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NHL season is here, start Googling!

NHL season is upon us!

So grab your laptops and start Googling your favorite teams because with all the player movement this offseason, you’re gonna either need to do that or buy a program first time you go to the arena and see who is donning your team’s logo. Lots of players cashing in their jerseys for new logos.

Sports Climax will be covering the 2013-14 NHL season, hitting on the top stories each week.

Like one-punch KOs like this beautiful one delivered by Evander Kane on Matt Cooke, brow raising moments like this Canucks fan flashing her tits at Ben Eager and of course some actual hockey action.

Last year the Blackhawks took home hockey’s Holy Grail but as always it’s tough to be a repeat champion in this league so expect another great ride through the season and playoffs.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on Jess, our Sports Climax Girl who has a hard time making up her mind what her favorite jersey is…but with eyes like hers, who’s looking at the jersey.


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NHL Playoffs, Western Conference scoop

Now that we’ve laid out our Eastern Conference predictions complete with a few sexy pics of our Tampa Bay Lightning girl, it’s time for our fearless thoughts on the wild, Wild West.

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs Chicago Blackhawks (8)

This is not the same Blackhawks team having lost Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager, Victor Stalberg and most importantly, Dustin Byfuglein, who really provided a lot of grit to this Blackhawks team in their Stanley Cup run last year scoring 11 goals, five of those game winners.

The Hawks face a Canucks team who they have knocked out in the past two seasons in the playoffs. This time however, Vancouver is just too damn good, finishing first in goals, (264) first in power play percentage, and also finishing the regular season as the hardest team to score against.

To recap Vancouver has the prolific goal scoring ability of Ryan Kesler, the prolific passing of Daniel, and Henrik Sedin, and a number of guys who can lead the rush from the backline, like Canucks defender Christian Ehrhoff.

The Blackhawks on the other hand, are a shell of their former self.

With the Green Men on the ‘Nucks side and a good rivalry between these two squads, this one is closer than it really should be, but in the end…

Canucks in 6

San Jose Sharks (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (7)

I was going to call this one for Los Angeles and say that San Jose will continue their acrimonious distinction of being first round choking dog in the playoffs. Initially, I believed that Dustin Brown, who can change your game with his physical, aggressive play, and crease crashing ability, could be a major x-factor in this series.

Not only that, but Wayne Simmonds has a great developing game, twenty-one year-old Drew Doughty’s game is already there, as he is one of the finest young defenseman in the league, and Jonathan Quick might be the NHL’s most underrated goalie.

And yet the loss of Anze Kopitar is huge. Had he not been injured I believe the Kings would have won this series, but such is the nature of the NHL. With Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, and possible rookie-of-the-year Logan Couture, the Sharks just have too many weapons.

Sharks in 6

Detroit Red Wings (3) vs Phoenix Coyotes (6)

In what is usually a half-empty stadium, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett does a great job keeping his lines firing on all-cylinders despite having a breakout goal scorer.

On the other side, between Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, the Red Wings have many of them, plus a guy who continues to somehow defy age and be one of the most fundamentally sound defenseman in the league in Nicklas Lindstrom.

Phoenix on paper should not win this one. Not only can the Coyotes not match the Red Wings goal scoring ability, but they also have a penalty kill that is ranked 26th in the league.

Not much sense picking the Coyotes here, but this is the NHL playoffs, a place-in-time that sometimes defies logic. I picked the Coyotes against the Red Wings last season, and I’ll probably get burned for it again here, but with a good checking line of Taylor Pyatt, Vernon Fiddler and Lee Stempniak, a very deep and veteran defense, and the return of Martin Hanzel at center, I think Phoenix pulls the shocker.

Coyotes in 7

Anaheim Ducks (4) vs Nashville Predators (5)

Let’s keep this simple. Both of these teams have great defense, and on a team with not much ‘wow’ factor, Shea Weber is a lot of fun to watch out of Nashville. Still, one team has Corey Perry, a guy who scored 50 goals in the regular season, and one team does not.

Ducks in 5

Western Conference Final- Canucks over Ducks in 6

The best top-to-bottom team in the NHL in Vancouver will finally take it home to play Boston in the Stanley Cup Final.

The San Jose Sharks have a proud history of playoff choking, one that almost, almost rivals my Washington Capitals. In the Kings, we have the perfect team to set the Sharks up for the acrimonious distinction of losing once again in the first round.

Used with permission of the author.

Based in Washington, D.C. Michael Hoffman has covered D.C. sports for numerous publications and is the Washington Redskins columnist and Washington Capitals columnist for Examiner.com. Hoffman is also an NFL and NHL contributor to Sports Climax.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

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Oldest team in NHL is dominating again

The Detroit Red Wings always seem to find the right roster to compete and many times dominate in the NHL and this season has been no exception. More than a quarter of the way through the 2010-11 season, the Red Wings find themselves sitting in the top spot in the NHL with a 17-4-2 record and 38 points after 23 games.

How do they do it consistently year after year and even decade after decade?

A lot of teams would like to know so they can copy the formula that GM Ken Holland has put together but that’s a difficult task when there is a salary cap that exists; ask the Chicago Blackhawks about that.

The Blackhawks threw all their eggs in one basket last season and went for it all. Luckily for them they got to the Stanley Cup Finals and won the championship, otherwise they would be looking at an uphill struggle to win it this season.

The Blackhawks, who like many teams struggle to stay under the salary cap, were forced to let nine players go from that championship roster since June. A few of those players have found great success in their new homes like Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd in Atlanta who are No. 1 and 2 in scoring for the Thrashers with Ladd wearing a ‘C’ on his jersey and Big Buff wearing an ‘A’. Byfuglien actually leads the NHL in scoring for defenseman and that stat that may be hard to look at for Blackhawks fans who see their team six points behind division leading Detroit and just two points away from the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference.

So how do the Red Wings stay so consistent? One reason is Holland uses the team’s history of winning to attract several veterans over the years who are looking for an opportunity to have their name engraved on the cup. Players like Brett Hull, Chris Chelios and more recently Mike Modano have joined the Wings late in their careers with hope of hoisting the cup before exiting for the golf course.

Holland normally has blended veterans like these with a strong group of young players and draft picks to find the right chemistry. Going into this season however, many people questioned the Red Wings ability to stay on top since the veteran group far outweighed the youth, making their roster the oldest in the NHL.

Led by 40-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom and Mike Modano the Wings have 14 players over 30 years old with seven of them being over the age of 35. Balancing out the age scale this season is young goaltender Jimmy Howard is leading the charge. Howard has an astounding 15-2-2 record and 2.38 GAA and .919 save percentage. His mentor on the bench, Chris Osgood, has spent most of his career with the Red Wings and after a short stint outside the organization, turned down an opportunity for a huge contract elsewhere to finish his career in Detroit. Other players like Marian Hossa, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Dominic Hasek did the same with Hossa passing up a 70-plus million dollar multi-year deal to skate one year with the team in 2008 .

So GM’s around the league, there is the formula! Have a consistent draft and get veteran players to agree to skate for millions of dollars less per season than their agents can get them from somewhere else. Yeah, good luck with that, unless your Ken Holland running a team in Hockeytown.

Copyright © 2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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