I dunno if you guys heard the big news but Downton Abbey season 3 started on Sunday!
Wait, that’s not it…the fuckin’ Seahawks won their first playoff road game since 1983!! Hawk yeah!!
Hang on…OH YEAH! MOST importantly is the FUCKIN’ NHL LOCKOUT IS OVVVVVAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Yeah! That’s right. That thing that’s made all of your Autumn and all of your Winter, so far, boooorrrrriiiiinnnngggg is totally over. Now your Winter can get back to it’s mostly-cold-and-shitty-but-also-ok-because-there’s-hockey self! We here at T-bone and the Hockey Doggz couldn’t be more pumped. Well, that’s not true because we’ve been pumpin’ all summer.
So, I’m gonna go out on a limb here because…I feel like it (lockout’s over motha-f’ers, it’s no rules!) and make some early predictions. Here we go!:
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin. Yep, those two dudes still play on the same team. How could they not be an Eastern fave? Oh yeah, remember Marc-Andre Fleury’s awful performance in the playoffs last year? That’s how. They did go out and sign Tomas Vokoun (who started for the Washington Capitals last season) as a backup who will lighten Fleury’s load, if all goes according to plan. If their defense is healthy and their goalie(s) can perform, they can win the Stanley Cup, easy. If not, say hello to another first round dismissal.
New York Rangers: With their big off season acquisition, “Rick Nash” from the “Columbus Blue Jackets”, and their Eastern Conference Final appearance in 2012, the New York Rangers have to feel like momentum is on their side. And let’s face it Henrik Lundqvist, is great. But, will Marion Gaborik be healthy enough to play, not to mention contribute? Will King Henrik continue his dominance? Why can’t they win? The NYR mystery continues.
New Jersey Devils: Last season was an anomaly. If anyone chose the Devils as the Eastern Conference Champion that person is either a stat sevant or some kind or Nostradamus. Either way, I like Kovalchuk, Parise is cool, but he’s gone, and Martin Brodeur can totally suck it. I would be perfectly happy if the New Jersey Devils never made the playoffs ever again.
Carolina Hurricanes: Yeah, that’s right. Sure, they finished 12th in the East last year, but after their incredibly awful start in 2011-12, but after hiring Kirk Muller they were able to finish .500. Jeff Skinner and Tim Gleason are young and talented. They have a Ruutu (not Jarkko but it’ll do) and a set of weird brothers from Thunder Bay, ON named Staal. And for my money (which adds up to about $500) Christ-lovin’ Cam Ward is the most underrated goalie in the NHL.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are not a bad team. You might think they strive to be a bad team, signing Ville Leino and keeping Patrick Kaleta around, but they got a raw deal last year. The whole Lucic-ing threw a monkey wrench into their season which they couldn’t rebound from until March, when they were able to play incredibly good. They have some proven goal scorers, some good young forwards and defensemen, and of course American Hero Ryan Miller in goal.
Montreal Canadiens: Sure, why not? The only place they have to go from last year is up. Plekanec is pretty good, although injured, Price is good, and Erik Cole had 35 goals last year. They’ll be my Eastern Conference long shot.
Los Angeles Kings: During the 2012 playoffs, the Kings were unstoppable, destroying every team on their way to a Stanley Cup victory. The fact that they have almost 100% roster retention from their Cup run cannot be overlooked. Anze Kopitar will likely miss the first games of the season, if not more, which could be a huge setback for the team. Other than that the only question for the Kings is: Will they be able to dominate as hard this year as they did in the playoffs?
Vancouver Canucks: Unlike the Kings, this team has many many question marks for the season ahead. The biggest one is between the pipes. Can Cory Schneider be rilly good at goaltending? What’s goin on with Roberto Luongo? The Sedins will be able to score goals because they have magic on their side, but what about the rest of the team? Ryan Kesler is recovering from a full body transplant so he’s can’t score goals. Their season will be an interesting one.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues under Ken Hitchcock have been pretty good, like 11th in the West to 2nd in the West in 1 year good. However, we kinda saw them unravel in the playoffs last year. Granted, one of their goalies got injured and they were facing the best team to ever play in the NHL Playoffs, but still, they could have at least made it close. I have a feeling Hitch’s sophomore season with the Blues won’t be as much of a breeze as the first.
Anaheim Ducks: For the majority of last season, the Ducks sucked, and royally. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan couldn’t score if they had a Camaro (which is the easiest way to score). Then, just like in the previous year, they started to get the hang of the whole “Hockey Team” thing and went on a pretty good run, but not good enough. I think this half-season will benefit this team who only starts paying attention after the All-Star break.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild signed the two biggest free agents of the off season to deals worth a metric tonne of money. Can I still classify them as a “sleeper”? Sure! This is my blog goddamnit! Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will have a profound impact on the team and I think if their goaltender(s) can stay healthy and get some secondary scoring from Devin Setoguci, Dany Heatley, and Cal Clutterbuck’s bitchin’ stache, they’ll be at least a 7th seed, if not higher.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avs are a team with youth and speed on their side. Going into his second season, Gabriel Landeskog has already been named captain, making him one of the youngest in history. Other dudes like Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn, and Matt Duchesne have all proven they can put pucks in the net. And I dunno if you guys heard, but Semyon Varlamov has been killin’ it in the KHL.
So there we have it, musings of a half-drunk NHL fan who is fuckin’ thrilled the puck will drop this season. The Blue Jackets could win for all I care! I just can’t wait to see these weirdos with knives on their feet and sticks in their hands rocket pucks at a fat man, just hoping to get it past him. FUCKING HOCKEY!!
Don’t forget to visit our page on Thursday when we’ll have the Season 2 Premiere of the T-Bone and the Hockey Dogzz PODCAST!!!!!!! Moonpie will be there, Huskey will be there, and me, T-Bone! We’ll discuss things like:
- How shitty the lock-out was
- Predictions and prognostications
- How to get more early 90’s hockey cards
- How shitty was the lock-out?
We’ll also be holding the first annual T-Bone and the Hockey Doggz Present: Virgin’s Fantasy Hockey Draft !!! It’s gonna be shit-loads of fun!