The 2011-12 season preview continues today with the Western Conference. (You can find yesterday's Eastern Conference preview here.)
Anaheim Ducks: Of all the top lines in the Western Conference, experts agree that the Ducks' trio of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan is without question the best one to feature three different DNA sequences.
Phoenix Coyotes: Not sure if it's a bad sign, but Paul Bissionnette's most recent 140-character tweet included the full name of every one of the team's season ticket holders.
Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty denies reports that he's bitter about the way the team handled his extended contract negotiation, although he does plan to play all future playoff games using sticks borrowed from Marty McSorley.
Dallas Stars: Somehow, they keep losing three or four close games every year thanks to late-game meltdowns by Tony Romo.
What to watch: Whether a talented young Phoenix squad under the leadership of Shane Doan can overcome the uncertainty of the team's financial future, according to every single Coyotes preview from the last ten years.
Fearless prediction: You continue to make hilarious jokes about the Sharks being playoff chokers while secretly hoping nobody notices that they go further than your team just about every year.
Detroit Red Wings: Niklas Lidstrom may be a step or two slower this season, thanks to a new rule that he has to carry all his Norris Trophies in his pockets at all times to make it more fair for everyone else.
Nashville Predators: Somehow managed to acquire Brett Lebda in a trade for Cody Franson, a player with so little value that he was once actually traded for Brett Lebda.
St. Louis Blues: Well, at least Jaroslav Halak continues to be impossible to score on in the post-season.
Chicago Blackhawks: The team nearly rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the hated Canucks, before realizing they could do way more long-term psychological damage by letting Vancouver get their hopes up for a few more rounds.
What to watch: Old YouTube clips from the early 90s of Ron Caron falling out of his dress shirt while yelling about a bad call in the press box, because man, that guy was just awesome.
Fearless prediction: The Predators miss the postseason after a stunning late-season collapse which the players will later admit was caused by everyone being terrified of the return of Shea Weber's playoff beard.
Colorado Avalanche: In hindsight, general manager Greg Sherman is starting to wonder if he may have misunderstood that order from ownership that he'd better make sure that the team isn't drafting in the top five again this year.
Minnesota Wild: They traded Martin Havlat to the Sharks, so at least they won't have to worry about some former Ottawa Senator winger choking away on their first line.
Edmonton Oilers: Returning fan favourite Ryan Smyth is known as "Captain Canada" for a reason, although if we're being honest that reason is that "Captain Seems To Be Available For The World Championships Every Single Season" is kind of long.
Calgary Flames: They seem to have decided to go out and collect every overpaid and underperforming Maple Leaf they can find, which is going to make things awkward when Dion Phaneuf shows up.
Player to watch: Ryan Kesler will find himself back in the Hart Trophy picture, although come to think of it that's also true of every other picture.
Fearless prediction: The Canucks' point total goes down, despite nobody even touching it.