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Scouting Reports
October 06, 1997
As the NHL begins its 1997-98 season, everybody already is thinking about vacation. For the first time the league is taking a 17-day break in February to allow its stars to play in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. The result will be a meeting of Dream Teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. that will energize the often dreary Olympic tournament.
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October 06, 1997

Scouting Reports

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As the NHL begins its 1997-98 season, everybody already is thinking about vacation. For the first time the league is taking a 17-day break in February to allow its stars to play in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. The result will be a meeting of Dream Teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. that will energize the often dreary Olympic tournament.

The Games will determine the best hockey nation in the world, and then in June the NHL will crown the best hockey team in the world—Colorado. The Avalanche should overcome the Flyers in the finals and become Stanley Cup champions for the second time in three years. Here are SI's rankings of the 26 teams in order of their likelihood of winning the Cup.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

1. Philadelphia Flyers*
2. New Jersey Devils*
3. New York Rangers*
4. Washington Capitals*
5. Florida Panthers*
6. New York Islanders
7. Tampa Bay Lightning

Northeast Division

1. Ottawa Senators*
2. Montreal Canadiens*
3. Buffalo Sabres*
4. Carolina Hurricanes
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
6. Boston Bruins

Conference Finals:
Flyers over Devils

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Central Division

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