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Prediction: Wings-Capitals in Cup Finals

Wednesday, 10.6.2010 / 9:28 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - Senior Writer
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Prediction: Wings-Capitals in Cup Finals
The Chicago Blackhawks are good enough to win the Stanley Cup again and it wouldn't be shocking if they did. The Philadelphia Flyers have enough talent, especially on the back end, to come out of the Eastern Conference again. Henrik Sedin can definitely win another Hart Trophy and Duncan Keith another Norris Trophy.

Will they?

It's doesn't look like it right now. What will happen?

Well ...

Your 2011 Western Conference champion will be ... the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings may be the league's elder statesmen, but when healthy they may very well have the best balance of skillful two-way forwards, defensemen that can still get up and down the ice, and a goalie in a contract year who wants to show his 37 wins from last season were no fluke. Detroit had 102 points last season and was battered by injuries. The Wings had a longer than usual summer when you consider they were knocked out in the second round, and now they're all healthy.

Your 2011 Eastern Conference champion will be ... the Washington Capitals.

Never underestimate the power of motivation and hunger. The Capitals have both in spades after blowing a 3-1 lead and losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round last spring. Alex Ovechkin is motivated only to win the Stanley Cup and the rest of the Capitals have his back in a big way. There are questions in goal with 22-year-old Europeans Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov ready to split the duties, perhaps right down the middle. However, Varlamov has Stanley Cup playoff experience (success, too) and Neuvirth has won back-to-back Calder Cups in the AHL. The Capitals will finally prove they are for real.

Your 2011 Stanley Cup champion will be ... the Detroit Red Wings

Health appears to be the only thing that can deter the Wings from putting one more notch on their belt and keeping this dynasty alive another year. Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano and Brian Rafalski might be on the tail end of fantastic careers, but they can still play at a high level. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary, Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Jimmy Howard are all in their primes.

Your 2011 Hart Trophy winner will be ... Steven Stamkos

The revamped Lightning will be improved and Stamkos, who is stronger after a summer working out with renowned fitness guru Gary Roberts, will be able to build on his remarkable sophomore season. That's saying something considering the 20-year-old from Markham, Ont. was the co-Rocket Richard winner with 51 goals last season, but he's coming into his prime, has one of the best one-timers in the business and he should find even more space now because he worked extensively this summer on his core and his legs to make them more powerful.

Your 2011 Norris Trophy winner will be ... Chris Pronger

We know he's coming off surgery and he's getting up there in age, but if you watched Pronger in the playoffs last season you know where we're coming from with this pick. This guy has still got one, two or maybe even three more seasons left at his elite status before maybe he starts to fall off. This one ought to be one of his best. A trip to the Stanley Cup Final, built largely on Pronger's long stick, is enough to convince us that the guy can be even better this season. His resume was respected by his teammates when he arrived, but now they know the guy is the real deal for many other reasons. 

Your 2011 Vezina Trophy winner will be ... Ryan Miller

The Sabres goalie will go back-to-back as a winner of this award because he will again prove that he's the most consistent goaltender in the League. Miller will play close to 70 games, win upwards of 40 with a goals-against average under 2.50 and a save percentage better than .915. And the Sabres will make the playoffs, perhaps even by winning the Northeast Division again, because of their goaltender who happens to be their biggest star.

Your 2011 Calder Trophy winner will be ... Magnus Paajarvi

The attention is going to go to Edmonton teammate Taylor Hall and Boston center Tyler Seguin, and perhaps also to Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban and Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. However, it'll be Paajarvi that steps out and has a better season than all of them because he may be more suited for immediate NHL success. He played a full season in the Swedish Elite League last season and then made the World Championship all-tournament team with 9 points in nine games. Paajarvi's power off his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame will be his greatest asset.

For an alternative viewpoint, be sure to check out the EA Sports NHL 11 Season Preview show on




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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