NHL 2013-2014 season preview

A preview of the 2013-2014 season featuring players and teams to watch, new rules, and the setup of the new divisions.


Who will bring home the cup in the 2013-2014 season?

Tis’ the season for America’s favorite sport on ice – hockey. The NHL season puck drop was on October 1, and there is a lot to look forward to this season, especially because it won’t be shortened like last year due to the lack of a bargaining agreement.New to the NHL this year is hybrid icing. For those that don’t know, hybrid icing is when the puck is thrown down into the offensive zone from behind the red line, and a defender or player from the other team touches it before a player on the offensive team. Hybrid icing allows more playing time, allowing the referee to blow the play dead only if the defender is the closest to the puck.

Hybrid icing got mixed reviews from players, experts, and analysts, but nonetheless, it was approved and will be put into effect for the 2013-2014 season.

Also new to the NHL this year are the new divisions: Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, and Pacific. This makes four divisions for the two conferences, rather than six. Atlantic and Metropolitan belong to the Eastern conference, while the Central and Pacific belong to the Western conference.

With the new season comes trades, and new faces in new places.  Daniel Alfredsson, the former captain of the Ottowa Senators, will now be lacing up with the Red Wings from Hockeytown, USA (Detroit). Loui Eriksson, former Dallas stars winger, will be joining the Boston Bruins as a part of the seven player trade with Dallas, also sending young prodigy centerman Tyler Seguin to the Stars. The great Jarome Iginla, former captain of the Calgary Flames, was traded to the Penguins last year, and will now seemingly be ending his career in Boston. One of the league’s oldest players, Jaromir Jagr, will be skating with the New Jersey Devils.  Vincent Lecavelier, a long-time member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was picked up by the “Broadstreet Bullies” in Philly (Philadelphia Flyers).


(Best) Boston Bruins: The Bruins have been a consistent team for the last few decades, and have made huge additions such as a great leader and veteran, Jarome Iginla, and also a hard working winger in Loui Eriksson. The Bruins have been in the Stanley Cup finals two of the last three seasons, and I see potential for another appearance, and possibly a win for Boston.

(Worst) Florida Panthers: The Panthers just haven’t been anything special for a while in the league, and are currently last in the NHL power rankings and projections. The Panthers don’t have any names that seem to stick out, and don’t have much potential for this season.


(Best) Pittsburgh Penguins: I have a hatred for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sid the Kid, but nobody can doubt the talent this team possesses. The Penguins have arguably the best player in the NHL, and Evgeni Malkin, a scoring threat whenever he touches the puck. The pens prove every single year that they are a contender and powerhouse in this league.

(Worst) Philadelphia Flyers: This is a bold prediction, but Philadelphia has choked the last few seasons and it seems to be a rebuilding year for the Broadstreet Bullies. Claude Giroux and Vinny Lecavelier can’t carry the team themselves, and also the Flyers have a big problem in the net.


(Best) St. Louis Blues: The Blues are a favorite to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup this year by many fans, critics, and experts.  The Blues have an all-around strong team this year, with the draft of future all-star Vladimir Tarasenko, enforcer David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and, of course, Halak holding down the fort in net. The Blues are an easy pick for this division, and watch out for them come playoff time.

(Worst) Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have some veterans such as Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, and Olli Jokinen, but don’t offer much more past those players. Ondrej Pavalec hasn’t proved himself in goal quite yet, which is a big problem in Winnipeg.


(Best) San Jose Sharks: The Sharks have recently worked their way into the playoff picture consistently the past couple years. They were off to a very hot start last year, and could easily be hotter this season. San Jose has a stacked offense, including Joe Pavelski, Logan Coture, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, and, of course, the great Joe Thronton. Also, Antti Niemi is quickly becoming an elite goalie in the NHL, which should give the Sharks confidence.

(Worst) Calgary Flames: Being a Flames fan, it is hard to admit that they aren’t looking too promising this season. After losing Iginla last season, the leadership just hasn’t been there at the Saddledome. Mark Giordano was recently named the new captain of the squad, but also has to deal with the departure of Jay Bouwmeester, his defensive partner. The real problem for the Flames is in goal. With Mikka Kiprusoff retiring, Joey MacDonald gets the starting spot for the Flames. It’s undoubtedly a rebuilding year, and the Flames should be a future contender with Sven Baertschi, Chris Butler, Lee Stempniak, and Matt Stajan.

Who will win the Stanley Cup in the 2013-2014 NHL Season?

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Elder’s very own Coach Sovern is excited for the upcoming season of hockey. I asked Sovern what team was his favorite.

“The Sabres, unfortunately.” he said. Sovern is expecting a thirdplace divisional finish from his Sabres.

“It’s their first full year with a new coach,”said Sovern. “They’re a young team, but have a couple experienced guys such as the captains, Ryan Miller and Tomas Vanek.”

Sovern’s predicted Stanley Cup champion are the Chicago Blackhawks, which would be a repeat.

“Patrick Kane is a fellow Buffalonian, so I like to follow him,” said Sovern. He had an opinion on the new divisional splits as well. “I don’t like them,” he said. “The new split messes with old rivalries and tradition in the NHL.”

Stephen Louie, former University of Cincinnati and St. Xavier High School hockey player, is a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I am expecting a solid winning season with a playoff appearance,” he said. Louie believes that forward Marian Gaborik and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will have big years.

Louie had a viewpoint on the new hybrid icing rule as well.

“We actually played the same icing rules when I played for UC in college. I like it, but it takes away a lot of the reason why gritty-grinding forwards are even in the NHL,” said Louie. “There is still a sense of urgency, but it’s not quite the same since players can’t position himself in a way to create a turnover.”

He believes that the Pittsburgh Penguins will win the cup this year.

“The healthy Penguins have the best shot this year, with Chicago being a close second,” he said.

Whether you have a favorite team and are a die-hard fan, or just love to watch the sport, hockey is back, and fans are rejoicing for the 2013-2014 season.