19 September 2011
In 30 training camps throughout North America 30 teams are skating hard, working a bit on systems, and players are trying to get used to playing with some guys they didn't even know up until last week. Young guys are vying for roster spots on the big club, but will most likely be returned to juniors or the minors for another year on the bus instead of chartered flights. Coaches and GMs are assessing their situations.
One of the funnier aspects of training camp is that about half the league has winning the Stanley Cup on the mind while other teams have more modest goals, whether spoken or unspoken, of making the playoffs or in the case of the Senators finishing over .500.
The Maple Leafs, Jets, Panthers, Islanders, Senators, Blue Jackets, Avalanche, Blues, Oilers, Stars, and Flames have absolutely no chance of running the league. This doesn't mean that the fan bases in these towns, or the players on these teams, should be any less excited than people in other cities. I mean, the NHL is back, so there's excitement enough.
Teams that are undoubtedly pushing for the hardware this year are the Caps, Bruins, Lightning, Canadiens, Red Wings, Sharks, Canucks, and Kings. Those 8 teams can all truly envision their captain holding the Cup high above his head next Spring.
Which leaves us with 11 teams that are capable of shitting the bed or going deep into the playoffs, possibly all the way like a good Meatloaf song.
In the East there are the Pens, Sabres, Rangers, Hurricanes and in the West the Ducks, Predators, Coyotes, Blackhawks, and dare I say it, Wild.
But who am I forgetting? Who is the one team that I absolutely have no idea about? Ah yes, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Whether it's Hartnell - Nylander - Nodl, Briere - Giroux - Shelley, Jagr - Talbot - Simmonds….however it shakes out, what the freak is going to happen this year? And that's why I'm more excited than the beginning of any of the previous seasons we've had this blog running - the anticipation, the wonder about this little 6 to 8 month trip we're about to take. We're just about all packed up and ready to head off.
Goaltending - Double Check
Defense -Almost ready
Offense - Uhhhh…check?
This week of preseason games will be fun. All the speculation about rookie-on-rookie action is fun and helps to pass the time, but on Thursday October 6th a referee will be standing at center ice holding a puck 2 feet above the ice. The rematch against almost the same exact team that we couldn't even earn a win against last May will be seconds from starting. They are the same team, we are not. What is going to happen?
What the hell is going to happen when that puck drops?
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