Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Song of Ice...and, uh....Ice! (NHL Roundup Week 1)

Normally I would say that these posts will be a lot more interesting when basketball, both college and professional, starts up again, but the thing is, New York seems to care a helluva lot more about hockey than basketball.

I mean, there are not one, not two, but THREE area football teams...even the entire state of California has only three! For comparison, California has, let's see now, four basketball teams, five baseball teams, three football teams...(okay, the desert probably has something to do with that, but still!)

Since it's just hockey this week, it's a bit more in depth. Only not really.

So anyway, here goes nothing:

Eastern Conference

New York Islanders:
I hear Nassau Coliseum is filthy. Still haven't forgiven the Islanders for beating the Devils on my twelfth (or thirteenth, I forget) birthday. They're ahead in points, but have played a game more than everyone else expect New Jersey.

Philadelphia Flyers: My MHT (Most Hated Team). Yes, even more than the Rangers. I really should hate the Rangers more, but for all those years in the late 90s and early 00s, the Flyers were really good and the Rangers were really bad...and the crowd really was that much more raucous when I saw the Devils play Philly. They're in second right now and have a higher GA than GF. Yes, I know it's early, but I fully expect this statistic to last.

Pittsburgh Penguins: For so long the only thing they had going was Mario...but now they've got Sidney. I can do the whole cheer-for-the-Penguins-when-they're-not-playing-New Jersey thing because they aren't the Flyers or the Rangers, and Sidney is so much fun to watch.

New York Rangers: Okay, I have no love for the Rangers. Sweeping them in the '06 playoffs was wonderful; but it made the second round an anti-climax. Have never forgiven them for taking Bobby Holik, and I WILL never forgive Scott Gomez. If you don't like dirty Jersey, fine, but at least have the class Rafalski did and not go and play for your most-hated-rival! I know the Rangers will probably end up at the top of the Atlantic, but as the Devils beat the crap out of them in New Jersey, I'll be fine. They have yet to score a Power Play goal.

New Jersey Devils: Yes, I know they're in last place right now. It won't stay. Teams tend to do worse on the road than at home (except for the one year when the Devils didn't and I think set a record for road wins), and the Devils don't play at home until 27 October. Martin Brodeur, when he retires, might very well have every goalie record in the book. Brian Gionta is amazing.

Ottawa Senators: Okay, if you haven't noticed yet, start noticing. The defending Eastern Conference champions are 4-0-0. If this was a cellar-dwellar or even an average joe team (like the rest of the Canadian teams were last year), you could make an argument for it being a fluke. It's not. They're THAT good. Trust me, the Devils know...

Montreal Canadiens: One of those teams I don't really know anything about, except that Saku Koivu has maybe the greatest name ever. It just kind of bounces around in the mouth. Anyway, that bad literary device aside, I'd love to see them have a winning season, they deserve it. 2-0-1 is not 4-0-0, but it's certainly not a poor start.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Okay, it just occurred to me that whoever picked the name for this team was probably high on something, and the only reason it's gone unnoticed is because as an Original Six team, and one that actually won on occasion, they command respect. Doesn't mean I like them; but I do respect them. However, just one win in four games is making that kind of hard to do...

Boston Bruins: One of two Boston teams I don't actually hate! The other, if you want to know, is the Celtics. I actually kind of like the Celtics, mostly because of Red Auerbach, and that crazy parquet floor they had for ages. Anyway, that has nothing to do with hockey. The Bruins haven't been relevant for ages, and, from the looks of things, it's not going to change any time soon. Still, that Bobby Orr photo is SWEET.

Buffalo Sabres: Uhh, yeah...0-2-0? Not exactly a good start. In fact, kind of really far from it. Still, I believe that the Sabres won game six in 1999! Hull's foot was in the crease! At least the Devils beat Dallas for yah in 2000!

Washington Capitals: Unlike Ottawa, I'm calling Washington a fluke, until they prove otherwise. When was the last time a Washington/Baltimore area team had a winning record? Ravens in 01? If you can't tell, I know nothing about the team except their goalie is named Olaf.

Carolina Hurricanes: I was totally pulling for Edmonton in 06 because a Canadian team so should have won the cup if it wasn't New Jersey, but I have no ill will towards Carolina. Looks like their offense is pretty good, too...tied for league lead in goals scored. Okay, that might have been a 7-1 drubbing of the Leafs, but still. Stats don't lie. Except when they do.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Is it me, or is it odd that hockey does better in Florida than baseball? Anyway, Tampa, listen. If you're going to be a one line team, no one's going to take you seriously. Kind of like how the Devil Rays have one actual pitcher (who I want in a Yankee uniform yesterday...)

Atlanta Thrashers: I think the Devils once beat this team 9-0. Forgive me if it takes me a while to consider Atlanta seriously. Starting 0-2 doesn't help.

Florida Panthers: See above, minus the 9-0 part. Devils did beat them in the 2000 playoffs though, in a sweep...

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings:
Detroit is my Western Conference team, kind of like how the Cubs are my NL team. That is, I root for them to beat everyone except the Yankees/Devils. Steve Yzerman WAS class for so long. My brother once bumped into Chris Chelios in a hotel. Anyway, look, Detroit is never going to have a bad hockey team. Great, yes. Good, most of the time. Mediocre, once in a while. Bad? Not a chance.

Nashville Predators: Saw the Devils beat them once, and had seats against the boards. That was awesome. Currently, Nashville's scored nine goals and allowed one. That's, uh, Brodeur-like! I should start paying some more attention to them.

St. Louis Blues: I know nothing about this team, except that a few years ago they were the best team in the NHL and now...they're...uh...not. They probably won't remain relevant for long unless they secretly got a lot better (they didn't).

Chicago Blackhawks: Sorry about the Cubs, really, I am, but you all are better off waiting for the Bulls to start. Hell, even the Bears are likely to get it turned around sooner than these guys. Shame, really, Chicago seems like it could be such a hockey town...

Columbus Blue Jackets: Naming your team after an insect is not going to help much. You're still playing like an expansion team. Stop. It's juvenille. Take a look at Minnesota's entry below.

Minnesota Wild: Well done for not playing like an expansion team any longer! Obviously, being in a hockey center of the universe such as Minnesota is going to help, and it's good to know Minnesotans have a team that they can actually feel good cheering about, unlike those Vikings and Timberwolves and Twins' management.

Colorado Avalanche: As a Devils fan and as a when-they-don't-play-the-Devils Detroit supporter, I have to say, I really, really have no love for the Avalanche. Especially the whole 2001 thing, yuck! However, I will give them that Ray Borque really did deserve to win the Cup. He deserved to win it in a Boston uniform, but if I was playing 20 years, I'd take the cup any way I could! Good offense so far...not so good defense.

Edmonton Oilers: What happened here? You were so good a couple years ago, you can't let one defeat so demoralize you! Think of Gretzky! Would he be proud?

Vancouver Canucks: Vancouver is deceptively hard to spell. Anyway. I hear it's really pretty up there. I'll be sure to visit some day. You have a hockey team. I really don't know anything about it. Do something crazy, and maybe next week I'll have something to say.

Calgary Flames: Okay, dude, guys, you are so much better than an 0-1-1 start. A team with 'flame' as part of its name, even though the team plays on ice, has got to have major guts. I know nothing about Calgary. Is it worth a visit?

San Jose Sharks: I keep forgetting that San Jose is in California. I always think it's somewhere in Texas or Nevada or New Mexico or somewhere that's not California. I thought wrong, obviously. It'd be nice to see this team actually get past the first round for once. Ah, well, that's why they're called dreams, right?

Anaheim Might Ducks: Oy, you Niedermeyer! You know that big cup thingie you and your brother got to lift last spring? Yeah, well, if you want to lift it again, allowing 17 goals in five games is really...not good. I know playing on the road is tough, but you gotta win some of those games, too!

Phoenix Coyotes: Say hi to Gretzky for me. Third place on October 10? Quite an achievement in recent years. Well done.

Dallas Stars: Best. Advertising. Campaign. Ever. However, if you don't start winning soon, don't be surprised if someone sues you for false advertising...and thanks for 2000! My brother got a puck from game five of the finals!

Los Angeles Kings: The only Kings worth caring about are the ones in Sacramento. Still, any team with purple as a uniform color, especially in a sport where hitting guys into boards is considered fun, has major cojones, if you know what I mean.

Right then, it's off to write a pseudo-history paper on The Great Gatsby, and then reading more Dickens.

Tomorrow I'll have NLCS preview notes, NFL picks, and NLCS recap.


  1. All I can say is Let's Go Islanders! Tonight's win over the Rangers was probably the first really happy moment I've had since the ALDS ended.

  2. Any game the Rangers lose makes me...really happy.

    Kind of like when the Red Sox lose.

  3. I know how you feel. I'm not a Devils fan but love seeing them own the Rangers.

  4. I've been watching the Caps for more than fifteen years. This is the year you should, too.

  5. I'll keep that in mind! Still a Devils fan, but I appreciate good goal tending (actually, you can't be a Devils fan and not appreciate good goal tending, The two are the same thing.)