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The Chicago Blackhawks should be your choice. A core of young veterans (Kane, Toews) along with several rookies (Saad, Shaw, Krueger, Hjalmarrson) that show a lot of promise and are learning from the best veterans around (Seabrook, Keith, Hossa, Sharp). A super fan base all over the USA and a new management team dedicated to keeping that fan base happy. Couple that with being an original 6 team, and on the verge of setting the record for most consecutive games without a regulation loss, you need not look any further!
As I mentioned before, my parents were big 'Hawks fans back in the day when they lived in northern Indiana (the "original six" days). It certainly is tempting to root for them, but it might make me look like a bandwagon fan this season (since they seem headed to the President's Cup win).
Make that 2 votes for Chicago...
One of the original six teams is always a safe bet - faithful fans, a few star players at least ever few years, nice uniforms, and long histories that include a tradition of winning (or at least trying to win). They're sort of classic and never go out of style, kind of like Coca-Cola, Levi's jeans or black pants.
You have a point about always being classics with great tradition. Not sure how to put your vote down, though. Let me know if you have a preference for one of the "six"...
Have a look at the Edmonton Oilers. The youngest team in the NHL, lots of talent and excitement.
Speaking of great tradition, how about the original home of "the Great One"? Hmmm...I'll have to give them some consideration, John.
Plus, there's nothing like "getting in on the ground floor" BEFORE the rise to excellence. So wanted Yakupov for Columbus.
1 vote for Edmonton...
the natural choice would be the closest team -- the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have an exciting core of players including Stamkos, St. Louis, Lindback, and Conacher.
I vote to stay local.... GO LIGHTNING!!
It WOULD be much easier to see the games on cable or in person. And they ARE fun to watch most nights.
1 vote for Tampa Bay...
As me being from Hockey Town, I'd say Pick Detroit. I do however have a friend that I went to school with that plays for Carolina and they would be my 2nd choice
Carolina is pretty fun to watch this season. That top line with Staal and Tlusty has been unstoppable. Hope they can withstand the loss of Ward.
You did list Detroit as your fave, though, so I'll put you down for the 2nd vote for the Wings...
Still have cousins around Chicago and northern Indiana, so they've been pushing the 'Hawks as well, Elizabeth. I even have a cousin who moonlights on the weekends as a 'Hawks beer vendor. "Cold beer here!"
The Wild really jumped into the free agent market this season, didn't they Michael? Give them time and they might be a team to watch. Backstrom is still one of my favorite goalies (1st star last week in the league, I believe).
1 vote for Minnesota...
Don't forget Neal, Letang, and Fleury. Definite chance of seeing another title, that's for sure.
1 vote for Pittsburgh...