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Old 10-05-2005, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default NHL Western Conference Preview

If there's a thread for the East, there should definitley be another for the far far far tougher, deeper West. There are 11 or 12 teams with legitimate playoff aspirations whereas the Eastern Conference really only has about 6 quality teams at most.

The two best teams out west play in the same division. I'll pick Calgary over Vancouver as the conference winner if only because Dan Cloutier will never be a top flight goalie. Sorry, Canucks.

A lot of people are high on Nashville this season. I agree that Tomas Vokoun will definitely blow up this year, but I hesitate to hand them that division so soon. For now, I'll take the proven commodity in Detroit. I also don't buy the Chicago hype. Khabibulin is excellent, to be sure, but the Blackhawks will offer him little help in front of goal and have almost no firepower.

Toughest division in the entire NHL? It's the Pacific. All five clubs are capable of a playoff run. The Sharks are a step ahead of everyone, right now. I think the Kings and Coyotes will be the surprises of the NHL this season. It's hard for me to leave talent-heavy Dallas (old age hurts them) and improved Edmonton (Ty Conklin in goal? Ew) out in the cold, but that's the way it's shaking down.

Western Conference:
Central division
St. Louis

Northwest division

Pacific division
*San Jose
*Los Angeles
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