Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The definitive guide to the Wendel Clark "All Heart" video

As long time readers know, I believe that the All Heart video is perhaps the ultimate artistic achievement humanity has ever produced. Last year, it made my list of the top Wendel Clark moments of all time. And in that post, I promised that some day I'd do a frame-by-frame breakdown of the entire video. Some day.

Almost a full year later, some day is here.

Thanks to a copy of the original video file, the power of Google, and a tireless work ethic, I've managed to source every clip in the entire video. Oh, I also had a detailed set of production notes from the video's creator. That part helped too.

So grab a cup of coffee or a cold pop and settle in, because we're going to be here a while. Ladies and gentlemen, the definitive guide to the greatest thing on the internet.

The history
Dan Christopher created "All Heart" several years ago. He spent six months of scouring through VHS tapes from ebay and teaching himself video editing software from scratch. Dan wrote a guest post last year where he explained how and why he created the video.

Bottom line: If Dan ever has buy his own beer on game night again, shame on you Leafs Nation.

The music
The soundtrack is supplied by Metallica's "Hero of the Day", from the group's 1996 album "Load". It is generally considered the second greatest heavy metal song of all time, trailing only "everything ever recorded by Guns N' Roses", which was tied for first.

Here's the song's bizarre official video, and here's the band performing a live version with a symphony orchestra. Yes, really.

The clips
By my count, All Heart contains over 60 different clips. And if you'd like to see each and every one of them analyzed at a Zapruder level of detail, you've come to the right blog.

0:00 - The opening shots are views of Wendel's farm in King City, Ont. Harry Neale's comments about the "heavyweight champion from Harvard" losing "a decision to the farmboy from Saskatchewan" is a reference to a 1986 fight between Clark and the Flames' Neil Sheehy, who had been a heavyweight boxing champion in college.

0:12 - Wendel puts on a Leafs jersey for the first time after being chosen #1 overall in the 1985 NHL entry draft. The old guy next to him is Harold Ballard. If you watch closely, you can see Ballard mouth the words "Dear Norris Division, you are going to die."

0:16 - The classic "dressing room shot", taken from the second greatest Wendel compilation of all time: the CBC's "Only the Strong Survive". (Don't miss the classic Demers/Brophy exchange at the end. God I miss John Brophy.)

0:21 - Two shots of Maple Leaf Gardens (a.k.a. "Wendel's House"), followed by the aftermath of an unidentified fight. Note that every Wendel Clark fight ends this way -- with Clark skating slowly off the ice, casually glancing around to see if anyone else wants any more, with a linesman nearby but afraid to touch him, and the Jaws of Life driving by in the background to help his opponent.

0:29 - Normally, the person carrying the puck is on the receiving end of the hit. Not Wendel, as this unfortunate Wings defenceman (Doug Halward?) found out.

0:31 - A happy Harold Ballard high fives a fan. Seconds later, the fan's hand turned into a cluster of vampire bats and flew away.

0:33 - Classic Clark fist-pump. Take note, Jason Blake.

0:34 - Clark hugs Vincent Damphousse.

0:35 - Clark body slams fellow rookie Jim Johnson of the Penguins. Fun fact: This was Clark's first ever regular season NHL fight.

0:37 - Clark vs. Behn Wilson. For those that don't remember him, Wilson was one of the greatest fighters of the 80s, and perhaps of all-time. This was one of the first times Clark took on a certified NHL heavyweight, and the result is an absolute beauty. If you've never seen it before, watch it now. If you have seen it before, watch it again. After this fight, Don Cherry told the world that Wendel was worth "a million bucks".

0:45 - Apparently bored with punching people in the face, Clark decides to turn Brad McCrimmon's kidneys into paste.

0:49 - Clark destroys Dave Barr of the Blues during the 1986 playoffs. Clark had five post-season fights that year.

0:53 - This is a quick shot from the memorable pre-season fight between Clark and Craig MacTavish. After pairing off with Clark, an overmatched MacTavish tried for a takedown only to have Clark roll through and then continue to maul him. The Oilers weren't happy about this one, with Glenn Sather accusing Clark of being "not very smart". Clark is rumored to have replied "Ask me again about which one of us is smart in 20 years when he signs Wade Redden as a free agent."

0:55 - Clark eats the soul of Dave Mackey. I wrote about this one here.

0:56 - Clark TKOs Washington enforcer Alan May in about three seconds. Full fight is here.

0:57 - A classic open ice hit delivered to Dino Ciccarelli.

1:00 - Clark crushes a young Scott Stevens.

1:01 - Clark beats up on one of the best hockey names of all time: Ed Beers.

1:02 - A one-punch KO on the Rangers' Mark Hardy. Full fight (complete with ridiculous Ranger homer commentary) is here.

1:03 - A 1992 scrap between Clark and Chicago's Jocelyn Lemieux. Clark had just returned from an injury and was rusty -- he couldn't get his arm free, allowing Lemieux to land several jabs early on. Then Clark does get his arm free. Then Lemieux's face explodes. The end. Full fight is here.

1:05 - Wearing the "C", Clark hustles across the ice at the Gardens. This clip may in fact be actual speed.

1:09 - Clark was named to the Campbell Conference all-star team as a rookie in 1986. Thanks to injuries he wouldn't play in another all-star game until 1999, giving him the NHL record for longest stretch between all-star appearances. Here's Clark, oddly wearing #15, being introduced during the pre-game ceremony.

1:13 - Wendel heads to the dressing room after a fight, presumably to wait for the homicide investigators.

1:24 - Clark sends Steve Smith through the end glass at the old Chicago Stadium.

1:30 - Clark has stitches. I don't know who gave them to him, but I'm sure the memorial service was lovely.

1:33 - One of my favorite clips in the entire video, as Gord Dineen pretends to want to fight Clark while hiding behind a linesman. That works brilliantly right up until the linesman gets fed up and leaves, at which point Dineen moves to Plan B: backing into the boards and turning his entire body horizontal. Interesting strategy. Full fight is here.

1:46 - Jeff Chycrun figures he can handle Clark since he's a full five inches taller. He would be wrong. It's actually amazing how often Clark's opponents ended up facing the wrong direction during a fight. Full fight is here.

1:50 - Clark's memorable obliteration of Mike Peluso, which I wrote about here.

2:00 - Wendel KO's Dirk Graham (yes, he was originally a North Star). This is quite possibly the greatest moustache-vs-moustache fight of all time.

2:01 - Clark TKO's David Maley (not to be confused with David Mackey).

2:02 - Ho hum, another Wendel TKO. This one is from 1993, and this time the victim is (future Leaf) Kris King. The full fight is here. And now it's time for three of the greatest Wendel moments of all time in rapid-fire.

2:03 - The infamous "waster" on Curtis Joseph. I named this the #12 Wendel Moment of All-Time, and there was nearly universal agreement that it should have been higher.

2:08 - Clark vs. McSorley. Quite possible the greatest fight of all-time. Almost definitely the greatest moment of Wendel Clark's career. Without question the greatest moment of my life (unless my wife is reading this, in which case wedding day, birth of what's-her-name, blah blah blah.)

2:14 - The Bruce Bell hit. Rumor has it that to this day whenever Wendel Clark sneezes, one of Bruce Bell's lungs explodes.

2:17 - Hey look, it's our old friend Gord Dineen from 1:33! Remember how he tried to ninja his way out of their first fight by going horizontal? Maybe he should have stuck with that, because he stays upright here and gets absolutely destroyed. You could always tell when Wendel was really mad at a guy, because he would make sure to hold his corpse upright while he pummelled him.

2:24 - In a great sequence, Clark annihilates Mark Howe and then gets jumped by Rick Tocchet. Hey Rick, you think you can beat Wendel Clark if he doesn't see you coming? Wanna bet? Full fight is here. (And check out Ron Hextall's bizarre stick slamming routine during the fight. When did he become the goalie from Blades of Steel?)

2:36 - Clark takes on the Stars' Mark Tinordi, who I seem to remember him fighting about 300 different times in his career. Clark more than holds his own, even though he practically has to jump to land a punch. Full fight is here.

2:40 - Guitar solo! Apologies in advance for any typos, as I'll be typing the next few lines with my middle and ring fingers folded in.

2:41 - Clark scores an overtime winner on Eddie Belfour, who of course executes the "losing goaltender sprint off the ice" move.

2:48 - Garth Butcher thinks he has Clark lined up during the 1993 playoffs. He's wrong, and no doubt has time to reflect on that fact as he rotates four feet in the air.

2:53 - Another OT winner, this time against Tim Cheveldae of the Wings.

3:00 - Wendel takes out a pair of Rangers on the same shift.

3:05 - Clark drops down to prevent a scoring chance. If any members of the current Leafs team are reading this, this move is called "blocking a shot" and it is in fact a legal hockey play.

3:06 - A patented open ice hit against a miscellaneous Hab. This was from Pat Burns' epic return to Montreal in 1993.

3:07 - Another one-punch TKO, this time on Rudy Poeschek.

3:08 - Note to defencemen: If Wendel Clark wants to go to the net, he's going. Trying to stop him is just going make it worse for everyone involved.

3:10 - Clark kills Bob Brooke, then decides to give him a proper burial beneath the MLG ice. The full fight is here. Fun fact: this fight happened in overtime.

3:15 - Wendel takes on future teammate John Kordic in a classic. This fight featured about 30 punches, including Russ Courtnall's ticket out of Toronto. The full fight is here.

3:19 - Clark takes on Garth Butcher in 1987, the first of two fights they had that night. By the way, Garth Butcher holds the all-time record for largest discrepancy in toughness between first and last name.

3:25 - The Wendel Clark/Kevin Maguire practice fight. I wrote about this one here. Notice how at one point Maguire ends up facing the wrong direction.

3:30 - Clark "fights" Slava Fetisov, in the same way that you might "fight" a mosquito that lands on your arm. I wrote about this one here.

3:43 - Wendel scores another OT winner, this one coming in that crazy comeback win over the Boston Bruins on New Year's eve December 30, 1989. The Leafs had trailed 6-1 but came all the way back, taking a 7-6 decision in overtime in perhaps the greatest Leafs win of the decade.

3:53 - Wendel Clark vs. Bob Probert, chapters I-IV. They had several memorable fights, most of which featured Probert being hit in the head so hard that years later he'd say things like "Yes, I would be interested in doing a figure skating reality show". The best of the series was the third fight, which I wrote about here.

4:08 - Todd Gill hugs Clark, creating a picture whose subtitle is "Two People Who Are Awesome".

4:09 - Somebody holding up a quote from the bible.

4:10 - I'll let Dan describe the final shot: "Clark in his captained, mulletted, post-murder glory." Amen.

And then, much like just about everyone who ever tried to fight Wendel Clark, we fade to black.

(In addition to all the help from Dan, a quick thanks to a pair of great resources: hockeyfights.com, and dropyourgloves.com.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Maple Leafs "90s Night"

Maple Leafs 90s night
Would I be a loser if I pointed out that
that apostrophe is unnecessary?
When I first heard that Saturday night was going to be "90s Night" at the ACC, I was thrilled. I mistakenly thought it was an indication that the Leafs were planning to try something new and actually record a save percentage in the 90s.

Apparently not. But after finding out that the night was actually intended to honor various Leaf teams and players of the 1990s, I was still excited. After all, there may not be a Leaf fan on the planet who's spent more time chronicling the various highlights of the previous decade.

For those that missed it: the Leafs honored the 90s by having the current roster wear jerseys of 20 different ex-Leafs during the pre-game warmup. They also brought out Felix Potvin, Bill Berg and Mark Osborne to drop the puck.

And while I can't find a full list of the 20 Leafs who were "honored" during the warmup, the list was apparently based on the results of a poll on mapleleafs.com. And while the fan participation angle is nice, the actual poll was... well, bizarre. Have a look.

Can anyone figure out the point behind dividing up the players that way? I suppose they wanted to avoid having fans vote en masse for the players from the 1993 team because... well, I'm not actually sure why that would be a problem, but it's the best guess I can come up with.

But have a look at group three for the forwards -- you're telling me that only two of Sundin, Andreychuk and Borschevsky can be part of the Leafs all 90s teams? Really?

And it gets worse: check out groups four and five. Yes, fans, you get not one but two chances to vote for Todd Warriner, Mike Johnson and Freddy Modin!

And while guys like Eddie Olcyzk, Kirk Muller and Darcy Tucker didn't even make the voting list, we did get beloved former Leafs such as Darby Hendrickson and Mike Craig. I'm amazed they overlooked Brandon Convery.

Anyways, I have no idea whether the online poll was actually used in the end or not. It just seemed strange that nobody caught those errors.

Some additional thoughts:
  • At first I was going to criticize the team for not spending more time matching up the current and past players appropriately. I mean, Rick Wallin as Mats Sundin? But then I realized that we don't have any players worthy of wearing most of these guys' jerseys, so I felt better. And by "better", I mean "terrible".

  • Wayne Primeau as Wendel Clark? Ugh. They should have just had the real Wendel Clark take the skate. And then stay on the ice and play on the first line.

  • Ironic to see Mikhail Grabovski wearing Peter Zezel's jersey considering their respective faceoff skills. I'm pretty sure Grabovski would lose over 95% of his draws to Zezel. And not in their prime. I mean today.

  • Speaking of which, MLSE couldn't have thrown me a bone and had Grabovski play Berezin, and Ponikoravsky be Modin?

  • It was great to see Felix Potvin mentioned in the opening, and it was a brilliant move to use the occasion to replay his Hextall fight on the main scoreboard. I just wish Felix himself could have been there to take part in the ceremony. Anyone know why the Leafs invited his dad instead?

  • How many Leaf fans do you think watched the game at a bar, a party, or for some other reason had the volume turned down and momentarily thought they were having a stroke? Toronto's 911 lines probably lit up for a good ten minutes.

  • If you're going to a 90s night, why not go all out? You're telling me you couldn't have arranged for the anthem to be performed by Color Me Badd or Dee-lite?

  • Finally, I loved the idea for the ceremony and thought the execution was solid. But is anyone else concerned that we're starting to get a little Habby with all the ceremonies lately? I like an occasional nod to history as much as the next guy. But as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself holding a pre-game ceremony that prominently features an appearance by Mark Osborne, you might be overdoing it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The bright side: Six good things about six awful losses

Toronto Maple Leafs fan
Source: PBF
A few people pinged me on twitter recently to ask if there would be a new DGB post this week. Apparently, some Leaf fans could use some cheering up.

My initial reaction was that writing anything vaguely amusing these days would be all but impossible. After all, I have Center Ice, a television, and two functioning eyes. Those eyes are red from crying and/or having steel wool jammed into them, but they're still functioning. Unfortunately.

On top of that, optimism isn't really my thing. I've tried it in the past and it didn't go well. I tend to do better at depressing people.

But the people have spoken, and I'm up for a challenge. Let's see if we can't come up with a few positives from all of this.

OK, here we go!



No, wait. I can do this, dammit. Let's make it happen. In honor of the Leafs losing six straight games to start the season, let's see if we can at least come up with six good things about the season so far.

1. When the Leafs signed Mike Komisarek, some people mocked the signing because they said he was a one-dimensional player who couldn't score. It sure didn't take long for him to prove them wrong, did it?

2. Remember how the big story during training camp the last two years was whether the hotshot prospect (Schenn, Kadri) should stay in Toronto or go back to junior, with everyone weighing in and arguing ad nauseum about for weeks? It got kind of annoying, didn't it?

Well imagine how out-of-hand it would be next year with Taylor Hall. Thanks for taking care of that one in advance, Burkie!

3. With every loss, we get closer and closer to the inevitable moment when Ron Wilson responds to a postgame media question by screaming "take his pen!", sprinting across the podium and diving into the press pit like Axl Rose.

The over/under on this happening is December 1st, by the way.

4. After we lose to the Rangers on Saturday, the Leafs don't play for a full week. That's about 165 hours without any action at all. And there's an excellent chance that during that time, our rebuilt defence won't allow more than five or six goals. Eight, tops.

5. Remember back when the Leafs used to make the playoffs, and a critical game would go into overtime? Remember the almost unbearable tension, how it felt like a weight on your chest that threatened to crush you underneath it?

Yeah. You're not going to have to worry about feeling that way again for a long time.

6. Scientists say that eventually the earth will crash into the sun. If Leaf fans have any luck, it could happen tomorrow.

Hmm. I may need to work on this whole "finding the bright side" thing. Luckily it looks like I'll get lots of practice this year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Toronto Star's McSorley shiner photo

The fight is an instant classic. Clark connects early with one of the hardest punches in hockey history. McSorley, to his credit, absorbs the shot and stays on his feet, although the punch decimated half of his face as captured in a memorable front page photo the next day...

This wasn't the first time I'd mentioned the classic McSorley photo, and it wouldn't be last. Commenters recalled it fondly. It seemed like everyone remembered that famous shot of McSorley's grotesquely swollen eye, courtesy of Wendel Clark's fist.

But nobody could find it. And memories were hazy: was it from the Star? The Sun? A Google image search came up empty. Several readers even reported searching through various newspaper archives with no luck.

Thanks to a determined DGB reader, we finally have a copy. It's grainy, black-and-white, and maybe a little crooked, but we've found it.

Here's the Toronto Star sport section's front page from May 19, 1993:

McSorley black eye

Besides the photo itself, the entire section is a gold mine of classic coverage, including:
  • Cliff Fletcher doing his best Brian Burke impression. For example: "All I'm saying is (McSorley) may try (going after Gilmour), but it won't happen again". When asked to clarify, Fletcher responds: "Ever play in the NHL? Go ask someone who has."

  • The always-classy Barry Melrose mocking Pat Burns: "I could have said 'Have another donut'. If Pat could see himself on film, he would howl."

  • Burns responding by referring to Melrose as "Billy Ray Cyrus".

  • Melrose throwing a mini-tantrum at reporters for pointing out that the Leafs had outshot the Kings 22-1 in the third period of game one, leading reporter Chris Young to speculate that Melrose wanted to talk about "more important stuff, like his hair."

  • A Rosie DiManno piece headlined "Brawny Baumgartner is brainy too" which reads pretty much exactly like you probably think it does.

  • Various other pieces of nostalgia, such as the weekly Starball standings, Bob McCown's "Vegas Line", and an ad offering a "store manager's special" of a desktop computer with a mighty 4MB of RAM and two floppy drives for the low price of $1,899.
So there you have it. And remember kids: do not make Wendel Clark angry.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Live blogging the Battle of Ontario

I'll be liveblogging tonight's game between the Leafs and Senators over at TheScore.com. Join me, won't you?

Please feel free to jump in, as we discover the answer to questions such as:
  • With Jonas Gustavsson getting the start, will the Senators concede the game prior to introductions or wait until the opening faceoff?

  • Just how depressed will I get when the Monster gives up the opening goal on a 50-foot floater 30 seconds in?

  • Will Chris Neil get his face caved in by:
    a.) Colton Orr
    b.) Jay Rosehill
    c.) Colton Orr and Jay Rosehill; or
    d.) nobody because this will be one of those games where he mysteriously decides his job is to be an "agitator" instead.

  • Will Mikhail Grabovski and Jason Spezza finally play a full shift together and create the fabled Perpetual Neutral Zone Turnover Machine?

  • Wasn't all of this way more fun when Pat Quinn was still alive?
It should be a good time, so please stop by if you're online during the game.

After all, you know how much I love the Battle of Ontario...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Laughing at the Maple Leafs. Or at least smirking angrily.

I'm back after being offline three days on a quick vacation. My timing was good, since being away meant that I missed the Leaf game on Saturday and didn't wind up wandering the streets in a drunken rage, throwing empty stubbies at anyone who looked like they might be named "Vesa".

But even though the Leafs have looked hinky so far, there's still plenty to laugh about as a Leaf fan. In fact, when I finally got back online I found my inbox full of comedy, both intentional and otherwise, courtesy of DGB readers who took the time to e-mail me. Here are a few of my favorites.

First up, and I hope you've seen this already: the folks at the always-excellent Orland Kurtenblog were able to expose Ron Wilson's game day cheat sheet.

Sneakiness: You're doing it wrong.

Yes, apparently the Leafs need printed reminders that the Habs forwards are small and their defencemen are big and slow. Maybe Ron should consider adding more helpful notes as the season goes on, such as "Maybe come up with some sort of defensive system eventually", and "Put rocks in Toskala's pockets and roll him into the Don River".

Next up: a new addition to the Barilkosphere has appeared, and it's the strongest debut that Maple Leaf fans have seen since Jiri Tlusty showed up and started deflecting in goals with his butt. Bloge Salming looks like a winner thanks to some fantastic videos, including this one:

Somehow I had a feeling Komi might do that.

If you'd like to see more, and/or you've ever wondered what the Maple Leaf Media Bingo Card would like if Damien Cox turned it into a Christmas carol, visit Bloge now and give him a warm welcome.

Speaking of new Leafs blogs, I'd also recommend giving a look to Leafs247. It's a brand new site from some of the folks behind Crash the Crease.

And finally, this one has been around for a few years and has plenty of views, but it was new to me. It's a clip of a hilarious bug from an old version of NHL2K.

I mean, how ridiculous is that? Don't these developers have beta testers? Kyle Wellwood throwing a body check? You'd never catch the guys at EA Sports doing something that dumb.

In all seriousness, I think this is a reasonably accurate simulation of what would happen to a human body if Kyle Wellwood ever put his full weight behind a body check. But it's still an unrealistic and obvious bug, because as far as I can tell the opposing player wasn't made out of chocolate.

Update: More comedy, this time from Leafs Rumination: The rest of the Leafs Nation quiz that Ron Wilson made the team take.

That's all for now. Coming later this week: a famous front page photo of a certain fight, finally found.

Friday, October 2, 2009

2009-2010 Season Preview: The Northeast Division

As we count down the final days leading up to the 2009-10 regular season, let's take a look at each of the 30 teams with the official DGB Season Preview. Today, we conclude the series with a look at the Northeast Division.

Montreal Canadiens

The good: Spent the off-season creating a roster full of dynamic forwards who are perfectly suited to playing a creative, up-tempo offensive system.
The bad: Hired Jacques Martin to coach them.
Biggest question mark: After posting an adequate 2.83 in the regular season and a terrible 4.11 in the playoffs, can Carey Price get keep his "average cigarettes smoked at one time" average under 2.50 this year?
Fearless forecast: Hal Gill suffers a career-ending knee injury due to a series of accidental headbutts from teammates.

Boston Bruins

The good: Are extra-motivated after getting their annual "Winning is everything, unless losing would be slightly cheaper" speech from Jeremy Jacobs
The bad: Mike Komisarek has vowed to continue his feud with Milan Lucic, greatly increasing the likelihood that Lucic will spend time on the injured reserve list with severely bruised knuckles.
Biggest question mark: Will chemistry suffer now that entire team is no longer united by their desire to punch Phil Kessel in the face?
Fearless forecast: With a little luck, will finally be able to get the national sports media to notice Boston.

Buffalo Sabres

The good: Thanks to various off-season moves the Bruins, Leafs, Habs and Senators will be engaged in an intense four-way rivalry all season long, leaving the Sabres free to play without the distraction of anyone remembering they're in this division.
The bad: Are the only franchise in history to have their star player actually prefer playing in Edmonton.
Biggest question mark: Did we ever figure out what's wrong with Ryan Miller's face?
Fearless forecast: Buffalo sports fans will end up having to endure something really terrible, and the rest of us will laugh.

Ottawa Senators

The good: Are coming off one of the best post-season performances in team history.
The bad: Early reports from training camp suggest that Jason Spezza's lazy neutral zone drop passes to the other team don't look quite as crisp this year.
Biggest question mark: How will the team respond to the March firing of whichever coach they hire when Cory Clouston gets fired in November?
Fearless forecast: Top prospect Erik Karlsson will be one of the very best 165 lb defencemen in recent NHL history, according to his tombstone.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The good: For the next few years will have the distinct advantage of not being distracted by any of this "who should we draft with our first round pick?" talk.
The bad: Are paying Mike Komisarek $4.5M a year, which seems like a lot for a penalty box timekeeper.
Biggest question mark: If you punch another player so hard that his brain stem flies into the net, that counts as a goal, right?
Fearless forecast: Brian Burke has built a tough, young, exciting team that has all the pieces to make the playoffs and even contend for the Stanley Cup, unless they lose on opening night to the Habs in which case all is lost and the season is a writeoff.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2009-2010 Season Preview: The Central Division

As we count down the final days leading up to the 2009-10 regular season, let's take a look at each of the 30 teams with the official DGB Season Preview. Today, we look at the Norris Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks

The good: Signed Marian Hossa to a 12-year deal, which will turn out to be a great move as long as he doesn't end up suffering some sort of serious injury to like his shoulder or something.
The bad: Have not won a Stanley Cup in 48 years, the second longest active streak in the league behind the Maple Leafs' 42 years.
Biggest question mark: Hey, did anyone remember to mail Dale Tallon's severence cheque?
Fearless forecast: Dustin Byfuglien will secretly enjoy no longer being the only Hawk who can't get a cab.

St. Louis Blues

The good: Are highliy motivated to make a deep playoff run, just to keep Erik Johnson off of a golf course.
The bad: Team employs Ty Conklin, yet incompetent NHL hasn't even told them where their Winter Classic game will be held.
Biggest question mark: Keith Tkachuk? They still make that?
Fearless forecast: Brad Boyes goes into a career-destroying slump after somebody reminds him he's a Leafs draft pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The good: Gained experience while being crushed in the playoffs by the Red Wings, which will prove invaluable the next time they have to get crushed in the playoffs by the Red Wings.
The bad: Signed Rick Nash to an eight-year contract extension, making it marginally more difficult for the Leafs to sign him as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Biggest question mark: Will the team fall into complacency now that they've made franchise history by going three months without changing their logo?
Fearless forecast: Despite his Calder win last year, you will continue to have no idea which Mason goalie plays for Columbus and which one is on the Blues.

Nashville Predators

The good: Offense should get a boost from Wade Belak's triennial goal.
The bad: If Chris Hanson is on the Leafs roster for their January visit to Nashville, we'll all have to endure three million variations of the same "Why don't you have a seat over there" joke.
Biggest question mark: Can Masterton trophy winner Steve Sullivan continue his inspirational story that has seen him, through sheer determination, achieve a successful career despite being forced to play pro hockey in Nashville?
Fearless forecast: Will probably be the best team in the division without a color in their name.

Detroit Red Wings

The good: The team did what all smart teams do after a tough Cup final loss: get rid of Marian Hossa.
The bad: Niklas Lidstrom suffered a "catastrophic" testicle injury, making him the only Red Wing player last year who grabbed a cup.
Biggest question mark: What other kind of testicle injury is there?
Fearless forecast: Still upset over the handshake line snub, the Wings decide to teach Sidney Crosby a lesson about class, sportsmanship and respect for the game by sending Todd Bertuzzi to break his neck.