Tuesday, October 03, 2006


So, you don't know anything about the sport of hockey and have no interest in learning? Well worry no longer - here's everything you need to know so that you can chime into your Canadian friends' conversations!

1. Ottawa Senators
2. New Jersey Devils
3. Carolina Hurricanes
4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Buffalo Sabres
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
8. New York Islanders
[9. Montreal Canadiens, 10. Atlanta Thrashers, 11. Boston Bruins, 12. New York Rangers, 13. Florida Panthers, 14. Pittsburgh Penguins, 15. Washington Capitals]

The Ottawa Senators are still the East's most talented team, though with every playoff choke, they're looking more and more like the NHL's Indianapolis Colts; they're a lock to make the playoffs, but will new goaltender Martin Gerber's strained peaches get this team out of the first round? The Hurricanes had the rest of the league seeing red in the playoffs last year (or whatever that ugly-ass orangish color is), and with Eric "Staalin" Staal, Eric "Col-Pot" Cole, and Rod "Hitler'Amour" Brind'Amour returning, they're still the favorites in the Southeast Division (aka "The Hockey Capital of the World"). The New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs should ride their new coaches into the playoffs, literally, but only one of those two cities will actually care (a trillion points if you can guess which one!) The Flyers are looking tough with an up-and-coming group of future playoff chokers, the Buffalo Sabres are legit contenders for the Stanley Cup and for the Worst Jerseys In History Cup (watch out, old Houston Rockets!), and as my sleeper pick, I have the Islanders sneaking in at the 8th spot, mostly because teams will be laughing too hard at every aspect about them to actually play them seriously.

Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin remain the most exciting players in the league, but until they're surrounded by actual adult NHLers and not bubble hockey statuettes, they won't be playing come August, or whenever the hell the NHL Playoffs start. Boston's Patrice Bergeron is a future star, but the Bruins' offseason moves were so cosmetic, they might as well have just slapped lipstick on a wounded bear. The New York Rangers' carriage should turn back into a pumpkin this year, Florida will struggle in goal after replacing Roberto Luongo with Ed Belfour (Luongo:Belfour :: Scarlett Johanssen:Jessica Tandy), and the Atlanta Thrashers can thrash all they want, but if they don't play defense, coach Bob Hartley will be the one who is in for a thrashingLOLOL!!

1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Calgary Flames
4. Nashville Predators
5. Colorado Avalanche
6. Los Angeles Kings
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Dallas Stars
[9. Vancouver Canucks, 10. San Jose Sharks, 11. Edmonton Oilers, 12. Phoenix Coyotes, 13. Columbus Blue Jackets, 14. Chicago Blackhawks, 15. St. Louis Blues]

The idiot analysists didn't think the Red Wings would be good last year, but some smart ones knew a little better; Dominick Hasek is old and hilarious, but as long as they're the Red Wings and not the Blue... Opposite of Wings... consider them contenders. Speaking of name changes, the Ducks are no longer Mighty, but they'll sure seem mighty with Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger each logging two hundred minutes of ice time a game (all Ducks games will be required to go into nine overtimes to make this happen). Keep your eyes on the Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, and Minnesota Wild, all of whom possess the necessary combination of incisive coaching, disruptive speed, and zero national interest to make a serious Cup run.

If it weren't for the Islanders, the Blues' hiring of broadcaster John Davidson as their president would have been the funniest story of the summer; his immediate signings of Doug Weight and Bill Guerin to pair with Keith Tkachuk gives the Blues more useless old Americans than the movie "Space Cowboys." Phoenix also went retro, signing Jeremy Roenick and coaxing Owen Nolan out of estrangement in their quest to win the 1998 President's Trophy. Jonathan Cheechoo did score 56 goals, but he'll have to score 90 for me to take his name and the Sharks seriously, the Vancouver Canucks will need more than Roberto Luongo to give their mascot, Whaley the Curved Whale Breaking out of Ice to the Right, something to cheer about, and, not to be outdone, the Chicago Blackhawks shrewdly offered walking injury Martin Havlat $6 million a year, once again proving that the Chicago Blackhawks exist only through hearsay, they are not real human beings playing actual games.

The playoffs are always a complete crapshoot, and everyone seems high on the Ducks and the Senators, so I'm going with the Nashville Predators over the Devils in seven, and you can take that to the BANK and the bank will be like what's this and you'll be like I printed out this guy's NHL picks and took them to you and they'll laugh and be like cool, but then a couple months later you'll realize the picks were right and you'll be like I should have deposited it!!!

Ottawa should be tough too.

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