

— The Hockey News

Richard Wolowicz - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery15-JW_20100914201201_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery15-JW_20100914201201_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045498 Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh+Penguins NHL

Why: Who needs team depth when you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal down the middle of your lineup? The Penguins have grown accustomed to relying on those three to carry the load, while filling in winger holes through deadline deals or cheap free agent pickups. The Penguins bolstered their defense with Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek after a failed attempt to sign Dan Hamhuis. For a team that makes its name on offense, it might be surprising to some they had the sixth-lowest shots-against per game in 2009-10. After back-to-back Stanley Cup final appearances, Pittsburgh fell short last season, but you can’t win it every year and the Penguins are as prepared as ever to take another run.

— The Hockey News

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NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045496 Boston Bruins Boston+Bruins NHL

Why: The Bruins made an early splash in the summer when they acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida a few days before the entry draft. Coming off a league-worst year offensively, they were trying to create a spark. David Krejci had a 21-point regression, while catalyst Marc Savard missed half the year due to injury. But the Bruins got incredible goaltending from Tuukka Rask, who ended the season with the league’s best save percentage. With a few weeks to go until the new season, Boston is over the cap by more than $3 million, so some roster manipulation is still to come. However, the Bruins have been emerging as a powerhouse for a couple years and are only two years removed from a 116-point season. While they’ll be hard-pressed to capture that magic again, Boston is still a team to be reckoned with.

— The Hockey News

Elsa - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery13-JW_20100914201201_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery13-JW_20100914201201_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045497 Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia+Flyers NHL

Why: Fresh off a trip to the Stanley Cup finals, the Flyers aren’t going anywhere in 2010-11 and actually  improve on their regular-season standing. The defense, which was in the top five in the league last season, is still intact and was bolstered at the bottom by the acquisitions of Andrej Meszaros and Sean O’Donnell. Where the Flyers really shine, though, is up front, where a deep collection of skaters can wear down most teams. Simon Gagne was traded in a salary-dumping move that had to be made because of the cap and could be made because of their depth. Nikolai Zherdev was brought back from Russia, but expectations for what he’ll bring are tepid. The real question remains in goal where Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher will again try and piece together a winning season.

— The Hockey News

Len Redkoles/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery12-JW_20100914201201_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery12-JW_20100914201201_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045592 New Jersey Devils New+Jersey+Devils NHL

Why: Aside from the Ilya Kovalchuk-sized elephant in the room, the New Jersey Devils bolstered their lineup with experienced depth off the free agent market and through trade. Jason Arnott, a one-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils, was acquired from Nashville for futures and will provide New Jersey with a big body down the middle. Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov, the most highly touted defensive specialist on the market, were added to a defense corps that allowed the second-fewest shots against last season. In Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner, Travis Zajac and perhaps Kovalchuk, the Devils know exactly what they’re getting and will continue to be the force they always are. Martin Brodeur is aging, but still has a few more good years left.

— The Hockey News

Gregg Forwerck/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery11-JW_20100914201201_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery11-JW_20100914201201_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045591 Buffalo Sabres Buffalo+Sabres NHL

Why: Where this team ultimately finishes clearly depends on goaltender Ryan Miller. When the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is healthy, the Sabres are lethal; when he’s out of the lineup, well, the Sabres struggle to maintain a place in the top eight. Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder were the noteworthy losses in the offseason, though free agent signee Jordan Leopold should replace at least some of Lydman’s offense and Shaone Morrisonn should step in nicely for Tallinder. Rob Niedermayer was brought in to provide some depth on the forward lines, but it’s the headliners Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Derek Roy who need to find their production from a few years ago. Also, if Tyler Ennis can continue what was a promising performance at the end of the season and in the playoffs, Buffalo will have another source of offense.

— The Hockey News

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NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045494 Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa+Bay+Lightning NHL

Why: There’s finally a feeling of stability in Tampa Bay with a new owner (Jeffrey Vinik) and GM (Steve Yzerman). With that came offseason movement in the right direction. Simon Gagne was acquired from a salary-dumping Flyers team for little more than Matt Walker, whose place on the blueline was easily filled by free agent acquisitions Brett Clark and Pavel Kubina. Dan Ellis was brought in to secure a goaltending tandem with Mike Smith. Not to mention the coaching staff overhaul, led by new head coach Guy Boucher, who comes from the American League’s Hamilton Bulldogs and is regarded as player-friendly. Combine those changes with the established (Lecavalier, St. Louis) and still blossoming (Stamkos, Hedman) talents already on the roster and Tampa Bay, on paper, is dangerous.

— The Hockey News

Scott Audette/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery9-JW_20100914201000_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery9-JW_20100914201000_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045685 Montreal Canadiens Montreal+Canadiens NHL

Why: The biggest news from Montreal this summer was the trade of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak. The move indicated the club is going all-in with Carey Price as the No. 1 starter and Price, who is as yet unsigned, has many doubters in the city to prove something to. After the Habs’ miraculous run to the Eastern Conference final, it’s easy to forget how close they came to missing the postseason altogether. A small team with plenty of pizzazz, the Habs didn’t get any bigger, but added some gritty depth in Dustin Boyd. Nothing about them screams improvement, so they slot right in where they finished last season.

— The Hockey News

Francois Lacasse/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery8-JW_20100914201000_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery8-JW_20100914201000_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045495 Carolina Hurricanes Carolina+Hurricanes NHL

Why: The Hurricanes won only five of their first 27 games last season, putting them behind the eight ball right off the bat. The team turned it around from there, but was too far back to ever make a real go at the playoffs. Rod Brind’Amour retired and Ray Whitney signed on in Phoenix, so it’s the beginning of a new age in Carolina. Defensive prospect Bobby Sanguinetti was acquired from the Rangers and Joe Corvo was brought back for another tour of duty on this underrated defense corps. A point of contention in the THN offices, the Canes couldn’t convince enough staffers of their legitimacy, so they are hanging on the edge of the postseason in our predictions.

— The Hockey News

Gregg Forwerck/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery7-JW_20100914200959_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery7-JW_20100914200959_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045590 Ottawa Senators Ottawa+Senators NHL

Why: Unrestricted free agency cost the Senators a tough-as-nails defensive defenseman, but they gained one of the best, albeit aging, puckmoving blueliners in the game. Sergei Gonchar was brought in to help out the league’s 21st-ranked power play next to youngster Erik Karlsson. Without any other offseason moves to address a shaky situation in goal, however, it will be a touch-and-go year in Canada’s capital. Without an extravagant 11-game winning streak in 2009-10, the Sens wouldn’t have finished as high as they did and a run like that can’t be expected again.

— The Hockey News

Gregory Shamus/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery6-JW_20100914200959_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery6-JW_20100914200959_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045645 Atlanta Thrashers Atlanta+Thrashers NHL

Why: With a new GM (Rick Dudley) and coach (Craig Ramsay) in place, the Thrashers are remodeling the team in a new direction in hopes it’ll get them back to the playoffs. While the addition of Chris Mason as goalie is an upgrade over Kari Lehtonen and Brent Sopel and Dustin Byfuglien bring a winning pedigree, Atlanta lost a few pieces they’ll miss. Pavel Kubina’s offense from the blueline could only possibly be filled by Zach Bogosian if he can continue his ascension and, say what you will about Maxim Afinogenov’s drive, he still put up 61 points last season. The Thrashers finished a distant second in the division last year and since they didn’t make any real significant upgrades, they’ll be in tough to leapfrog other teams that did.

— The Hockey News

Scott Cunningham/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery5-JW_20100914200745_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery5-JW_20100914200745_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045587 Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto+Maple+Leafs NHL

Why: The Maple Leafs struggled through 2009-10 with shoddy goaltending and only enough offense to outscore four teams in the league. The acquisitions Colby Armstrong and, especially, Kris Versteeg were made with an eye on correcting the offensive deficiencies, but neither has proven so far to be much more than a 20-goal scorer. A full year with the tandem of Jonas Gustavsson and J-S Giguere in net can’t hurt and the deep defense is bound to bounce back, but the Maple Leafs are still a few moves away from getting back to the playoffs.

— The Hockey News

Graig Abel/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery4-JW_20100914200745_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery4-JW_20100914200745_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045588 New York Rangers New+York+Rangers NHL

Why: Missing the playoffs on the last day of the regular season must still be stinging the Rangers and it won’t help we’ve slotted them in at unlucky No. 13 for 2010-11. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is about the only reason the Rangers are still afloat and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes Marian Gaborik will make it through another season untouched by injury.

— The Hockey News

Jim McIsaac - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery3-JW_20100914200745_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery3-JW_20100914200745_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045489 New York Islanders New+York+Islanders NHL

Why: When your highest paid player is playing in the Kontinental League, you know your team isn’t a Stanley Cup contender. Alexei Yashin will make $4.75 million against the salary cap in 2010-11 and Rick DiPietro, who played only eight games last season, weighs in at $4.5 million. John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and the rest of the kids will take another step forward, but there are still too many holes in the depth chart for the whole team to take a leap.

— The Hockey News

Mike Stobe/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery2-JW_20100914200745_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery2-JW_20100914200745_70_70.JPG
NHL 142 43 Eastern Conference predictions 12045490 Florida Panthers Florida+Panthers NHL

Why: With GM Dale Tallon at the helm it's a new era in Florida. The Panthers have seen Nathan Horton and Keith Ballard moved for younger pieces and the team also had three picks in the first round of the draft. Of course, while this means the team is headed in the right direction, it also means it'll be a long, losing season with probably many more moves in store.

— The Hockey News

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery1-JW_20100914200745_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/09/14/091410-NHL-Gallery1-JW_20100914200745_70_70.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/10/01/100113-NHL-Blackhawks-Shaw-PI-HF_20131001180839436_136_102.JPG Top 10 contenders for Stanley Cup Top 10 contenders for Stanley Cup Top 10 contenders for Stanley Cup Nothing comes easy in hockey, nothing. The road to winning the Stanley Cup is filled with obstacles, and this year the defending champs have these nine teams coming after them. Oct 1, 2013 6:49 PM ET 1 6 /nhl/lists/top-stanley-cup-contenders-100113
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/26/New-Zealand-sailing-fan_20130926040909882_136_102.JPG Biggest choke jobs in sports Infamous chokers gallery Infamous chokers gallery You've really got to work to get sailing onto this website. And you've <i><font color="#0000">REALLY</font></i> got to blow it for people to refer to a yacht race as the biggest choke in the history of all sports. Take a bow, Emirates! Sep 26, 2013 12:02 PM ET 1 6 /nhl/lists/Infamous-sports-chokers
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-3-NHL-foxiest-kings-OB-G_20130308185330431_136_102.JPG Who has the FOXiest fans? Take a look at the FOXiest fans in hockey. Take a look at the FOXiest fans in hockey. It's game time for the NHL's FOXiest fans. Jul 17, 2013 11:30 AM ET 1 6 /nhl/lists/FOXiest-female-hockey-NHL-fans-092612
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/11/PI_20130611222922662_136_102.JPG Stanley Cup Final expert picks Stanley Cup Final expert picks: Chicago Black... Stanley Cup Final expert picks: Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Boston Bruins in an Original Six Series. Who will win? Our simulator told you who the numbers say will win the Cup. But if getting the expert's take is more your thing, we've got you covered, too. Jun 12, 2013 12:03 AM ET 1 6 /nhl/lists/stanley-cup-expert-predictions-chicago-blackhawks-boston-bruins-061113