Why The Anaheim Ducks Will Win The Stanley Cup

Why The Anaheim Ducks Will Win The Stanley Cup

Taking a look at the Anaheim Ducks this season.

The Anaheim Ducks have been one of the most consistent teams in hockey since the earlier part of the 2000’s. They were so close to advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals but fell short to the Nashville Predators in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals behind a Jonathan Bernier in goal as a backup. The Ducks have a very legitimate shot of winning the Stanley Cup this year. They have this time window of a few seasons to go all the way but that window does not last very long

Anaheim did not lose anyone impactful last year and only made their roster stronger by adding Ryan Miller as a backup and Dennis Rasmussen as a 4th line center. They worked to improve their depth even with having lots of depth already from their AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls.

The Ducks finally overcame their game 7 woes by defeating the Edmonton Oilers at home in a thrilling game at Honda Center. That game 7 curse has been haunting them for a few years now and overcoming that obstacle was a huge part of them being successful.

The Ducks have the pieces in place to have a Stanley Cup winning team especially going down the stretch. They have elite scoring on offense, a physical defense, and reliable goaltending.

Playoffs are all about having momentum going down the stretch and having that carry over into every series. The Ducks have a few players with injuries right now including Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, and Cam Fowler. Those 3 guys are extremely pivotal in the success of the Anaheim Ducks. Even without those guys, Anaheim has been in games and they’re getting scoring from all of their lines. Kesler is expected to be back by January and once all these guys come back from injury, there will be a shift in the way that the Ducks play.

If the Ducks can get that momentum down the stretch, they should be able to advance in the playoffs where I predict they might meet the same Nashville Predators again which is a series that can go either way depending on the goaltending. If they make it to the final, I predict they will either be facing the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Ducks have a very physical team and that’s what you need to beat these fast, puck-moving eastern conference teams like the Penguins and the Lightning. Physical play is the key for the Ducks in the postseason and if they can rev it up, they have a great shot to compete for the Stanley Cup in 2018.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Top 5 Nike NBA City Edition Jerseys

The best looks from Nike's second alternate jersey batch.

Nike's takeover of the NBA has been an up and down ride to this point. Although the on-court products are extremely aesthetically pleasing, there have been quality concerns, with numerous ripped jerseys and the lack of special Christmas Day uniform editions for the first time since 2011, a tradition that NBA fans have come to love. However, Nike's idea of visually representing the passion, culture, and voice of each city has inspired some of the most unique jerseys in years, and here's the five best of an exciting bunch.

5. Milwaukee Bucks

The cream color combined with the logo as the centerpiece makes this jersey absolutely fantastic, and it's going to look great on television.

4. Golden State Warriors

Effectively capturing the vibe of such a free-flowing and culturally distinct place such as San Francisco was always going to be difficult, but the Warriors got it spot on here. The Chinese influence is clearly present alongside a crisp homage to the Bay Area, and the Warriors status as the only team that bridges the gap between San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

3. Utah Jazz

As a complete 180 from the Jazz' typical blue, green, and gold look, this stark contrast of a uniform should be used as often as possible. The ascending color scheme gives off the vibe of a rising altitude, a perfect encapsulation of Salt Lake City and the mountain lifestyle present there. The design on the right sleeve further displays this sweet tribute to Utah.

2. Washington Wizards

If you had told me that the cleanest look of the City Edition jerseys would also have said "The District of Columbia" on it in its entirety, I would've told you that you were crazy. However, a crisp white jersey alongside a brilliant use of red stripes down either side combined with easily the best number font in the NBA this season gives the nation's capital another great look to add to its already-stellar collection.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Although this one took a while to grow on me, as a Lakers fan, this jersey is simply too sweet to pass up at the number one spot. Designed by the ultimate Laker legend himself, Kobe Bryant, a player good enough to have two jerseys retired in his honor, the "Black Mamba look tips its cap to the latest era of Hollywood dominance, with Kobe bringing 5 titles back home to SoCal. The snake scales combined with the return of the Magic Johnson-era block numbers create an epic silhouette of the past, and the 24 (Kobe's number) on the belt look like both a snake and "LA". It's absolutely brilliant and is easily the Lakers best black look since they began regularly utilizing black alternates on "Hollywood Nights", and I can't wait to sit down and watch a game at Staples with these unis on the court.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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If Medically Cleared, Gordon Hayward Should Still Stay Out For This Season

After suffering an injury like that, there's no need to rush back at all. The NBA continues to pray for you, Gordon.

It's hard to believe that it's only been almost three months since Celtics Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific ankle injury back in October. Since then, basketball fans have been able to catch a few glimpses into Hayward's progress--along with a few reports noting his recovery going well--mainly consisting of him in a cast and sitting on a bench.

However, last Wednesday Celtics general manager Danny Ainge subtly teased us that Hayward isn't wearing his ankle brace:

First of all - ?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!??!?!?!!?!?

Second of all - Gordon, please. Don't. tease. us.

With this new image and rumors of his return later in the season floating about, it all comes down to the question: "Should he return this season?"

And the answer to that is -- NO.

Boston is (as of Jan. 10) 33-10, ranking No. 1 in the Eastern Conference while also beating the conference rival the Cleveland Cavaliers by five and a half games.

They have quickly adjusted with their new team of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and just about everyone else on the team. They've learned how to effectively utilize their weapons thanks to their stupendous head coach Brad Stevens.

Gordon, there's no need to rush at all.

Injuries are one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through and, especially in his case, it's something that no one should rush back from.

Of course there's always going to be the argument of: "But the Golden State Warriors are still their biggest threat, how will the Celtics do it without Hayward?"

The simple answer to that is, they still can. Can we maybe just stop doubting teams for one second?

Boston is trailing right behind Golden State; don't act like they don't have the talent and hustle to catch up.

Besides, if Hayward does return this season, he most likely won't be 100% healthy by then, thus risking the possibility of not even having a chance to make a championship run with his new team.

Long story short, he has three more years on his contract, he's still relatively young and the team is still young. I don't see what the rush is.

Cover Image Credit: No Limit McCowan

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