Expectations are always troublesome. Expect that something will happen, that some team will win, and it usually doesn't end up that way. As my spiritual director taught me on the long retreat, "Expectations are the seedbed of resentment."
Ask the Las Vegas bookies, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to win the Stanley Cup. They have the two best players in the world (Crosby and Malkin), a deep and talented team, a Cup winner in goalie Fleury and coach "Disco" Dan Bylsma, great end-of-season additions in Iginla and Jokinen and Murrow, and 22 wins out of 26 games played going into the playoffs.
Yet most writers I've seen like the Chicago Blackhawks, the #1 team in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League, and the winner of the President's Trophy for most points in the season, to win it all.
I hate when our hometown teams are expected to win. The pressure bends the players, inflates egos, and usually brings about a big fall. (See, the Pittsburgh Penguins, one year ago.)
But...going against the grain, and my usual pessimistic nature, I am predicting that our flightless birds will win the 2013 Stanley Cup.
Here's the details:
In the Eastern Conference
Penguins (1) over Islanders (8)
Canadiens (2) over Senators (7)
Capitals (3) over Rangers (6)
Maple Leafs (5) over Bruins (4)
Penguins over Maple Leafs
Capitals over Canadians
Penguins over Capitals
In the Western Conference
Blackhawks (1) over Wild (8)
Ducks (2) over Red Wings (7)
Sharks (6) over Canucks (3)
Kings (5) over Blues (4)
Blackhawks over Sharks
Ducks over Kings
Ducks over Black Hawks
Stanley Cup finals
Pittsburgh Penguins over Anaheim Ducks