Russo's Western Conference predictions

  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 9:37 PM
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MICHAEL RUSSO’S WESTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

1. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

2013: 36-7-5, 1st in NHL (77 points)

• No Stanley Cup hangover for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, the NHL’s deepest blue line and the league’s most disrespected stingy goalie, Corey Crawford.

2. LOS ANGELES KINGS

2013: 27-16-5, 5th in West (59 points)

• 2012 Cup champs still are stacked with experience up front … and Jonathan Quick in net. Enough said.

3. ST. LOUIS BLUES

2013: 29-17-2, 4th in West (60 points)

• Blues are the sum of their parts. No explosive point-getters, but tons of balance and size and a defensive structure.

4. SAN JOSE SHARKS

2013: 25-16-7, 6th in West (57 points)

• Made the playoffs in 14 of the past 15 years, and Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski are poised to lead a team that went 12-5-1 down the stretch and nearly upset the Kings.

5. ANAHEIM DUCKS

2013: 30-12-6, 2nd in West (66 points)

• Maybe the NHL’s most shocking team last season, the Ducks will be relying on young Jakob Silfverberg and Emerson Etem to aid top-liners Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

6. MINNESOTA WILD

2013: 26-19-3, 8th in West (55 points)

• Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu will get support. Look for a breakout season from Charlie Coyle and impacts from Jason Pominville and young Nino Niederreiter.

7. VANCOUVER CANUCKS

2013: 26-15-7, 3rd in West (59 points)

• Goalie controversy theoretically has disappeared with Roberto Luongo the last man standing, but it’ll be fun watching John Tortorella make the Sedin twins block shots.

8. DALLAS STARS

2013: 22-22-4, 11th in West (48 points)

• Tyler Seguin has a lot to prove after being banished from Boston under much scrutiny, and look for big, talented Alex Chiasson to be given an important role.

9. EDMONTON OILERS

2013: 19-22-7, 12th in West (45 points)

• Lots of potential offense with Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and newbie David Perron, but this is a tiny team.

10. COLORADO AVALANCHE

2013: 16-25-7, 15th in West (39 points)

• Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and the Avs’ other cast of forwards should pile up goals, but the blue line is lousy.

11. NASHVILLE PREDATORS

2013: 16-23-9, 14th in West (41 points)

• Can a healthy Pekka Rinne return to form behind a new cast including Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg, Matt Hendricks and future stud defenseman Seth Jones?

12. WINNIPEG JETS

2013: 24-21-3, 9th in East (51 points)

• The talent on the ice beyond just Evander Kane is starting to become clearer, but it could be a tough transition to the Western Conference.

13. PHOENIX COYOTES

2013: 21-18-9, 10th in West (51 points)

• The team finally is owned by a person — not, uh, a league — but even with Mike Ribeiro and a star-in-the-making blue-liner in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, it’s hard to see much to fear.

14. CALGARY FLAMES

2013: 19-25-4, 13th in West (42 points)

• Flames are in complete rebuilding mode, which isn’t a bad thing for what was a blah team that lacked prospects. They’re coming off a great draft, but that won’t help this season.

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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