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View Poll Results: Who will win the Western Confernce's Pacific Division?
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 0 0%
Dallas Stars 1 25.00%
Los Angeles Kings 0 0%
San Jose Sharks 3 75.00%
Phoenix Coyotes 0 0%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-10-2001, 06:07 PM   #1
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Default PREVIEW: Pacific Division

Well, we're now half done our season preview series of threads, with this week's look at the Western Conference's Pacific Division.

This division contains the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, and San Jose Sharks, and though it may not be the best division in the NHL, it will definitely be the most competitive division of them all.

Here is how I think these teams will finish:
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Dallas Stars
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. Phoenix Coyotes
5. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

I think this will be a break-out year for the San Jose Sharks, so long as last year's rookie of the year, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, continues his excellent performance in between the pipes in his sophomore year, though he did slow down a bit at the end of the season. This team is stacked on right wing, with Owen Nolan and Teemu Selanne, not to mention Patrik Marleau who I believe originally started out as a right wing, but has now switched to center. Heading up the first line will probably be a healthy Vincent Damphousse, and, with each year, Brad Stuart gets better and better on the blue line.

As always, though, the Dallas Stars are the team to beat this season in this division. If Belfour puts in another solid season despite his age, the Stars' chances at getting to the Finals are just as good as they were last year. This team has changed a bit with the loss of sniper Brett Hull, but have added to their offense this year with Valeri Kamensky, Pierre Turgeon, and Pat Verbeek, and they've also picked up a few 2nd or 3rd-line defensemen to make them a bit deeper in that category.

The final three teams are somewhat skeptical. In Vancouver, Felix Potvin had a cold 70% start to the season, but upon being traded to Los Angeles at roughly the same time Rob Blake was traded away from L.A., he exploded for something like a 13-5-5 record upon being traded to the Kings. (this is, of course, assuming the Kings can re-sign Potvin, who is a restricted free agent). The Kings have also lost Luc Robitallie, but still have a good offense headed by Zigmund Palffy and Adam Deadmarsh.

The race for last place will be between Phoenix and Anaheim. I don't even want to talk about Phoenix because with what they've done to the team payroll wise and unloading players-wise and how many new owners they've had over the past few years, it seems like they could've just stayed in Winnipeg. For the first time since 1997, Anaheim will have a new top line, as the right side of the Kariya-Rucchin-Selanne line is now, as mentioned earlier, in San Jose. Steve Sheilds will probably be the start in Anaheim (though I'm not positive on that), and deserves the chance to do so after the spotlight was taken off of him last season with Nabokov's brilliant performance in San Jose last season.

Everyone else, post your predictions for the Pacific Division!!!

:goof: RR1

Last edited by lmanchur.; 11-20-2001 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 09-12-2001, 04:27 PM   #2
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I voted for San Jose! I think this team has a lot of potential and they seemed to me to be on the edge of being a contender the last few years. Compare this to Dallas' dominance and Cup wins in the mid-to-late-'90s and you have some good matchups.
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Old 09-29-2001, 01:12 AM   #3
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Potvin's resigned! Although the loss of Luc is really gonna hurt the Kings.

I have to agree that the Sharks will win the division.
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Old 09-29-2001, 08:05 PM   #4
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Originally posted by icas
Although the loss of Luc is really gonna hurt the Kings.
Yeah -- he was a big part of the offense, but their offense is pretty deep, led by Zigmund Palffy.

However, now they have to go a full season without BOTH Rob Blake and Luc Robitallie... it will be difficult to repeat last year's 7th-seed magic, making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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