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The Importance of 'Captain Stanley'

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April couldn't come soon enough. It's finally time to clean out the garage, store away the winter coats and, of course, bring out the rally towels, because it's NHL playoff time.

Like most sports fans, hockey fans love to make predictions. Many of us probably pore over sheets of stats - power-play percentages, faceoff wins, five-on-five differentials - before making our picks.

Sadly, stats rarely predict winners. In the last 25 years, only seven winners of the Presidents' Trophy - awarded to the team with the best regular-season record - have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. It's not that stats are irrelevant, but the seeming clarity of numbers often overshadows other elements of the game.

So what should we look at? I would look at the guy who wears the...

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