Tag Archives: NHL

STX Demo Day

STX Demo Day
STX Demo Day

Drop everything you have planned for this weekend, STX will be making a stop at Great Skate this coming weekend. You’ll be able to test out the newest Surgeon and Stallion sticks along with the matching gloves in Great Skate’s shooting range.

STX will have the new Surgeon RX2 and Stallion 600 on hand along with the rest of their stick line which includes the RX2.1, RX2.2, Surgeon 400 and 200 sticks. While you’re testing out the new STX sticks you’ll also have the ability to try out STX’s impressive glove line.

STX currently offers two glove models, the traditional fit Stallion and the taper fit Surgeon. Much like the Vapor and Nexus lines from Bauer, the Surgeon and Stallion lines use a similar familial design and feature package.

For players who prefer a tighter fitting glove not unlike a lacrosse glove, the Surgeon is ideal. Brand new, it fits very snug to your hand without restricting mobility. As the glove breaks in there is plenty of play but it remains a unified fit. The Surgeon, meanwhile, has the fit and feel of a traditional four roll glove despite a more modern design.

Of course, the stars of this weekend’s STX Demo Day will be the twigs. You’ll get a chance to get your hands on the brand new STX Surgeon RX2. The Surgeon RX2 is a revolutionary new stick that has completely changed the traditional design of a hockey stick. Using a new, rounded/concave shaft design, the new Surgeon stick looks more like a lacrosse shaft than a hockey stick. However, this is more than just a gimmick.

The new shaft design of the Surgeon RX2 is designed to create more points of contact with the palm of your hand, ensuring greater control and power when shooting or stickhandling.

While at the STX Demo Day be sure to enter the various raffles and contests on hand which will allow you to win a number of prizes including a brand new Surgeon stick. You’re not going to want to miss this opportunity as the STX Demo Day runs all weekend at Great Skate.

NHL Trade Deadline Preview

Trade Deadline Preview
Trade Deadline Preview

The Maple Leafs and Senators got the trade season started early this year, pulling a nine-player swap that included Dion Phaneuf in the mix. With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching there are big names making the rounds in the rumor mill and we’re likely to see at least one shocker before the deadline passes on February 29.

Here’s a look at the top ten players who are at going to come up in rumors and may just be wearing a different uniform come March.

Jonathan Drouin Like fellow Bolt Steven Stamkos, Drouin has been talked about quite a bit this season. His current suspension by the club likely damaged his trade value quite a bit and the Lightning are in a very difficult position given both Stamos and Drouin (a pair of lottery picks) are two of the most popular trade chips in the entire league. If Drouin isn’t gone by the 29th I’d be shocked.

Eric Staal – The Hurricanes are only a handful of points out of a Wild Card spot and parting ways with their captain wouldn’t be the best way to continue that playoff push. But Staal and Cam Ward are both expected to hit the free agent market this summer and the Hurricanes would be wise to cash in rather than losing the pair for nothing.

Ryan Nugent-HopkinsRNH has only been whispered about here and there as the season has progressed. Most of the chatter surrounding the former first overall pick has been due to the emergence of Leon Draisaitl at center. Should Peter Chiarelli choose to trade RNH it would likely be to secure help on the blue line as the Oilers look to finish their rebuild.

Loui Eriksson While the Bruins are in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Ericsson’s contract demands may not meet what the Bruins are willing to invest moving forward. Should that be the case, taking advantage of Ericsson’s strong season would provide Boston great return for the future.

Dan Hamhuis The Canucks were said to be on the fence between buying and selling ahead of the deadline. While they haven’t fallen out of the playoff race yet, injuries to Brendan Sutter and Alex Edler could seal their fate. Should the Canucks decide to build rather than rent, Hamhuis could be on his way out.

Jamie McGinnThe Sabres Swiss Army Knife winger has played on every line for the team this year while sitting on the team’s number one power play unit. While the Sabres would probably be better off re-signing McGinn as they attempt to transition out of the league basement, his strong season could mean an impressive return for Tim Murray to play with.

Justin SchultzOnce the hottest college free agent, Schultz hasn’t fully converted into the player most scouts and pundits expected him to be at the NHL level. His place on one of the league’s weakest defense corps likely has a lot to do with his average returns but he could easily be a deadline casualty as the Oilers look to improve on the back end. He was even scratched earlier in the month as it was rumored a trade was imminent. I don’t expect him to be in Edmonton beyond March 1.

Keith Yandle The Rangers are in a tough spot as Ryan McDonagh is banged up and they can’t afford to lose another strong NHL defenseman. However, the Rangers paid a hefty price to acquire Yandle and as a pending free agent it is thought that the Blueshirts may be looking to recoup some of their investment. Given that the Rangers Cup window is probably closing, I’d be amazed to see Yandle traded, but expect to see his name attached to plenty of e4 reports and more.

Mikkel BoedkerBoedker is expected to ask for a big contract this summer which could alter Don Maloney’s approach in keeping his team in the Western Conference playoff hunt. The return he could get for one of the leading scorers on the Coyotes roster. It’s hard to see Maloney parting ways with Boedker given Arizona’s place in the standings. However, the return would likely rival that of Keith Yandle from last year’s deadline.

At this point the Phaneuf trade may wind up being the biggest blockbuster of the trade season but that could easily change if Stamkos winds up waiving his no trade clause. The deadline is always entertaining and I don’t doubt this year will be any different.

New Goal Skates are a Game Changer in the Crease

New Goal Skates are a Game Changer in the Crease
New Goal Skates are a Game Changer in the Crease

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that any significantly new design features were utilized in goalie skates. However, as the need for aggressive lateral play has grown prevalent, the ability to push and attack from the butterfly is now a hallmark of nearly every goalie’s game.

Properly executed, goaltenders can remain highly mobile even with their pads on the ice after making a save. For today’s butterfly goaltender, lateral mobility after making a save is a tool needed almost every play. It’s also a tool that can be limited by the traditional cowling on goal skates.

The point at which your blade leaves the ice on account of the cowling is affected by the attack angle of your skates. This attack angle has been a subject of evolution in recent years as Bauer in particular has led the way in this regard. By increasing the height of the cowling, more of the skate blade remains in contact with the ice longer. For example, the Supreme One.7 goalie skates feature a tall cowling which allows a goaltender to keep their pad level low as they push side-to-side.

Of course, no skate is built perfectly in that regard. Even the most recent Bauer skates still will catch on the ice despite of new cutouts on the cowling instep. So, the new OD1N 1S skates feature no cowling at all. This is a revolutionary new design feature which leaves the skates looking far more like a pair of forward skates than goal skates.

The new Bauer goal skates will certainly be unlike anything any goalie has ever seen just as the performance benefits will be unlike anything they have seen. The newest goal skates will give players the ability to leave their pads that much closer to the ice without their foot sliding out on a push. For goaltenders who wear their pads particularly loose, it wouldn’t be surprising if there is the illusion of pads not even leaving the ice despite the goaltender pushing with their power leg.

There will probably be a point where the improvement doesn’t offer any further benefit, but we haven’t reached that point. Not yet at least. The skates coming on the horizon will be truly revolutionary to the position and the goalie skates at Great Skate today offer a drastic improvement in play for butterfly goaltenders.

New Bauer Goalie Skates
New Bauer Goalie Skates

What They’re Wearing – Jack Eichel

What They’re Wearing - Jack Eichel
What They’re Wearing – Jack Eichel

The most eagerly anticipated arrival in Western New York this season is that of Jack Eichel.

Protective: CCM Ultra Tacks – Eichel sports CCM Ultra Tacks shoulder pads and elbow guards, which utilizes CCM’s new D3O technology which minimizes weight while maximizing protection. Floating spine and sternum protectors ensure additional protection in key areas on the shoulder pads. The elbow pads utilizes the same D3O technology and molded foam armor as the shoulder pads.

Helmet: Bauer IMS 9.0Possibly the most comfortable helmet in Bauer’s line. A strong combination of the best features of the ever popular 4500 and the newest technology in the IMS helmets. Poron XRD foam reinforcements and a VN Foam liner ensure maximum comfort in addition to impressive protection.

Skates: Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3The flagship skate of the Supreme line is a lightweight, powerful skate built on an anatomic fit profile that utilizes CURV composites for an unparalleled fit.

Stick: Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3Like the MX3 skates, the TotalOne stick is a perfect combination of power and strength. Eichel’s game is often described as a smooth combo of those exact traits, as his heavy shot is one of the hallmarks of his game and was on display early during development camp.

Gloves: Bauer Supreme MX3Eichel wears is the responsive, anatomically designed Supreme MX3.

Jetspeed skate preview

CCM JetSpeed Skates
CCM JetSpeed Skates

The next evolution of the CCM skate line has arrive. The CCM JetSpeed skates are on the Great Skate shelves today. The new skate places a focus on increased footspeed thanks to a brand new fit profile.

 While the JetSpeed features a similar graphics package and look to the RBZ skates line but that’s just about where the similarities end. The RBZ featured a very comfortable, wide boot design which actually ran a good size bigger than most other skates on the market. While the RBZ offered a number of impressive features, the overall fit wasn’t conducive to increased footspeed.

 The JetSpeed fixes that.

CCM JetSpeed Skate
CCM JetSpeed Skate

 The entire fit profile is different in the JetSpeed skate. The narrow boot features an improved heel lock and low volume design to ensure a contoured fit. CCM’s Rocketframe composite heel construction wraps fully around the heel and promotes a snug fit in the heel and up through the ankle.

 Along with Rocketframe, the Speedcore 2 heat moldable boot creates a truly unique fit for each and every player once the skates come out of the over. The contoured boot is promoted through the Speedcore 2 construction. The narrow toe and forefoot area continues the contoured, anatomic fit profile of the skate.

 All of this ensures that the JetSpeed skates are the most responsive skates on the market. With a more responsive skate, you can count on a quicker power transfer and more explosive starts and stops.

 CCM also developed a new tongue for the JetSpeed skates. The JetProtect tongue is a multi-layered feature that features a thick, pro-style felt backing with a hard shell on the outermost layer to provide additional protection.

 The Speedblade 4.0 holder and Hyperglide runner return as mainstays of the entire CCM skate line.

 Nothing is more drastic in difference or performance than the new contoured fit, however. The stiff carbon boot construction is built to react to each and every stride taken on the ice, giving players next level speed and responsiveness.

CCM Ribcor Skates

CCM Ribcor Skates
CCM Ribcor Skates

The Pump will not be going away as CCM takes over the Reebok hockey brand. In fact, the new CCM Ribcor 50 skate features the newest version of the Pump technology.

The Ribcor 50 also features a new and improved tongue, a state-of-the-art quarter package and the new Speedblade Black runner.

CCM’s new black steel runner is designed to promote longer life with the steel no matter how many sharpenings you put the skates through. The new SB Black runner is not only featured on the Ribcor 50 skate but on the Ribcor 48 skate as well.

As with every elite model skate, the Ribcor features a fully heat modable core and a full carbon quarter package for a stiff, responsive, lightweight boot. A moldable boot like the Ribcor allows for a fully custom fit while also providing a stiff boot for an explosive first three steps. Of course, the added feature of the pump also provides for additional comfort customization for each player wearing the new Ribcor skates.

A brand new, felt tongue is featured on the skate for a classic look and feel while still featuring innovative lace bite technology without sacrificing comfort or looks.

Each price point Ribcor model shares many features of the elite model with minimal sacrifices in each model. The Ribcor 48 offers nearly every feature of the Ribcor 50, including the SB Black runner, SpeedBlade 4.0 holder and the fully heat moldable Flexcore.

The Ribcor 46, 44 and 42 skates are also heat moldable although each model features the traditional SpeedBlade runner (not black) and a more basic quarter package and tongue construction.

Each of the CCM Ribcor skate model can be found at Great Skate’s impressive inventory of skates, ensuring that you can find the right size and model of skate for your game. Stop by today to get fitted for the newest CCM Ribcor model.

What They’re Wearing – Jack Eichel

What They’re Wearing - Jack Eichel
What They’re Wearing – Jack Eichel

The most eagerly anticipated arrival in Western New York this summer was that of Jack Eichel. He made his on-ice debut with the Sabres at their annual development camp and while his number hadn’t been decided when he took the ice, his decision on equipment was.

Eichel appears to be continuing to wear the same equipment he did at Boston University and through a photo on the Sabres Facebook page, we also know what he wears as protective equipment as well.

 CCM Ultra Tacks - Eichel sports CCM Ultra Tacks shoulder pads and elbow guards,
CCM Ultra Tacks – Eichel sports CCM Ultra Tacks shoulder pads and elbow guards,

Protective: CCM Ultra Tacks – Eichel sports CCM Ultra Tacks shoulder pads and elbow guards, which utilizes CCM’s new D3O technology which minimizes weight while maximizing protection. Floating spine and sternum protectors ensure additional protection in key areas on the shoulder pads. The elbow pads utilizes the same D3O technology and molded foam armor as the shoulder pads.

Helmet: Bauer IMS 9.0Possibly the most comfortable helmet in Bauer’s line. A strong combination of the best features of the ever popular 4500 and the newest technology in the IMS helmets. Poron XRD foam reinforcements and a VN Foam liner ensure maximum comfort in addition to impressive protection.

Skates: Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3The flagship skate of the Supreme line is a lightweight, powerful skate built on an anatomic fit profile that utilizes CURV composites for an unparalleled fit.

Stick: Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3Like the MX3 skates, the TotalOne stick is a perfect combination of power and strength. Eichel’s game is often described as a smooth combo of those exact traits, as his heavy shot is one of the hallmarks of his game and was on display early during development camp.

Gloves: Warrior Covert QR1One of the only non-Bauer items Eichel wears is the responsive, anatomically designed QR1 gloves. The QR1 introduces new features such as the Axis Flex thumb for increased dexterity in addition to the previous features from the original DT1 gloves which provided a tapered, responsive fit.

NHL Free Agent Frenzy

NHL
NHL

Today marks the opening of free agency in the NHL and while the Draft has evolved into the far more interesting swap-meet, the opening of free agency still promises plenty of exciting deals and the opportunity for teams to revamp their rosters.

Here in Great Skate’s neck of the woods, the Buffalo Sabres are expected to remain active after pulling off a pair of big trades on draft day while coming away with Jack Eichel who ought to become the face of their franchise almost overnight.

The Sabres are still in need of help along the blueline and perhaps even up front. They’ll also need to secure some depth and help for their minor league team in Rochester, but the primary focus will be placed on the free agent market. Here are a few names the Sabres will (or should) be considering.

Paul Martin

He’s been on the lips of many Sabres fans recently as his time spent with Dan Bylsma isn’t being discounted one bit. He made $5m last year and still offers a quality two-way element that if deployed on Buffalo’s second pairing could be a fine addition to the team.

The challenges on Martin are two-fold. He’s creeping up on his late 30s which means he will likely want to go to an established competitor while also securing his established market rate. For the Sabres, offering him a longer deal to potentially buy him away from a contender could put them in cap jail in a few years if Martin sticks around. However, Martin has shown the ability to carry significant minutes the last few seasons with very little side effects. Bet on a two or three-year deal at $5m for the Sabres to be in the running for Martin.

Johnny Oduya

Oduya is going to be a very popular option on the free agent market as he’s collected a pair of Stanley Cups in the last three years and managed added minutes very well in the playoffs. While he’s starting to age a bit, he’s still shown the ability to be a quality contributor.

Oduya is a terrific skater who would slot in well on Buffalo’s second pair. He likely has a similar point of view as Martin as he may prefer an established contender. While his deal this year was below $4m annually, I would expect the Sabres need to push to that $4m floor to ensure they could grab him for three years.

Alec Martinez (trade)

This is more of a pie-in-the-sky idea, but it’s something I’m very keen on. At one point, some were discussing that Martinez could be moved in order to accommodate for cap concerns in Los Angeles. That’s not likely the case anymore and attempting to snag Martinez in a trade could be a challenge.

Martinez is a solid two-way threat who could not only fill a vital role for the Sabres next year but his age would keep him in the fold for the foreseeable future. I’d expect the Sabres would need to dangle a young forward like Marcus Foligno or Johan Larsson along with a mid-round draft pick to land the man who scored the Cup winning goal in 2014.

John Moore

The 2009 Columbus first rounder hasn’t really found his way in the NHL, but he’s carved out a role as a bottom pair contributor who can skate like the wind. Moore is more of an offensive threat than a stout defender, but in sheltered minutes he could offer the Sabres a fair bit of offense from the third pair.

As a lefty who was just allowed to walk by the Coyotes, Moore could combine with the likes of Mike Weber and perhaps Mark Pysyk on the third pair to form a quality pairing that could offer a bit more offense when Moore was dressed or a bit more grit if Weber was dressed. A two-year deal at $1m would be a significant raise for Moore and would give the Sabres a smart, third pair signing.

Justin Williams

Much in the mold of Paul Martin, Williams would be a terrific signing but it may be tough to lure the aging, three-time Cup winner away from a contender. Williams will likely need a contract north of $4.5m and at least three years from the Sabres to come east. If they landed him, Williams would offer the Sabres’ top six a terrific veteran presence as the group begins to mature.

Williams is a terrific option who may be tough to land simply because he’s coming off two Cups with the Kings and may prefer to stay in the Stanley Cup hunt. As improved as the Sabres have become they still need to go a little further to start really becoming a free agent destination.

Michael Frolik

A personal favorite, Frolik is an impressive middle-six winger who could flip to the left or right side (in a pinch). His possession numbers are terrific and he’s coming off of a playoff run with the Jets. He’s a terrific penalty killer and would be a nice addition for the Sabres.

Frolik also happens to be the most attractive free agent option this year. He’s likely going to get a long, lucrative deal and while the Sabres have the space to grab him, I’m unsure if they want to devote a five year deal to any free agents.

Also, take a look at what these guys wear on the ice, you can find every piece of equipment worn by the pros at Great Skate.

Cup Captains rely on Bauer

Stanley Cup Finals 2015
Stanley Cup Finals 2015

Both Bauer athletes, Jonathan Toews and Steven Stamkos utilize similar pieces of Bauer gear, although they’re hardly uniform in the choices they make.

Jonathan Toews

Bauer 4500 helmetA favorite amongst many NHLers, the 4500 is short on frills but long on comfort. The VN foam liner is the type used by nearly every player in the NHL and the 4500’s classic look means it passes the mirror test 10 out of 10 times.

Bauer Supreme TotalOne NXG glovesAn elite faceoff man and sublime offensive threat, Toews relies on the snug, tapered fit of the TotalOne line. While he hasn’t graduated to the new TotalOne MX3 gloves just yet, the TotalOne NXG isn’t short on features. The anatomically designed fit gives a tight fit on the back of the hand that is reinforced with Bauer’s Poron XRD foam. The three-piece index finger and pro segmented cuff are ideal for mobility and responsiveness and perfect for a player whose puck handling, shooting and passing are the highlights of his skillset.

Bauer Vapor APX2 skatesBauer’s elite skate line, the APX2 is ultra-lightweight and the preferred skate of countless pros and elite players. The X-Rib design stabilizes the boot with additional stiffness and structure while the Curv composite boot construction ensures massive weight savigns. The APX2 also introduced Bauer’s new Lightspeed Edge TUUK that features a quick change trigger for easy steel replacement.

Bauer Nexus 8000The Nexus line is designed for a balanced look and feel compared to the durable, power of the Supreme line and the lightweight agility of the Vapor line. The Nexus remains incredibly light and utilizes a mid-kick profile that is not unlike that of the TotalOne stick. The Pure Shot blade profile promotes a stiffer blade profile to prevent twisting on passes or shots, creating a more accurate release time after time.

Steven Stamkos

Bauer 4500 helmetLike Toews, Stamkos uses the classic 4500 helmet. The classic design is low key and the helmet’s profile is narrow. You can’t go wrong in the looks department with the 4500.

Bauer Supreme TotalOne NXG glovesLike his fellow captain, Stamkos chooses the TotalOne NXG gloves on a nightly basis. One of the league’s elite pure scorers, Stamkos likely favors the snug, responsive fit that the TotalOne’s anatomic design offers. These are a perfect glove for snipers who prefer their glove and hand to move as one while they pick corners on the powerplay.

Bauer Vapor 1X skatesGraduating to the newest release from Bauer, Stamkos certainly sees benefits from the lightest skate that Bauer offers at this time. The Vapor 1X skates utilizes Bauer’s revolutionary new 37.5 material in the liner to assist in moisture absorption and evaporation. Bauer has improved on the X-rib design from the APX line while still utilizing super light Curv composite through the entire boot. The Lightspeed Edge remains as the holder but a new blade provides a better angle of attack than previous offerings.

Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3 stickAs one of the league’s best scorers, Stamkos often capitalizes on off wing slap shots on the powerplay. His heavy, lethal shot is enhanced by the TotalOne MX3 stick thanks to the mid-kick and double concave construction. The double concave taper is designed to minimize torsion during shots to not only increase accuracy but to create improved power transfer through the shaft.

Great Skate Stanley Cup Preview

Stanley Cup Finals 2015
Stanley Cup Finals 2015

After over 1100 games, we have finally reached the peak of the NHL season. The Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning survived seven-game series in their respective Conference Finals in order to advance to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

It’s a tale of two teams as the Blackhawks return to the final for the third time since 2010 while the Lightning return for their second ever Stanley Cup appearance. Chicago has carved out a true dynasty – or as close to a dynasty that you can come to – in the salary cap era. The Blackhawks three Cup appearances include an addition to two Conference Final defeats (2009 & 2014) to pair with seven-straight playoff berths.

Tampa Bay came within one game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, losing out to Boston at the TD Garden but have not seen such success since. Their first round exit last year at the hands of Montreal ended a two-year playoff drought. However, Tampa’s skilled core is similar to that of the Blackhawks as both teams have built through the top and middle of the draft effectively while supplementing their rosters via the trade market.

Why Tampa Will Win

Tampa Bay boasts the most lethal line in this year’s playoffs and Steven Stamkos isn’t even part of the trio. The Triplets – comprised of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat – have driven the Bolts through the first three rounds as Johnson appears to be a strong favorite for the Conn Smythe. Stamkos, along with Alex Killorn and Valteri Flippula gives Tampa an impressive one-two punch that has been very difficult to defend.

Victor Hedman has been a handful in each round as he’s played a 200-foot game and has been in on a number of vital scoring plays thus far. He’s been eating minutes for the Lightning but hasn’t been overloaded thanks to John Cooper’s penchant for dressing seven defensemen.

The seven defensemen, 12 forwards line up has allowed Cooper to limit matchups and stay in control of who his players are on the ice against and when. It has also given the Lightning an extra option on the back end in case of injury or poor play. While the decision is certainly unique, it has paid off in spades for the Bolts thus far.

Ben Bishop would probably be given the edge by most in the goaltending matchup this series and he’ll need to come through in the clutch to push Tampa Bay to their second Cup championship. He has had his struggles this postseason but has also shut things down when necessary. He may be the most important piece for Tampa as they enter the series.

Why Chicago Will Win

The Blackhawks are a well read book at this point. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and company have all walked this path before. Nearly this exact roster was one goal from playing in the Cup Final last year and nothing should be expected to shake this group at this point.

Like Tampa Bay, Chicago’s depth makes them difficult to defend. When you can pick from a group of Toews, Kane, Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad, Teuvo Teravainen, Antoine Vermette and Brad Richards, things are going well. The Hawks sport more than their fair share of 200-foot players and don’t be surprised to see one of Tampa’s two big lines shutout for most of this series.

The only potential hiccup for the Hawks could come on the backend. Keith, Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya have seen big minutes through the first three rounds and that isn’t about to change. While the Hawks have rotated others through, they’ve played four defensemen for a majority of their series. Should that fatigue factor catch up to them, it could be a problem. However, Duncan Keith may or may not be a hockey cyborg who does not tire, so don’t bet against that group just yet.

Corey Crawford’s play this postseason has been erratic. He was pulled from the Nashville series only to retake the net and lead a comeback in the first round. He has been solid but not spectacular through the second and third rounds and now faces another strong offensive group. Should he continue his strong play, he’ll tip the scales in Chicago’s favor. If he struggles, there may not be enough runway left for the Blackhawks to recover.

The Verdict

This ought to be an incredibly fun series. The Lightning have shown the ability to adapt to their opponents and play a very entertaining game. Chicago has been here and done that, but their impressive skillset makes them an easy favorite. While many will be quick to point to the goaltending as the biggest showdown, how Tampa handles Chicago’s depth is what will set this series apart for me.

If the Bolts manage to keep The Triplets and the Stamkos line clicking, they might just run away with the Cup. But if Chicago silences even one of those two groups, it will be an easy win for the Windy City. I’m not betting against the Blackhawks depth, Chicago in 7.