Players and EA Sports predict the Cup winner

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According to 31% of the 272 players polled by Sports Illustrated, they believe the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup. 27% of the players felt that the Chicago Blackhawks would be the Cup winners this year, something that pleased members of the Hawks.

“That’s the best respect you can get from anybody is when your peers vote for you,” Hawks center John Madden said.

If you needed proof that  you have to take these things with a grain of salt, 18% of those polled said they thought the San Jose Sharks would come away with the big prize this year. Perhaps it’s true when players say they don’t spend a lot of time watching the other teams play. 

The folks at EA Sports did things a bit more “scientific” by using their game, NHL 10, to simulate the playoffs and came away with a Chicago vs. Pittsburgh Cup Finals with the Blackhawks winning in seven games with virtual Duncan Keith winning the virtual Conn Smythe Trophy. The highlight to their playoff simulation, of course, was having the Sharks bowing out to the Avalanche in the first round in six games. Video games are funny (or tragic/insulting if you’re a Sharks fan) like that sometimes.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.