Friday, October 1, 2010

2010-11 Western Conference Preview

In the second of a two-part series, season preview week continues with a look at the Western Conference. (If you missed it, the Eastern Confence preview is here.)

Edmonton Oilers
The good: Just like every other team, will be tied for first place when the puck drops on opening night.
The bad: Will somehow be eight points out of a playoff spot by the next morning.
What to watch: Are expected to trade Sheldon Souray, which will be great since the bag of pucks they currently use at practice needs replacing.

Phoenix Coyotes
The good: Eastern-based hockey media agree that the team has an excellent lineup, featuring Shane Doan, Ilya Bryzgalov, and, um… you know, all those other guys.
The bad: There's absolutely no evidence that their owners know anything about hockey.
What to watch: Unless it's the playoffs, the guy at the sports bar asking you to "toss the snake" may not actually be a Coyotes fan.

Dallas Stars
The good: Have promised their long-suffering fans that they'll play half of their games in other cities this year.
The bad: The departure of Marty Turco is expected to drain the self-confidence of forwards who were used to practicing against him.
What to watch: The inspirational Mike Ribeiro, who continues to suit up despite suffering an apparent career ending injury on every third shift.

St. Louis Blues
The good: Continue to exist, you're pretty sure now that you stop and think about it.
The bad: Their new starting goalie once lost his job to Carey Price, so how good could he be?
What to watch: The confused look on their fans' faces when they see Blackhawk fans celebrating with that big weird trophy thing.

Colorado Avalanche
The good: Shocked the hockey world last year by achieving something few observers had believed possible.
The bad: It was losing to the Sharks in a playoff series.
What to watch: Coach Joe Sakic, who modestly insists that you call him "Joe" instead of "Mr. Sakic" and actually seems to get kind of touchy about it after a while, come to think of it.

Los Angeles Kings
The good: Refused to meet Ilya Kovalchuk's contract demands in free agency, greatly reducing the chances that you'll be forced to stay up to watch Stanley Cup finals games on pacific time.
The bad: In hindsight, Barry Melrose pretty much ruined the mullet for everyone.
What to watch: Drew Doughty, the current consensus pick the win the Norris, the Hart, the Vezina, and the Biletnikoff.

Anaheim Ducks
The good: Don't have any cap problems, unless you count Ryan Getzlaf's refusal to cover up his bald spot.
The bad: Will be without their #1 defenceman, Scott Niedermayer, as well as their #2 defenceman, Scott Niedermayer's beard.
What to watch: The "flying V" strategy from the Mighty Ducks movies would be called offside every time, which really has nothing to do with Anaheim but has always sort of bothered me.

Minnesota Wild
The good: The departure of Derek Boogard means the dressing room stereo can finally be used for pregame music again, instead of all those damn Stephen Hawking audiobooks.
The bad: A recent exhibition game produced the first non-sellout in the franchise's ten year history, proving conclusively that US expansion can never succeed.
What to watch: Josh Harding if he's standing anywhere near you, because you know that lightning strike is on its way.

Nashville Predators
The good: Consistently choose really good teams to lose to in the first round.
The bad: Shea Weber slapshots have been known to go through the net, end boards, several rows of stands, and crucial load-bearing arena walls.
What to watch: Coach Barry Trotz, an honourable man who would never fail to stick his neck out for his players if he had one.

Columbus Blue Jackets
People don't read alt tags either. Roll the body up in a carpet and dump it in the woods.The good: Are a team that absolutely nobody cares about, so you can safely ignore them when writing a preview.
The bad: I mean, you still need to put some text in there. You can't just leave a blank space, people would notice that. But you can write pretty much anything you want because nobody will read it.
What to watch: Note to self, Post editors may be getting suspicious of the embezzling. Find a temporary new source of funding for lavish gifts for the mistress.

San Jose Sharks
The good: In last year's first round series against the Avalanche, silenced critics who called them playoff chokers by scoring an NHL record five game-winning goals.
The bad: It's their fault that you're able to have an intelligent conversation with your wife about the pros and cons of the color teal.
What to watch: Dany Heatley makes his return to Ottawa on December 2, giving Senator fans a chance to boo somebody out of the building other than Daniel Alfredsson during every Leafs game.

Calgary Flames
The good: They kept their own first round pick this year, which is great news since they will be terrible.
The bad: They'll also have the fourth round pick of whichever team they panic and trade Jarome Iginla to.
What to watch: Jay Bouwmeester, the greatest postseason performer in hockey history as far as anyone knows.

Detroit Red Wings
The good: Chris Osgood has inspired a generation of hockey players by winning three Stanley Cup rings despite being born without the ability to be an adequate NHL starting goaltender.
The bad: They finally got the old man smell out of Chris Chelios' locker, and then along comes Mike Modano.
What to watch: Mike Babcock's angry face, if you need to get rid of some hiccups.

Chicago Blackhawks
The good: Saw their 50-year rebuilding plan pay off a whole season ahead of schedule.
The bad: Marian Hossa may be a little fatigued, since he's had about fifteen total days of offseason in the past three years.
What to watch: Patrick Kane doesn't seem to have gained any arm strength this offseason, even though whenever you ask him how he spent his summer he says something about lots of 12 oz curls and then high fives you.

Vancouver Canucks
The good: Now that he's been stripped of the captaincy, Roberto Luongo will no longer spend the majority of every practice working on his ceremonial faceoff technique.
The bad: After last year's Stephane Auger controversy, referees can no longer try to "get" Alex Burrows during games, and will now have to resort to running him over in the parking lot.
What to watch: The team enjoys a spirited rivalry with the Blackhawks, in much the same way that cake enjoys a spirited rivalry with a fat kid on his birthday.


  1. The Eastern Conference preview was brilliant. But this one completely eclipses it.


  2. Way too many excellent lines to mention, as usual. For some reason the Blues continuing to exist was particularly funny to me. And I'm sure the sole person who cares about the Blue Jackets will be letting you know about it soon!

  3. "the same way that cake enjoys a spirited rivalry with a fat kid on his birthday."


  4. As always, an excellent preview. It has been a long, boring summer. Go Sharks.

  5. When are you getting your Pulitzer?

  6. Not a typo this time, but you forgot to link to the eastern conference where it said it would.

  7. I must make a correction:

    Doughty will win the Maxwell, not the Biletnikoff.

    (Ye gods, those jokes are probably waaaaaaaaaaaay too obscure for a Canadian hockey site unless the readers play as much NCAA 11 as I do....)

  8. What you didnt Tag KyleWellwoodissofat after that last joke about cake and fat kids..?? what gives?

  9. As the sole person who cares about the Blue Jackets... that was the nicest thing anyone has had to say in a season preview this year.

    Let's Go...Jackets.

  10. Awesome!
    You're bang on about the flying v, most useful info provided here for fantasy drafts.

  11. Great work, as always. Little bummed that you recycled the same "Joe Sacco(Sakic)" joke from last season though :(

  12. Fairly accurate except Getzlaf does not have a bald stop, dude is bald. Time to shave that.

  13. DGB, you've outdone yourself this time! This was even better than the Eastern Conference preview. I loved what you "wrote" about the Columbus Blue Jackets. ;)

  14. I have a number of complaints about this post.

    First, I had to Google "Biletnikoff" which was embarassing because as resident "Sports Geek" in my office I didn't have an explanation at the tip of my tongue for my co-worker reading alongside me.

    Next, the Trotz line followed WAY too closely on the heels of the Boogard gem and the lack of buffer recovery time resulted in a near fatality involving both my bagel and said co-worker's coffee.

    And finally, now that my wife has bookmarked you following months of watching me giggle uncontrollably while reading your posts, I have to take exception with you revealing "Guy" secrets on how to keep memos hidden in documents you know she will never read. Thanks to the CBJ remarks she is now going and back and reading all of my inane lists like such as my recording of stats for every 100 games of Golden Tee Golf I play on my Blackberry while laying on the couch watching those incredibly entertaining Flames vs Wild games.

  15. Does Mike Babcock have a not-angry face? People have told me that he cried when Canada won the gold, but I'm pretty convinced his robotics were just leaking.

  16. *winces*

    So, yeah, I was wondering if I should pick a Western Conference team, then I saw a Sharks home game. I don't support the team so much as sympathise with them. It's not the playoff choking, it's the teal.

  17. It says quite a bit about this blog that you are probably the only writer who didn't use the easy card on Nashville and use a hick/country bumpkin joke. This is the best hockey related blog out there.

  18. Bouwmeester line = Awesome

  19. HEY! We know what the cup is in St. Louis. It's that thing all of our ex-players and coaches win as soon as they leave St. Louis.

  20. Terrible. Not funny at all.

  21. RE: Flying V is offside

    I used to agree with you DGB, but if you listen more closely to Bombay's pre-game speech, the Ducks fly as one. Although the peak of the 'V' might cross over the blueline first without the puck, the fact that they are moving as a single unit makes the move legitimately onside.

    Hope this clarifies everything.

  22. I like the Blue Jackets and by like I mean "hope they become the Cleveland Barons someday."

  23. Amazingly funny post. And the Blues lines are spot-on.

    Go Blues

  24. damn dgb, "Will be without their #1 defenceman, Scott Niedermayer, as well as their #2 defenceman, Scott Niedermayer's beard." made the beer come out of my nose ^^

    "The team enjoys a spirited rivalry with the Blackhawks, in much the same way that cake enjoys a spirited rivalry with a fat kid on his birthday." came a close second, but by then, i had already started to take sips when not reading.

    and, as the obligatory exception from the rule: i really had been looking forward to reading something about the blue jackets. isles in the east, jackets in the west: i looove underdogs. as a leafs fan, you sure know that feeling, eh? *scnr*

  25. The "Good" about the Sharks was a beauty

  26. My favourite was the Flames... and that is the only time I will be saying that about anything related to Calgary.

  27. Loved the Phoenix "There's absolutely no evidence that their owners know anything about hockey" line!

  28. DGB you are an absoulute genious! Once again you come up with pure gold. You deserve every penny you make from the post and then some

  29. "The team enjoys a spirited rivalry with the Blackhawks, in much the same way that cake enjoys a spirited rivalry with a fat kid on his birthday."

    You really need to put a warning label on these things. I almost spilled some beer. And thanks for not doing yet another "Blackhawks lost half their roster over the offseason" jab! I was cringing in anticipation, and originality was a breath of fresh air!

  30. Sharks "the good" is so clever. I'm amazed again.

  31. Good laugh....s'about it

  32. Can anyone help with the Hawking reference?

  33. "Their new starting goalie once lost his job to Carey Price, so how good could he be?"

    I don't know. When do we play the Capitals or Penguins?

  34. Anonymous said...
    Can anyone help with the Hawking reference?

    Because Boogard is obviously an intellectual heavyweight who writes dissertations on Hawkings' string theories ... and stuff like that.

    I'm glad to see there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel for beleaguered Oilers players ... I mean fresh practice pucks are a Godsend.

  35. funniest hockey blog, period. i love your work, man. so smart.

  36. Osgood spends almost every season on the bench, watching another goaltender taking his place, while polishing his hall of fame plaque. How dare you make fun of him!

  37. As only the second bluejackets fan I sadly have to agree with yourwrite up. Fortunately there are two more of us than thrashers fans haha... also fortunate is our one playoff appearance since the lock out as it is one more than the maple leafs... although just as many playoff wins