Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/18/13
    Finally, after months and months of everyone involved being morons, causing 113 days, 625 games, and the biggest outdoor hockey game in history to be cancelled, hockey fans can finally say “Game On!”  The NHL has a new 10-year labor agreement, and is set to start the shortened, 48 game 2013 season on Saturday, January 19.  Find out what you need to know about every team in the NHL for the upcoming season, this time predicting how the season will play out, and who will be in the playoffs.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish in the race for the Stanley Cup, including who will take home Lord Stanley’s Cup.   Trade Deadline Sellers Columbus, Montreal, Calgary, Anaheim   Wait ‘Til Next Year Winnipeg, Colorado, Florida, Toronto, Edmonton   Bubble Teams New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose, Nashville     Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions First Round 1. BOS over 8. WSH (4-2) 2. NYR over 7.  TB (4-1) 6.  PHI over 3.  CAR (4-3) 4.  PIT over 5.  BUF (4-2)   Second Round 1.  BOS over 6.  PHI (4-3) 2.  NYR over 4.  PIT (4-2)   Conference Finals 2.  NYR over 1.  BOS (4-2) ECF MVP:  Henrik Lundqvist   Rangers talent upgrade allows them to make the jump to the Stanley Cup Final.  Strong play of Lundqvist shuts down everyone New York faces.   Western Conference Playoff Predictions First Round 1.  STL over 8.  DET (4-2) 2.  LA over 7.  DAL  (4-1) 6.  MIN over 3.  VAN (4-3) 5.  PHX over 4.  CHI (4-3)   Second Round 1.  STL over 6.  MIN (4-1) 2.  LA over 5.  PHX (4-2)   Conference Finals 1.  STL over 2.  LA (4-3) WCF MVP:  David Backes   While the Kings have championship experiece, the Blues actually have more talent.  St Louis got a taste of the playoffs last year, and will use it to propel themselves into the Stanley Cup Final, led by bruising forward Backes.   Stanley Cup Final Prediction WC1 STL over EC2 NYR (4-3) Conn Smythe Winner:  Alex Pietrangelo   In what will be a tight contest, likely with a couple low scoring, overtime games, the Blues blue line depth, and scoring, will be enough to push St Louis over the top, and allow the Blues to claim their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.  While the Rangers are the preseason favorite, they just don’t have the depth of the first tier Western Conference teams yet.  After battling through the wars of the Eastern Conference, the speed and skill of St Louis will be more than King Henrik and the Blueshirts can handle.  However, Blues/Rangers will be a huge ratings boost for NBC, showing that, in the end, Gary was right: the fans will come back.   2013 NHL Awards Predictions Hart Trophy (MVP):  Evgeni Malkin Vezina Trophy (Goalie):  Henrik Lundqvist Calder Trophy (Rookie):  Mikael Granlund Norris Trophy (Defenseman):  Zdeno Chara Selke Trophy (Defensive Forward):  Jonathan Toews Jack Adams Trophy (Coach):  Ken Hitchcock Rocket Richard Trophy (Goal Leader):  Steven Stamkos Art Ross Trophy(Scoring Leader):  Henrik Sedin   There you have it.  Everything you need to know to be on top of the 2013 NHL season.  The game is back on the ice, and with so many game in so little time, every game matters.  Expect tight races right down to the last day of the season, and an intense, long playoff battle for sport’s greatest trophy:  the Stanley Cup.  Game on.     Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms.  He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long.  Look for new articles throughout the week.  He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy.  If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at bryan.vickroy@gmail.com.
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