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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs Have Mishandled Cap Space

Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in an interesting predicament. With just over a week till training camp there remains two key players who have not been re-signed- Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson. Arguably the Leafs best defenceman and most promising prospect remain un-signed as the Leafs try and find a way to keep both on the roster under the cap.

It's hard to feel sorry for the Maple Leafs who have poorly mismanaged their cap space this offseason. They currently have just under $4.9 million left in cap spca, but they've spent and waisted a lot of money this offseason. It all started with Tyler Bozak who was demanding first line money despite not being worth first line money. The Leafs knew they would have to give Bozak a decent pay day and were determined not to over pay for him, but they ended up handing him a 5 year $21 million deal.

Next we move to David Clarkson. I'm still not entirely sure why the Leafs needed a player like Clarkson, but he can be a valuable comodity and the Leafs decided they wanted that comodity. Problem is they massively overpayed giving him a 7 year deal worth $36.75 million. A $5.25 million cap hit (same as Joffrey Lupul) is a lot for a guy who's likely to be policing the third line and has only scored more than 20 goals once in his career.

 Finally we move to Jonathan Bernier, the goaltender who was brought in to rescue the Leafs Ben Scrivens but a cheap veteran would have done just fine. Instead they went out and acquired a young goaltender, virtually telling James Reimer he's not good enough and in the process screwed themselves with the cap. Without acquiring Bernier the Leafs would have $6,758,433 in cap space, which would have been enough to sign both Kadri and Franson. Instead they have just $4,895,833 left in cap space, not enough to sign both RFA's.

Also don't forget that Phil Kessel will need a new contract after this season, things are about to get real hot for Dave Nonis. The Leafs spent big money to rescue the goaltending which really didn't need rescuing. The Leafs had absolutely no reason to go out and acquire another number one goaltender, yes they needed an upgrade over Ben Scrivens but a cheap veteran would have done just fine.

In a perfect world the Leafs would want to sign both Franson and Kadri, but unless they buyout a contract or one of them caves to accept a horrible contract they won't be able to retain both.

Kadri is looking for deal around 6 years worth roughly $5.5 million a year, while the Leafs are looking at a bridge contract similiar to P.K Subban; roughly 2 years for $2.8 million. Kadri would be wise to accept the bridge contract in order to build up his resume and then demand more money in two years and if he has another year like last season he won't have to worry. But you can't exactly blame Kadri for his asking price. He sees the Leafs hand Bozak, nothing more than a glorified third line centre, $4.2 a year and since Kadri believes he's a better talent than Bozak he believes he's worth more. Truth be told neither player right now is worth anywhere near $4 million a year, but because Nonis has handed out some poor contracts others want the money.

The troublesome thing for the Leafs is they don't seem to even be in the same ballpark when negotiating with Kadri. Franson on the other hand is looking for a 4 year deal at $4 million a year, while the Leafs are looking for a 2 year deal worth $3 million a year. At least the Leafs are a little closer in terms with Franson, but it's looking like both players will want to play hardball.

Both Kadri and Franson played a pivot part in the Leafs return to the playoffs last season. Kadri burst onto the scene and has his best year putting up 18 goals and 26 assists, while Franson was a solid and
reliable defenceman all year long scoring 5 goals and adding 24 assists.

While the Leafs are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now, this was a completely avoidable problem. Nonis threw money around like there was no tomorrow during the offseason and now he's realizing that the money supply is running out and players won't play for nothing. Both Kadri and Franson deserve a respectable salary around $3 million, but the Leafs don't have the room.

With training camp looming closer and closer don't expect both to be there. The Kadri situation smells of what happened with Subban and a holdout may be imminent for Kadri. The Leafs, thanks to Nonis' loose wallet, don't have enough money to make both Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson happy which means a trade will be on the horizon.

Too bad Nonis didn't spend all that money this offseason on a viable upgrade all around. Locking up Kadri and Franson should have been first priority (after Bozak) for Nonis. If the Leafs do end up losing Kadri, they have no one but Nonis to blame for mismanaging the cap.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Season Preview: Anaheim Ducks

With NHL pre-season just over 30 days aways and the regular season just under 50 days away, it's time to gear up for the 2013-2014 NHL season. This will be the first instalment in the new "Season Preview" series, where we'll be teeing up the season for all 30 NHL teams. Our first stop will be in Anaheim, as we take a look at the Ducks upcoming season.

The Ducks are coming off a solid 2013 campaign that saw them back in the playoffs after a disappointing 2012-2013. Unfortunately, the Ducks didn't stay long in the postseason, as the Detroit Red Wings eliminated them in the first round.

Much like the Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks were also able to ride their hot start right through to the playoffs. The Ducks opened the season winning 13 of their first 16 games. But with a full training camp and pre-season games, catching teams sleeping early on wont be easy. The good news is the Ducks will get their first training camp under Bruce Broudreau and have time to adjust to his fast-passed offence right off the bat.

Heading into next season there are three crucial questions the Ducks must answer. Who will play on the top line, will Teemu Selanne return and who starts between the pipes?

After sending Bobby Ryan to Ottawa this offseason, the Ducks must now find someone to step up and Dustin Penner, Jakob Silfverberg and the Ducks x-factor from last season Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri saw some time on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf during the playoffs and may be able to spark the top line again. After putting up 10 points last season and having some experience on that line, Palmieri may get the first chance to crack the top line. Jakob Silfverberg would be another player who could slide up the line-up. He was acquired in the Bobby Ryan deal and also put up 10 goals last season. Dustin Penner could be reunited with his linemates who helped bring the Stanley Cup to Anaheim in 2007, should he get a chance to play on the top line. Penner, Silfverberg and Palmieri will be fighting it out to gain chemistry and a chance to anchor the Ducks top line.
fill his spot. There are three players who could easily fill in on that top line;

The great Teemu Selanne's future is once again up in the air. The Ducks have said that if Selanne wants to return they would leave a spot for him on their second line. Selanne now 43, is an unrestricted free-agent, but has made one of the greatest late career resurgences with the Ducks over the past 8 seasons. Does Selanne have one more season in him? He scored 12 goals and put up 24 points in 46 games last season with the Ducks, pretty solid numbers for someone in their 40's. If Selanne does decide to come back for one more season, it will no doubt help solidify the Ducks roster.

The Ducks don't have a goaltending controversy, they have a goaltending blessing right now. Both Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller are playing stellar hockey and they get along perfectly. Last season the John Gibson. Gibson burst onto the national scenes last season for his performance during the World Junior Championships, in which he not only lead the USA to a championship, he was also named MVP. In all likely hood Gibson will start the season in the AHL, but it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine him finishing the season with the Ducks, especially after he turns some heads at the US Olympic evaluation camp. If Fasth or Hiller, go down with an injury Gibson will be ready to step up to the plate. I'm not sure there is a team in the NHL with a better goaltending future than the Anaheim Ducks.
Ducks rode both Fasth and Hiller for various stretches and it worked, plus they both got along great off the ice. Hiller is entering the final year of his contract and Fasth is looking to take over the crease after signing his two-year extension. Both goalies will battle hard and likely split time for the majority of the season. Waiting in the wings is almost NHL ready goaltender

Player to Watch-
Ryan Getzlaf
After a rough season in 2011-2012, Getlaf bounced back putting up 49 points in 44 games last season. Has Getzlaf re-found his game? Can he lead the Ducks back to the post-season in 2014?

Things are looking bright in Anaheim next season. They have a steady mix of young players who are desperate to prove themselves and veterans who want to prove they've still got game. Riding either Fasth or Hiller throughout the season will help give the defence a little added boost. Look for the Ducks to make another trip to the postseason.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Why Having Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer Is Great For the Leafs

For many it came as a surprise that the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, after James Reimer helped propel the team back to the playoffs and nearly upset Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins. But it's really not that surprising that the Leafs were still looking to upgrade their goaltending after they were rumored to be looking at both Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff during the season.

James Reimer proved himself to be a solid goaltender, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding the Leafs crease. What happens if, and based on the past, when Reimer goes down with an injury? In the two seasons Reimer has been the Leafs starter, he's been injured for periods of time in both. Can Reimer continue to shine when the Leafs don't? And most importantly can he perform in the playoffs? Reimer is a young goaltender trying to find his way in the NHL. He doesn't play many back-to-back games and can't really be counted on to start more than 50 games. The Leafs needed a better, more reliable and proven second goaltender other than Ben Scrivens, to help when Reimer needs a break.

Whether Reimer or the Toronto fans like it or not, the Leafs needed an update behind Reimer. Sure they didn't have to go and acquire another young goalie looking to become a bonafide number 1, when they had Reimer, but they did. While it may seem like acquiring Bernier was a deterrent for Reimer's confidence, it was actually a brilliant move by the Leafs.

When you look at the goaltending situations around the league you start to notice a trend; goalie tandems. Last season saw teams such as the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins,  Anaheim Ducks and Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, use both their goaltenders throughout the season. All five of the teams listed above not only operated with a 1A, 1B goaltending system- they also all made it to the postseason.

But let's focus on the Chicago Blackhawks use of the goalie tandem. After two rocky seasons with Corey Crawford at the helm and two first round playoff exits, the Blackhawks decided to bring in another goaltender to not only mentor Crawford but to also give him a break. The plan worked perfectly as Crawford led the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup Championship.

Obviously the Leafs didn't go with the veteran back-up route, but they got a young goalie who will help push Reimer to perform his best. If you're looking for someone to compare Reimer to you can look across to Crawford. Both are fairly young, in-experienced goaltenders with just 3 NHL seasons under their belts, have very similar career numbers, and both still have a lot to prove. It helped Corey Crawford to have another goaltender behind him, and it wouldn't hurt to give Reimer some motivation.

Is Jonathan Bernier an immediate upgrade over Reimer? No. It's too early to tell just how good Bernier
is. He's only played in 62 NHL games and while he's shown flashes of greatness during those games, the sample size is too small. Any half-decent goaltender can post solid numbers through 15 games, but until a goalie starts 30 games in a season their numbers don't say much.

With Bernier the Leafs don't know what they have yet, with Reimer on the other hand they know exactly what they have. A solid goaltender that is capable of bailing the team out and backstopping a team to the postseason. Based on experience and Reimer's play last season he should get the key to the crease to start off the year, but with Bernier bitting at his heals Reimer will be forced to play his best hockey. Besides, what's so bad about a little competition for the starting job?

Having both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer battling for the right to claim the crease is a win-win for the Leafs. Both are solid young goaltenders, which want a starting role in the NHL and will have to play their best to get between the pipes. The Leafs now have two capable goalies that can step up to the plate anytime they're called upon. If Reimer get's hurt, goes through a rough patch of games or needs a rest, they can throw Bernier in without any worries and vice versa.

Having two capable starting goaltenders is a great move by the Leafs and a great strategy to capitalize on the latest NHL trend. If the season starts and both goaltenders are playing well it will also give the Leafs the edge over their competition by not having to ride just one goaltender all the time. If Randy Carlyle plays his cards right and allows both goaltenders time to prove themselves and keeps the media circus away from the goaltenders, the Leafs could ride their goaltending tandem back to the playoffs once again.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Top 10 NHL Goalies From the 2013 Season

It's the constant debate; Who is the best goaltender in the NHL? The answer changes every season and if you lined up 100 people you're likely to get 100 different lists. The lockout-shortened season gave fans the opportunity to watch some fantastic hockey right through to the final buzzer. There were some tremendous goaltending performances and a lot of goaltenders really started to turn heads. Here's my list of the top 10 goaltenders from the lockout-shortened NHL season.

10. Braden Hotlby
Braden Holtby edged out Carey Price for the 10th spot in the countdown based on his numbers and Alex Ovechkin's resurgence. Holtby won 23 of his 35 starts posting a .920 Save Percentage and 2.58 Goals Against Average. Braden Holtby is a goaltender on the rise; he's earned the rights to the Capitals crease and shows no signs of giving it up. If he continues improving he'll climb up the NHL netminder ranks in no time.
playoff success. Holtby had a great season between the pipes for the Capitals and helped keep the team afloat before

9. Jimmy Howard
Jimmy Howard had a tremendous season between the pipes for the Detroit Red Wings and he had to do so without Nicklas Lidstrom on defence. Howard passed the test and made the Red Wings blue line look better than it was. Howard has really elevated himself to the front line of NHL goaltenders. He should battle for a spot to represent team USA at the 2014 Olympics.

8. Corey Crawford
It's tough to put a goaltender who backstopped his team to a Stanley Cup Championship so low on this list, but no one is sure which Corey Crawford is the real one as of yet. He split time this season with Ray Emery and if the veteran Emery hadn't gotten injured there's no guarantee Crawford would have started the playoffs. Once in the playoffs Crawford elevated his game and out-duelled some of the best goalies in the game today; the spotlight is now on Crawford, will he deliver again next season?

7. Craig Anderson
If not for an ankle injury which derailed his season, Anderson would have likely skated away with the Vezina after posting a 1.69 Goals Against Average and .941 Save Percentage after 24 games. Anderson was lights out during the regular season and helped backstop the Senators to the playoffs. At times last season Anderson looked Hasek-esque.

6. Sergei Bobrovsky
After last season how badly are the Philadelphia Flyers kicking themselves for getting rid of Bobrovsky? Bobrovsky had a career year, which earned him the Vezina and made him a finalist for the Hart trophy. But the biggest question is whether he'll be able to perform at that elite level again. Despite his career year, Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets fell just short of the playoff; Is Bobrovsky bound to be another great goalie on a non-playoff team?

5. Tuukka Rask
Don't look now Leafs' fans, it appears Tuukka Rask has finally solidified himself as an NHL starter, Tim Thomas return to Boston. Rask is a goalie who's knocking on the door of the NHL elite and if he can have another solid season or lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup he may just step right through that door.
and a pretty good one at that. After another solid season between the Bruins pipes, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals, Rask appears to have wiped away any thoughts of a

4. Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne has established himself as an elite goaltender in the NHL. He had a tough 2012-2013 season but his team didn't help him with their goal scoring or lack there of. With the acquisition of Seth Jones, the Predators blue line should be fine for years to come which should help get Rinne back to the top 3.

3. Antti Niemi
Everyone remembers Niemi as the goalie who stumbled his way through the playoffs with the Chicago Blackhawks and won a Stanley Cup before promptly heading to San Jose. But since leaving Chicago, Niemi has quietly become one of the top goalies in the NHL. He put up solid numbers through the regular season playing 43 games and improved his game in the playoffs posting a 1.87 GAA. Has Niemi finally arrived or is he finally earning the respect he deserves?

2. Jonathan Quick
Since bursting onto the NHL scene and winning the Stanley Cup last season, Quick has quickly become one of the best puckstoppers in the NHL. Quick and Lundqvist are the two best goaltenders in the NHL and differentiating between who's better is like asking a parent which of their children are cuter. Quick has a bright future between the pipes and will look to lead team USA in 2014.

1. Henrik Lundqvist
As evenly matched as Quick and Henrik Lundqvist are, the King was slightly better through the
lockout-shortened season and get's the nod as the best goalie from last season. When king Henrik is on he is truly unbeatable. Lundqvist is the standard for all other NHL goalies, if you're going to be the best you have to beat the best. Maybe Lundqvist and Quick can battle it out in the Olympics?

Here's my list, who's in your top 10? Let me know who I missed!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

10 Can't Miss NHL Games in 2013-2014

It may only be July but now that the 2013-2014 NHL schedule has been released the countdown to October 1st for hockey fans is on. It's time to start planning the road-trips, making excuses to miss family gatherings and making a list of available dates when you're not watching hockey to give to family and friends. Before marking your NHL life in stone, here are 10 games you wont want to miss this upcoming NHL season.

After the lockout-shortened 2013 season the 2013-2014 NHL season will return to normal and there will even be a few bonuses for hockey fans. The 2013-2014 NHL season will feature 34 more games for each team than last season and as a special bonus fans will once again get to see NHL action in October! With a full 82 game season and an Olympic break thrown into the mix the 2013-2014 NHL season is sure to be a good one; Here's 10 more games that you'll want to be in front of a television for.

October 8th 2013- New Jersey Devils vs. Vancouver Canucks

Finally the goaltending saga between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider is over- at least in Vancouver. After much debate that the Canucks had lost faith in Luongo and were ready to move forward with Schneider, the Canucks dealt Schneider on draft day to the New Jersey Devils. Schneider will return to Vancouver to see his former teammates in the first week of the season; the only question is whether he'll be between the pipes or not. But a Schneider/Luongo match-up would be a must watch game and could be a possible Olympic match-up.

October 28th 2013- Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres

For Buffalo Sabres fans, seeing former head coach Lindy Ruff behind the bench of another team is going to be tough. On October 28th Ruff will be behind the bench of the Dallas Stars as he makes his return to the First Niagara Centre as the Stars and Sabres square off. It'll be an emotional night for both parties, as Ruff returns to the place where he called home for 16 years and plays the role of the villain.

November 9th 2013- Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game SevenHey leafs, remember that time you almost eliminated the Boston Bruins in the first round but then collapsed? Well on November 9th the Leafs will be heading back to the scene of their historic collapse to face off against the big bad Bruins. There's a growing divisional rivalry between the Bruins and Leafs, but a rivalry of which the Bruins always seem to win. The Leafs came to within 10 minutes of slaying the Bruins, but a blown 3 goal lead with half a period left is something that will hollow in the minds of Leaf players forever. 180 days after the collapse the Leafs will once again have to face the Bruins, that may be a good game to start Jonathan Bernier.

November 30th 2013- Vancouver Canucks vs. New York Rangers

The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers took part in a coach swap this offseason as John Tortorella moved from New York to Vancouver and Alain Vigneault moved from Vancouver to New York. While neither coach will step onto the ice or score any goals the media circus that will be around both- specifically Tortorella will be something to see. Will we see another classic John Tortorella press conference? 

December 1st 2013- Detroit Red Wings vs. Ottawa Senators

In a move that surprised many, long-time Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson signed a deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Alfredsson was the longest serving captain in the NHL before he jumped ship because he felt the Wings gave him the best shot at a Stanley Cup. Will the Senators faithful boo their former beloved captain or will some "Alfie" chants breakout?

January 1st 2014- Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings

082212wings_leags1It may be a year late but on January 1st the Leafs will square off against the Wings in the annual Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium. Even with the NHL capitalizing on 6 "out-door" games next season, the Leafs and Red Wings Winter Classic will be a game you wont want to miss as the centre of the hockey universe takes on hockeytown. Plus there's finally a Canadian team playing in the Winter Classic- it's sure to be a classic.

January 11th 2014- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins

After one of the most exciting and nail bitting Stanley Cup Finals the NHL is going to make fans wait until January 11th for the first re-match between the Bruins and Blackhawks.

January 22nd 2014- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings

With the Red Wings being moved into the Eastern Conference the Blackhawks will only see their former rivals twice next season. On January 22nd the former Western Conference rivals will square off for the first time and renew the rivalry between the two original six squads.

January 24th 2014- Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings

It's not the Winter Classic and it may just be a lame attempt for the NHL to milk money and ruin something classic but the Ducks and Kings will kick off the NHL's new "Stadium Series" by playing an outdoor hockey game in LA. An out-door hockey in LA, yeah I'm looking forward to seeing that as well.

March 20th 2014- Minnesota Wild vs. New Jersey Devils

You can't but help feel sorry for the New Jersey Devils. They lost Ilya Kovalchuk after he bolted to the KHL this offseason and lost Zach Parise last offseason. Parise will finally have a chance to visit his former team in New Jersey for the first time since game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.

Although hockey fans will once again be able to enjoy an 82 game season, the 2013-2014 season will be a big change for a lot of teams and fans. There will be many "Home-comings" after one of the biggest off-seasons for players looking to chang scenery. Fans will also be treated to 6 out-door NHL games; Will the novelty quickly wear off? When the puck drops on October 1st another memorable NHL season will get underway as the Chicago Blackhawks look to defend their Stanley Cup title.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Chicago Blackhawks: 2013 Stanley Cup Champions

17 seconds. Take a moment and think of everything you can accomplish in a mere 17 seconds; now imagine scoring two goals within in 17 seconds to lay claim to the Stanley Cup. That probably sounds like a dream that every young hockey player dreams at night, but for the Chicago Blackhawks that dream became a reality on Monday night. The Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals as they wrapped up their historic season with a Stanley Cup.

GET-171460497-620x413In an ending that couldn't have been written any better, the Blackhawks managed the unthinkable. Trailing 2-1 with just over a minute left in the third period it seemed that the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks were destined to square off in a game 7 for the ages. Cue Bryan Bickell; Bickell quickly buried the puck to notch the tying goal after a pass from the corner by Jonathan Toews left Tuukka Rask tangled with his defenceman. Then just 17 seconds later Dave Bolland gained inside position in front of Rask and tipped home a Johnny Oduya point shot which won the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup.

For Toronto Maple Leaf Fans there was a sense of vengeance seeing the Boston Bruins, who tore out their hearts with a last minute third period comeback fall to the same fate. Of course the two losses' were completely different; For the Leafs it was a complete collapse, for the Bruins it was a hard fought battle right to the end and just so happened the Stanley Cup was at stake. Either way you look at it, both the Leafs and Bruins fell short of claiming the greatest trophy in all of sports and the Blackhawks proved that sometimes a hot start isn't a bad thing.

An 82 game season is so long, that that the first 10 games really aren't a huge deal; throughout the season you see multiple versions of the same team, some good and some not so good. But when you chop that 82 game season in half, the start becomes that much more important. When the puck dropped on the 2013 NHL season the Blackhawks didn't waste anytime, going 23-0-3 in their first 24 games, breaking the record for the longest NHL point streak to start a season. That start helped the Blackhawks dominate the West and win the Presidents trophy.

Heading into the playoffs, the Blackhawks were one of the favorites to end the season by hoisting the Stanley Cup. They survived a scare in round 2 and knocked off the defending champs to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Once in the Finals, the Blackhawks were set to square off against every teams nightmare; the Boston Bruins. If you're looking to see just how good the Bruins can be in the postseason just ask the Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple, all of whom are still trying to pick up the pieces from their crushing defeats at the hands of the Bruins. Needless to say, beating the Bruins- and Tuukka Rask was not going to be an easy task.

In an attempt to generate more offence Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were separated for the first three games in the Finals, but in game four the Blackhawks put the two back together and never looked back. In the next three games Toews and Kane along with Bryan Bickell combined for 6 goals and 7 assists to help the Bruins win the Cup.

Despite not having a goal in game 6, Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe for his efforts in the playoffs. Kane entered the playoffs with a slump scoring just 2 goals in the Blackhawks first 15 games, but as the Blackhawks went further Kane lit up. He scored 4 goals in the final two games of the Western Finals, including a hat-trick that helped eliminate the Kings. Kane finished the Stanley Cup run with nine goals and 19 assists and joins his partner in crime Toews having both won Conn Smyth's.

chicago-blackhawks-stanley-cupFor the Blackhawks this season was one to remember. From a record breaking start, to a comeback series victory against the rival Red Wings, to their 2nd Stanley Cup in four years. Ironically the Blackhawks closed out both their Stanley Cup victories in game 6. The Blackhawks appear to have built themselves a modern day NHL dynasty, which could reign throughout the NHL for years to come.

The final buzzer has sounded and the 2013 NHL season has come to an end. Up next is a long and painful offseason for hockey fans, but at least next season will start on time. Hats off to the Chicago Blackhawks, the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions.