It's a Brand New Year
Unlike the beginning of last season, this year the millionaires have come to an agreement with the billionaires about how the financial pie will be cut. The ironic part is that we the fans are the ones not only making that pie but filling it with our hard earned money at the gate and baking it every time we tune in. And let's not forget the merchandising. How can you call yourself a Bruins fan without an Eastern Conference champions hat complementing your Chara jersey?
The purpose of this is to illustrate that last season was a different breed of cat and the strike shortened season may have skewed the data. While the season was shortened let's not forget that the down time between games was also shaved dramatically to cram a 48 game schedule from the middle of January to the end of April. How did this affect the players who are accustomed to a strict regimen of diet and exercise that hones their bodies into shape for the marathon that is the NHL season as opposed to the sprint that was last year?
While we will never know the answer to that question, we can at least glean a bit of knowledge in our NHL odds by taking a look at the best and worst of home and away performances last season. Without further ado, let's take a peek at who were the conquering heroes and who were the kings of their castles.
No Place Like Home
San Jose Sharks (17-2-5) - They don't call it the Shark Tank for nothing. San Jose dropped only two games in front of the fan friendlies during the regular season and won each and every playoff game at home when they swept the Canucks in the first-round prior to their three home victories against the Kings in the second-round. Unfortunately, the Sharks lost all four games in LA which led to their 4-3 ouster from the playoffs and ruined a few NHL picks.
LA Kings (19-4-1) - And speaking of the 2012 Stanley Cup champs, the LA Kings crowned most of the teams who entered the Staples Center last season. The Kings made it to the Western Conference Finals and won eight of nine postseason games until they came unglued on the road against the Blackhawks who would become the new Stanley Cup champions.
Chicago Blackhawks (18-3-3) - The Hawks were on fire both home and away last season but their 18 wins at the United Center places them amongst the best when on their home ice. As the top point getters in the regular season, the Blackhawks used their home ice advantage to their advantage by going 11-2 at home in the postseason en route to a Stanley Cup title.
Chicago Blackhawks (18-4-2) - Hey, if you want to win the Stanley Cup you better be pretty damn good no matter what sheet of ice you skate on. Chicago was almost as good on the road as they were at home and proved they were no fluke by getting it done not only as the best team during the regular season but also as the last team standing in the postseason.
Pittsburgh Penguins (18-6) - The Pens shined on the road as their 18 victories in 24 contests attest. Even after the first two rounds of the playoffs they were 3-2 on the road and set for a date with their Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Bruins. But a not so funny thing happened when the Bruins skated into town. Boston manhandled the Penguins to the tune of 3-0 and 6-1 victories on Pittsburgh's home ice. Their psyche was pretty much shattered and even though they had sterling performances on opposition ice throughout the season, it was not to be as Boston swept the Pens 4-0 and left Pittsburgh fans scratching their heads.
Anaheim Ducks (14-5-5) - Quack quack, the Ducks are comin' to beat you up. And that's pretty much what they did last season as they came away with 14 victories in hostile territory. Unfortunately Anaheim could not exert their dominance in Detroit as they dropped two of three in the Motor City en route to a 4-3 series exit.
Don't forget to check out my article on who will benefit in 2013 from the full season!