Andrew Gross’s NHL preview: It will be Tampa Bay over Nashville for the Cup

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First some news from today. Kevin Klein (back spasms) is going for an MRI and his status for Thursday is in doubt. So the Rangers have scrapped their plan to get down to seven defensemen. They are at 23 and cap compliant by today’s 5 p.m. deadline, once Oscar Lindberg goes on IR.

Also today, Rick Nash was named an alternate captain, joining Derek Stepan, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. He said he was “honored.” I asked him if he made the team (reference to his remark at the opening of camp that he didn’t think his job was safe). He smiled and said, “still a lot of forwards here …”

My predictions below.

In case you missed it, there was some big, big blog news in a post below. So scroll down to see it. Or click here. But don’t miss it again.

By Andrew Gross

The puck drops Wednesday night for the 2016-17 NHL season, though it sort of feels like it already began with the World Cup of Hockey through training camp.

Sidney Crosby led a dominant Team Canada to the World Cup title and, at the top of the game, he was poised to try to help the Penguins become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winners since the Red Wings in 1997-98. Then came the surprising news on Monday that Crosby was, once again, suffering from concussion symptoms. Even more troubling was the fact that there seemingly was no impact during a Penguins’ practice that caused the condition.

Here’s a look at the upcoming season:

Players to watch

PATRICK KANE: At 27, the Blackhawks right wing is at the peak of his game and coming off setting career highs last season with 46 goals and 60 assists as he won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as its scoring leader.

CAREY PRICE: The Canadiens looked like one of the NHL’s elite early last season. Then Price hurt his knee and missed the rest of the season and the Canadiens were among the league’s worst teams. Now, the goalie is healthy again.

SHEA WEBER/P.K. SUBBAN: The two elite defensemen, swapped in an off-season blockbuster, will be compared all season as the experts try to gauge whether the Predators (Subban) or the Canadiens (Weber) won the trade.

Rookies to watch

PATRIK LAINE: The Jets selected the Finnish right wing with a booming shot with the second overall pick and he could develop into a 40-goal scorer.

AUSTON MATTHEWS: The Maple Leafs selected the center, from Scottsdale, Ariz., with the first overall pick ,and he is seen as a franchise savior much as Connor McDavid was last season with the Oilers.

MATT MURRAY:  It’s easy to forget the 22-year-old goalie is a rookie after he backstopped the Penguins to the Cup. Murray will start the season sidelined after breaking his hand at the World Cup so may have to wrest the starter’s job back from Marc-Andre Fleury.

Old faces, new places

DAVID BACKES (BRUINS): The former Blues captain, a 32-year-old center, got a five-year, $30 million deal to bring his physical brand of hockey to Boston.

MILAN LUCIC (OILERS): Edmonton made a major investment in the 28-year-old left wing, one of the NHL’s top agitators, as the ex-Bruin got a seven-year, $42 million deal after one season with the Kings.

NAIL YAKUPOV (BLUES): The Oilers finally gave up on the first overall pick in the 2012 draft and traded him on Friday for an underwhelming return. But Yakupov’s game could blossom on a line with fellow Russian Vladimir Tarasenko.

Teams that will thrive

LIGHTNING: Captain Steven Stamkos re-signed for eight years, $68 million, Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman might be the league’s top defense pair, and there’s a solid mix of strong goaltending, cagey veterans and brilliant young talent.

PANTHERS: Ageless Jaromir Jagr – OK, he’s 44 – is balanced by young guns Aleksander Barkov and defenseman Aaron Ekblad plus signing Keith Yandle will bolster the blue-line corps. Points off, though, for young star Jonathan Huberdeau being out three to four months.

PREDATORS: Subban has injected a serious dose of energy into and about the franchise, Filip Forsberg is one of the NHL’s top young forwards and Pekka Rinne is still one of the league’s better goalies.

Teams that will stumble

AVALANCHE: Patrick Roy quit as coach on Aug. 11 – really late in the off-season for such an occurrence – and it likely exposed a dysfunctional rift within the organization.

CANUCKS: Daniel and Henrik Sedin are now 36 and not even the signing of right wing Loui Eriksson is likely to reverse the team’s erosion.

RED WINGS: Pavel Datsyuk has gone home to Russia and the Red Wings’ remarkable streak of 25 straight playoff appearances may be in serious jeopardy.

Games to watch

TUESDAY, FLAMES AT OILERS: The first game at Rogers Place, the Oilers’ state-of-the-art arena at the center of Edmonton’s downtown revival.

OCT. 20, SHARKS AT PENGUINS: The first of two rematches of last season’s Stanley Cup Final.

DEC. 19, DUCKS AT MAPLE LEAFS: Randy Carlyle, in his second stint as the Ducks coach, returns to Toronto for the first time since being fired by the Maple Leafs. Plus, it will be Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen’s first chance to face his former teammates.

JAN. 2, BLACKHAWKS AT BLUES, WINTER CLASSIC: Busch Stadium in St. Louis plays host for the first time to the NHL’s marquee regular-season attraction, one of four outdoor games this season.

JAN. 3/MARCH 2: Weber’s return to Nashville and Subban’s return to Montreal, respectively.

APRIL 9, DEVILS AT RED WINGS: The final regular-season game scheduled at venerable Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings’ home since 1979.

New rule

Just a minor tweak to the rulebook this season, regarding the delay-of-game penalty. Now, it’s the position of the puck, not the position of the player’s skates that determines whether a puck has been sent out of play from the defensive zone.

Squeezed

Between the World Cup pushing back the start of the season by a week and each team now essentially receiving a bye week, this season’s schedule will be condensed like few before with teams often playing on back-to-back nights, or three games in four days. That will increase the premium on the backup goalies, since the starters are not likely to play as many games as usual.

Stanley Cup Final: Lightning over Predators

***********************************************************************

My predictions (I would love to see yours):

Metropolitan
Pittsburgh
Washington
Rangers
Islanders
stanley-cupPhiladelphia
New Jersey
Columbus
Carolina

Atlantic
Tampa Bay
Florida
Boston
Montreal
Ottawa
Buffalo
Detroit
Toronto

Central
Chicago
Dallas
St. Louis
Nashville
Winnipeg
Minnesota
Colorado

Pacific
Los Angeles
San Jose
Anaheim
Calgary
Arizona
Edmonton
Vancouver

Stanley Cup Final: Washington over Chicago.

 

Twitter: @AGrossRecord; @RangersReport.

Photo by Getty Images.

 

 

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130 Comments

  1. My prediction is, that this is the year the Rangers win it all. Everybody is overlooking them. So an original 6 final, the Rangers over the Hawks in a classic 7 game final

  2. ***********************************************************************

    My predictions (I would love to see yours):

    Metropolitan
    Washington
    Pittsburgh
    Rangers
    Islanders
    New Jersey
    Philly
    Carolina
    Columbus

    Atlantic
    Tampa Bay
    Montreal
    Florida
    Ottawa
    Boston
    Buffalo
    Detroit
    Toronto

    Central
    Dallas
    Chicago
    St. Louis
    Nashville
    Winnipeg
    Minnesota
    Colorado

    Pacific
    San Jose
    Los Angeles
    Anaheim
    Edmonton
    Vancouver
    Calgary
    Arizona

    Stanley Cup Final: Washington over Dallas

  3. Doodie Machetto on

    Metropolitan
    Washington
    Pittsburgh
    Rangers
    Islanders
    Philadelphia
    Carolina
    New Jersey
    Columbus

    Atlantic
    Tampa Bay
    Montreal
    Florida
    Boston
    Ottawa
    Buffalo
    Detroit
    Toronto

    Central
    St. Louis
    Dallas
    Nashville
    Chicago
    Winnipeg
    Minnesota
    Colorado

    Pacific
    San Jose
    Los Angeles
    Calgary
    Anaheim
    Edmonton
    Arizona
    Vancouver

    Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay over San Jose.

  4. I think Philly’s lineup beats this current Ranger lineup just based on the defense.
    .
    Fourth in metro, struggle to make playoffs

  5. I think Dallas is going to be a beast in the West, I can see them trading for Bishop at the deadline, and making a serious run at the Cup.
    .
    Washington might win the Game 7 over Pittsburgh this year, I’m not sure – it depends who’s healthy after 80 games played.
    .
    Very tough to repeat as Champions in the NHL, but with everyone back Pittsburgh has a solid chance.
    .
    Rangers don’t have the depth that Pittsuburgh/Washington have. They can score alot goals, and have the best special teams in the league.

  6. 5th in metro book it.

    Wash
    Pens
    Flyers
    Isles
    Rangers
    Devils
    Canes
    Columbus.

    Lightning
    Montreal
    Panthers
    Senators
    Bruins
    Buffalo
    Wings
    Leafs

    Predators
    Blues
    Hawks
    Stars
    Jets
    Wild
    Avalanche.

    Sharks
    Flames
    Kings
    Ducks
    Oilers
    Coyotes
    Canucks.

    Tampa over wash in 6
    Flames over predators in 7

    Tampa over flames in 5

  7. Cross Check Charlie on

    So, what’s the Stanley Cup Final? Lightning over Predators or Washington over Chicago?

  8. Tomb – They have Hakstol, so I’ll give you credit, but there is only so much a coach can do for a team.
    .
    You all laughed at my “college” coach last year, I told you it wouldn’t take long for him to turn the team around, but even I didn’t think he would get them into the playoffs in his first year. This year I’m not so sure they have the defense to stay in the top 8.

  9. Doodie Machetto on

    If you think the Flames are getting to the Final, then you need to put a bet on them right now. +5000 to win the Cup, +2500 for the Western Conference.

  10. No way Pitt wins again … and I’ll believe the Caps will win a SC when Putin praises Hillary Clinton and calls Trump a LOSER.

    Rangers sneak into the playoffs at #4 Metro, beat Blackhawks in 7 by a 5-4 score with Vesey scoring the game tying and OT goal, completing a hat trick. Oh no wait, that was a fantasy dream I had this summer. Actual answer is Nashville over Montreal in 6, Subban MVP (Rangers fall in game 7 to Montreal in Conference Finals as Price barely edges out Hank).

    PS: I don’t have a clue.

  11. For those involved, it looks like tonight’s draft in the Bonehead league was pushed back to 8:15 (ET).

  12. Cross Check Charlie on

    Sorry Carp, didn’t read it as his predictions then your predictions. My bad.
    .
    I have no idea how the Rangers will do. In order to improve over last year they’ll need good years from their rookies and much improvement from players like Kreider, Hayes, Fast, Lindberg. It can happen, but I’m not putting money on it.
    .
    As for the rest of the league. Washington-Chicago is like betting on the 2-5 favorite at the track. They look unbeatable until they cross the finish line out of the money
    .

  13. Thanks for the PSA, Booby. I knew and probably should have posted something.

    Never loved Fowler and pulling for The Wrath, but Fowler has more value, even if they had drafted him and decide to trade him now.

  14. Doodie Machetto on

    It’s like people have never seen Fowler play or just go by the scouting report from his first season. And say whatever you want about him: he’s a regular NHL player. Mcllrath isn’t.

  15. Old Ranger Fan on

    Keep posting the fake fb names. I’ll have to figure out if it worth the trouble.

    Sid’s condition casts a shadow over Pen’s chances off repeating.

    I think the Rangers may start out like they did in AV’s first two years here while they figure it out on D. We’ll see in he and Gorton are on the same page. He seems to be patient so I don’t expect him to panic and can AV but I’m in the minority here. I think he is a pretty good coach.

    I guess my fake name will have ORF in it and my picture may be Andy Bathgate.

  16. Maybe my last post unless I want to revive my Facebook account (and I really don’t)

    Metropolitan
    Washington
    Rangers
    Pittsburgh
    Islanders
    Columbus
    Philadelphia
    New Jersey
    Carolina

    Atlantic
    Montreal
    Tampa Bay
    Florida
    Boston
    Ottawa
    Buffalo
    Detroit
    Toronto

    Central
    Chicago
    Nashville
    Dallas
    St. Louis
    Winnipeg
    Minnesota
    Colorado

    Pacific
    Los Angeles
    San Jose
    Edmonton
    Anaheim
    Calgary
    Arizona
    Vancouver

    SC – Montreal over Nashville (both teams benefit from the big trade)

  17. AV had some really interesting things to say today when I asked him about fixing the team’s inconsistency. Talked about them having their priorities straight. Really good stuff.

    It will be in my story later tonight or tomorrow (on the old blog, then perhaps the new blog, I don’t know anymore … I just know this is like double-work for me every time I post not knowing when it’s going to change).

  18. I would keep all of the 8 D. Didn’t we have to dress Summers a couple of years ago against Tampa Bay? Come playoff time, you can never have enough defensemen. I even vaguely recall Leetch getting hurt near the end of one season and missing time in the playoffs.

  19. It was Roger Neilson’s first year as coach, JOETEX. Either 89 or 90. Leech got hurt against Toronto in the game that clinched there first division title in many years. He also got hurt “slipping on ice” at the end of the 93 season.

  20. My guess, window on Caps is closed, and probably Crosby is done and we are on a 1st place….. of course if Girardi get most of the season free tickets in press lodge and Glass is not in the team.

    Metro:

    Pens (if Crosby play, if not swap 1st and 2nd)
    Us
    Caps
    Flyers

    Rest who cares

  21. Thanks BDL! I remember watching the Toronto game when Leetch got hurt. In the 70s both Jim Neilson and Rod Seiling got hurt and missed time either during or right before the playoffs. They were regulars on defense for us.

  22. I have no idea as to who wins the Cup. But I know for sure this place will explode with negative comments after the Fishsticks score their first goal.
    Wait, it’ll be the new place. Maybe?

  23. but in a cap world, it’s best to not have extra guys sitting around. it’s complicated, but the more cap space you carry early in the season, the more you accrue for emergencies or for the trade deadline.

  24. Kucherov is going to make up the money later in his career. Calgary bought years 3 through 8 of Johnny Hockey’s career for a bargain price. This is different. Kucherov may be an 8 mill per year guy by the time this contract is done.

  25. At work, where FB is blocked, I see the bubble, but it doesn’t work. On iPhone, there is no bubble. Have to scroll down to “leave a comment”. I was able to see without being logged into FB.

  26. I’m not going to bother posting every division, especially since I won’t be posting on here anymore but my stanely cup winner for the 2016-2017 season will be the Tampa bay lighting. The rangers will fight for the 7th or 8th spot and that’s because there defense won’t be that good like it has been over the years.

  27. I clicked the link and was able to post, Carp. I hate myself a little for succumbing to facebook, but I can’t quit y’all.

  28. Word, Booby.
    .
    Doodie. Coos, BDL and others
    Would you consider a bogus FB account? Just for the blog? Won’t be the same if you don’t.
    .
    I realize you may not want to support or help FB but maybe the bogus account costs them money? Now you’re sticking it to them.
    .
    Maybe?

  29. There will be charps, and i don’t think so, Doodie. But again, I don’t know, and will probably be the last to know. I mean, it will still be done on coveritlive, so I think you just will have to access the blog post to participate. I think.

    I think a lot for somebody who has no ideas.

  30. Why the falk not…I’m BANJing two threads ago because there was no falking new post given…unfalkingreal!!!!

  31. Fwiw, if anyone is on twitter, my “handle” is du_Nord13 if you want to follow and I’ll follow you back obviously

  32. We should add this Amanda Borges to the widget so we monitor her tweets. At least for the next 12 hours.

  33. forgot if I mentioned this earlier, but I am now a huge Nick Foligno fan:

    @BlueJacketsNHL
    .@NickFoligno & his wife Janelle have donated $1 million – split between @nationwidekids & Boston Childrens Hospital.

    The gift is meant to help in congenital heart research, and to aid the two hospitals that helped save their daughter Milana’s life.

  34. This new blog will be huge. I can’t wait to talk it up in the locker room after this team wins the Cup. Everyone says I am good in the room. Maybe I should have an ‘A’ also. You know, people are saying that this team is good. But remember, I told you first that they are better than good. They are no disaster!

  35. I like Andrew’s predictions, not to sure about the cup pick.
    Its a long season and anything can happen.

    For the Rangers can the “D” hold up and as usual Hank will have to be great
    to get this team into the playoffs. The kids will be fun to watch, if of course AV plays them, BIG IF.
    If anyone wants to chat during the season please get in touch: topjimmy@gmx.com
    Also if any entrepreneurs are online, I have a side business if anyone is interested in earning some extra $$, (cheap plug) Get in touch! L.G.R.!!

  36. you can subscribe for 83 cents per month for the entire lohud site, but if that’s too expensive (sarcasm) there are ways to avoid paying. I believe that ilb has the details and put them in the comments last night.

  37. Carp – if one reports a comment does the person who posted the offensive comment know who reported them

  38. Did anyone ask AV how short Girardi’s leash is on the first pair? (Or why he is on that pair in the first place?!) Really crazy to think he is up to that and to put that anchor on Mac from day 1….again!

  39. This will be my last post here. I just wanted to say that it’s been great talking will everyone here. There are a lot of very knowledgable, and funny people here. Talking line combos, game reviews, and speculating on trades. I will miss them all.

  40. CARP, like your predictions. You always go Rangers over Icelanders. I heard Carolina and Ottawa are much improved. Your standings don’t reflect that. Detroit seems to be down. Nashville is loaded. LA and Chicago in the mix. I like Tampa Bay to win it all Everyone signed. Stamkos healthy and Drouin is a beast!

    Devils could be in the playoffs. No? Calgary much improved.

  41. Going to miss your opinions and insight as well, Bulldog. Really you someday decide to join the darkiside at some point.

  42. Alex – as per FB: “Don’t worry, your report is anonymous. When something gets reported to Facebook, we’ll review it and remove anything that violates our Community Standards. We don’t include any information about the person who filed the report when we reach out to the person responsible.”

    In a world of internet, I personally take it with a pinch of salt, that all is being anonymous. If a person is desperate to know who reported them, they will find a way to find out who did it…
    —————–
    re. Amanda: just saw her interview with R. Nash. Looks like she is taking over Jim Cerny’s position now that he is gone…

  43. I want to make a Lightning/Predators cup final, tree falling in the woods analogy, but can’t find the right words.

  44. Carp, will we only need a Facebook account in order to post on the new site, or will we also have to create Tinder and Ashley Madison accounts? Don’t think my wife will be too happy…but if we must, we must!! ;)

  45. Haven’t commented all that much over the years, but when I have commented I have used my initials DJTET (Daniel J. TETrault) as my name.
    Looks like when commenting on the new site, it only allows your facebook name…mine is Dan Tetrault.

    Sorry not everyone will be joining due to the need for facebook. If anyone who doesn’t have a facebook account, but would like help setting one up please let me know as I can help. I’ll only need your full name, date of birth, street address, social security, bank name and primary bank account number!! ;)

  46. Maybe we can start a pool…on what game will dan girardi get moved off then first pairing forever.

    I’m going with “game 6”

  47. My predictions:

    Metropolitan

    Pittsburgh
    Rangers
    Washington
    New Jersey
    Islanders
    Philadelphia
    Carolina
    Columbus

    Atlantic
    Montreal
    Tampa Bay
    Boston
    Florida
    Detroit
    Ottawa
    Buffalo
    Toronto

    Stanley Cup: Pittsburgh vs… Don’t know.

  48. If Nashville and Tampa are the clear favorites…something tells me there are a lot of bad calls coming for those teams this season.

  49. Rangers getting no respect across the league. I get that the defense is questionable at best but Hank and the team would have to play all season like they did against the Pens in the playoffs to miss the playoffs.

    R.I.P old blog :(

  50. Olga Folkyerself on

    He’s caused the Rangers to limp for 16 years. Sather is still here, Slatsko is the one who’s gone.

  51. Olga Folkyerself on

    I’m going to miss him. He was a voice screaming in the wilderness. A cry for help. A broken record. A sad panda…

  52. Olga Folkyerself on

    It’s wrong that Slatsko should depart before Sather! He was so strong, so vital, so… singleminded. He held on to his convictions to the end. The shame of Sather’s trades, each one worse than the last, haunting him, taunting him until finally he could no longer cope. Gave up the struggle. Lost the shootout. Went to that Big MSG in the sky. Now a passenger on the Eternal Express. Encephalographically challenged… Has his mail delivered by Ground Hog… An active organ donor…
    .
    Slatsko Folkyerself. Dead at 26.

  53. Carp,

    Okay… here comes my rant about the direction the broadcast business has gone if we’re talking about Cerny’s replacement.

    Cheap, young, attractive female. The end.

    Look, more power to these girls if they can land these type of gigs, but it frustrates me to no end. That, right there is a dream job for me… right in my wheelhouse. Truth is, had I known it was available I would’ve gone for it seeing that I’m a broadcaster myself with 13 years of on air experience. But, therein lies the problem- Forget my expansive knowledge of the NYR, I’m a male… and the higher up execs want young, cheap and female.
    Rant over…..

  54. Craigweather – did that guy Matt replace Cerny or is it the new lady in town. Both probably make quite a bit less than Jim.

  55. Carp

    Will the new blog have as many ads, surveys, different screens pop up as on the Yankees blog? (hopefully I can get a answer after asking you like 5 different times)

  56. A very bummed James G on

    Well, I guess this is the final post..thanks to all of you for talking hockey over the years. Whether you hated my posts or agreed with them, it was a pleasure to have your opinions and share laughs absurdity and some pretty special hockey the last few years (pre closed window) I wish the new blog and Carpy all the success the higher ups at lohud are counting on :)
    Maybe I’ll see some of you at Walter’s.” Or msg. Carp thank you for always being one of the best!
    For the last time on RR:
    Hey- do you know what we get to do Thursday night boys and girls? We get to watch Rangers Hockey :)
    Now point to anything in the room and I’ll lift it over my head!

  57. Josh,
    I think it’s the new girl in town.
    Truth is, I’ll bet they’re paying her peanuts and likely a near impossible salary to live off of in the tri state area. I’m likely to be making twice her salary and my cost of living is considerably less where I live (it rhymes will Shmalbany).

  58. JAMES G

    We mostly hated your posts but if you come and join comments section at the new blog we will love every comment of yours! Promise!

  59. Just catching up on the [very] bad news about the Facebook requirement. Too bad, and I’ll miss posting my obnoxious two cents here once it kicks in, but I sure won’t stop reading. Worst blog on the interwebs by a country mile! Perhaps someone here with some tech chops will set up a mirror site. I hope so.

  60. CCCP – i don’t get any pop-ups, ads etc. Not on the Yankees blog or elsewhere on the internet. I’m using the “ABP Adblock plus”. It does it’s job well, at least for me.

    And no, I am not advertising it. Pop ups and ads were annoying me, so I tried it and never regreted having it. I’m only sharing my experience.
    Also, am I asking for your personal details in order to download it, as some one did few posts above in regards to FB :)

  61. Milo

    what about my personal details?
    I’m using the ABP too but when I initially come to Yankees blog, some surveys and such pop out for some reason.

  62. Watching the Rangers-Devils game 6 from 94 on MSG, amazing. Pretty interesting to see what an evolution in the game has occurred over the last 20+ years. I think only Leetch and Kovalev would be able to play in today’s NHL. McIlrath would tbe the 3rd best defenseman on that team….just saying.

  63. Mess and graves were all timers, so was zubov and many other forwards( at least in their primes). Richter was so athletic that he could still play but some teams may have been hesitant to give him a shot given his size

  64. CCCP – hmmm. It could also be that you need to update your “options” within the ABP, maybe…

    -> Try to double click the ABP icon button. A new page should open. On the top click on “features” .. you should see six options and description what you can do (enable, disable etc.).and decide whether it’s something which could be of help for you… at least I did it this way. If you go this route, hope it works, but please, note, this is a friendly help. I am not an IT specialist :)

  65. Gravy (FB: Gra Vy) on

    Sad day indeed, and even though I’ve posted less in the past year or so, I’ve stopped by almost daily. Some of us had our differences, but always had some laughs and enjoyed the banter. Hope to still see some of youse on the Facebook side.

  66. C’mon guys .. way too much drama about creating a free FB account …
    use a name of your choosing… don’t include personal info
    and don’t tell anybody so you then won’t get friend requests..
    just don’t respond when you get an e-mail notification..
    you’ll log into the blog in like 3 seconds once you go thru the oh-so-painful 3-minute create the account phase
    just do it … why end a good thing ..

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