Was this off-season short or what? Maybe it’s because the Sharks were in the Finals or we had the World Cup of Hockey, but this time off felt extremely short. Not that I’m complaining because hockey is officially back IN FOUR DAYS! And we’ve got some two great rivalry games to kick-off this season.
First up is the St. Louis Blues visiting the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues don’t have their (ex-) captain David Backes and (ex-) starting goaltender Brian Elliott this summer, but they’ve still got big guns Tarasenko, Steen, Statsny and Shattenkirk. Also, future head coach Mike Yeo took over as assistant coach for this years campaign. So ya, I guess that’s a thing…
Chicago is coming into this game looking for some sweet revenge against St. Louis after the boys in blue (read: Tarasenko and Elliott) took down the defending Stanley Cup Champs in round one after seven games. The Hawks beefed up their poor defense by signing Brian Campbell this off-season and, while losing Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen.
Verdict: Both teams lost some great players these past few months, but if Jake Allen can prove he’s ready to go, I can see St. Louis defeating Chicago. 3-2, Blues.
From the Chicago Tribune
For the second game of the night, we have the Los Angeles Kings heading to NorCal to face the San Jose Sharks.
This off-season was great for the Kings. They stripped Dustin Brown of his captaincy, which he was salty about. Then, they gave it to Anze Kopitar. Smart move by the Kings, because Brown has been underperforming for the past couple of seasons, while Kopitar has emerged as a superstar forward. This was also smart because if Brown is pissed at management, maybe he won’t play as hard, meaning his current ludicrous contract seems even worse! Thank you LA, sincerely Sharks fans.
San Jose actually had a great off-season, despite the shortness of it. They finally found a solid sixth defender in David Schlemko, who will be a sure upgrade over Roman Polak. They also signed speedy forward Mikkel Boedeker, who will fit in nicely on a line with Joel Ward. The Sharks are almost a lock to win the Cup this season.
Verdict: With a team full of confidence and some holes filled in, the Sharks look poised to once again #BeatLA and shut Cartman up. You’re welcome hockey world. 4-2, Sharks.