Since the NHL salary cap was introduced over a decade ago, the days of the dynasty seem to be gone.
It's a challenge to keep a group of players together. It has been 19 years since a team has won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
Trying to pick a Cup champion is more difficult, but more fun. Intangibles have to be considered more than ever.
Before I start, let me say I am a Montreal fan. I am cheering for the Canadiens.
In the east, I am among the many that believe Washington can get to the final. The Caps have that mix of goaltending and skill that may propel them to be eastern conference champions.
In the west, playoff know-how may again push the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup final. Having won three championships in the last eight years, this Hawks team has experienced players who know the sacrifice necessary to succeed.