The race to the Stanley Cup has begun, and for Canucks fans it’ll be one spent sitting in the stands and placing bets on the winners. But even though the hometown club has a date with the driving range, there’s no reason why you can’t join in on the fun by jumping on a playoff bandwagon.
So if you’re having trouble picking a team to cheer for, then let this handy guide help you make your final choice. Can your (temporary) favourite win it all?
Pros: Not only are the Predators one of the best teams in the NHL, but one of the most thrilling and entertaining. With all the A-list anthem singers and relentless chanting, you’d think Bridgestone Arena was hosting a music festival at the same time. Also, P.K. Subban.
Cons: I’m drawing a blank here…unless you hate gold helmets, catfish or cheering for Presidents Trophy winners.
Pros: They’re the back-to-back champions. You shouldn’t need many other reasons than that, but if you do; Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil freakin’ Kessel.
Cons: Do you really want to watch the Pens win the Cup for the third straight season? Maybe it’s time to share the wealth, guys.
Vegas Golden Knights
Pros: They’re one of the best stories in all of sports, with “Wild Bill” Karlsson leading the offensive charge and Marc-Andre Fleury manning the net. Only a jealous cynic would cheer against them.
Cons: Let’s be honest, most of us are jealous cynics. How DARE a new team have any kind of success?!
Tampa Bay Lightning
Pros: Stevie Y has built one of the most well-rounded franchises in NHL history, with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov both worthy of MVP votes and Andrei Vasilevskiy posting a Vezina caliber campaign. This group needs a championship.
Cons: The injury bug always seems to have a vendetta against the Bolts in the spring. Let’s hope they can stay out of the hospital wing.
Pros: We can always relate to a team with a franchise-long Cup drought, especially when they have one of the greatest players in NHL history looking to finally capture the ultimate prize.
Cons: This bandwagon usually breaks down in the second round. Or loses to the Penguins. Or both.
Pros: An exciting Canadian team with practically no unlikeable qualities. They’d be perfect if somebody convinced Patrik Laine to choose a better beard style.
Anyone else think it’s time for Patrik Laine to shave his beard? pic.twitter.com/fdA5cyjAoB
— Everything Hockey (@EHClothing) March 9, 2018
Cons: The Jets joined the league in 2011-12, the season after the Canucks made it to the Final. Imagine the frustration if they win it all before we do.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Pros: Not many teams are as entertaining as the Auston Matthews-era Leafs. Even when they lose, they’re fun as hell. They’re also one of Canada’s only two hopes at ending the national Cup drought.
Cons: No matter who’s on the roster, they’re still the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Pros: The Jackets are anchored by one of the NHL’s most underrated cores that features Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and defending Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky. They haven’t even won a playoff series yet, so you can hop on the bandwagon as a trend setter.
Cons: Wait, who’s their head coach again?
Pros: They’re a massive underdog that features a Hart candidate in Nathan MacKinnon and a speedy young core. They might end up being this year’s Predators.
Cons: They’re playing this year’s Predators. Good luck with that.
New Jersey Devils
Pros: The Devils have made the leap from the league basement to a wild card spot in just one season, thanks in large part to the youth movement they pushed with Nico Hischier, Will Butcher and Miles Wood. Maybe if they go on a decent playoff run Canucks management will take the hint. They’ve also earned our gratitude for taking Taylor Hall out of Edmonton.
Cons: They’ve got a lot of work left to go in their rebuild, and with Tampa Bay standing in front of them you’d be betting on the ultimate dark horse.
Pros: They always win in entertaining fashion. Claude Giroux is pretty awesome too.
Cons: They always lose in entertaining fashion. Their general streakiness is a habit they need to kick if they want to have success in the playoffs.
The Now or Nevers
San Jose Sharks
Pros: Local boys Evander Kane and Martin Jones have been lighting it up lately, and the team’s inability to win the whole enchilada is a pain we know all too well. Also, their jerseys are sick.
Cons: If the Sharks win the Cup before the Canucks do, I’ll never hear the end of it from my local Bay Area friends.
Pros: Seeing Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Miller finally get to lift the Cup would be a dream come true.
Cons: Seeing Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf lift the Cup would be too revolting to bear.
Los Angeles Kings
Pros: Anze Kopitar is a Slovenian god in both ends of the ice. Aside from that, I don’t know…maybe you just hate Vegas?
Cons: They won in 2012 and 2014, they’ve had their moment. It’s time for a new dynasty to rise.
Pros: The Wild are full of likable players, both young and old, who just can’t seem to find success in the playoffs. Sounds familiar.
Cons: 2003 Western Conference Semifinals. Never forget.
The Other Team
Pros: Nothing. Alright, David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask are pretty darn good.
Cons: Everything else. Especially THIS guy.
Brad Marchand out here licking dudes 😂 😂 😂 pic.twitter.com/jiJ2NxbmmZ
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 13, 2018
Thanks for reading! Which team are you cheering for in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Leave a comment below!