Friday, October 8, 2010

Predicting the 2010-11 NHL season

Unfortunately for Leaf fans, the
road lead directly to Boston.
NHL fans have spent the past few weeks sifting through a steady stream of predictions from various experts and observers. In fact, virtually anyone with access to a keyboard has weighed in with their best guess as to what the upcoming season will hold.

But does it really take any skill to predict the Alexander Ovechkin will score a lot of goals, or that Ryan Miller will record his share of shutouts? Is it really all that impressive to pick one of the half-dozen consensus contenders and label them the eventual champion? Doesn't anyone want to go out on a limb?

Let's get specific. After reviewing this season's schedule, here's a selection of detailed predictions that will let you know exactly what to expect and when.

October 9, 2010 - The Chicago Blackhawks raise their Stanley Cup banner prior to their game against the Detroit Red Wings. The moment is marred somewhat when Detroit third-liner Kris Draper surveys the rafters and comments "Wow, Chicago, you've won four Stanley Cups? Me too!"

October 10, 2010 - The Phoenix Coyotes host the Boston Bruins in Prague, Czech Republic, enjoying a rare opportunity to play a home game in front of fans who have heard of the Phoenix Coyotes.

November 6, 2010 - At the annual Hall of Fame game, thousands of fans show up in Toronto to express their appreciation for some of the very best players from hockey's history, and are deeply disappointed when Dino Ciccarelli shows up instead.

December 2, 2010 - The Ottawa Senators host the San Jose Sharks. A returning Dany Heatley is badly shaken by the sound of 19,000 Senator fans booing and screaming death threats, until a teammate points out that they're actually just reacting to the appearance of a guy in the upper deck wearing a Leafs jersey.

December 16, 2010 - The Maple Leafs make their first trip to Calgary since last season's blockbuster trade between the two teams. In an embarrassing mixup that he chalks up to force of habit, Dion Phaneuf accidentally takes a wrong turn on his way into the building, enters the Flames dressing room, divides it, and destroys their season.

January 1, 2011 - The Penguins and Capitals meet in the Winter Classic at Heinz Field. A crowd of 65,000 fans who are used to watching Pittsburgh Steelers games sit in confused silence whenever Alexander Ovechkin takes the ice, as they're not used to watching a funny looking foreigner who isn't kicking something.

January 23, 2011 - The Flyers and Hawks meet for the first time since the Stanley Cup finals, which featured several insulting comments by Chicago players directed towards Chris Pronger. Pronger takes the high road and has a bouquet of flowers delivered to the Chicago dressing room, leading several Blackhawk players to admit that they may have been wrong about him, confess their admiration of his sportsmanship, and briefly wonder why the flowers seem to be ticking.

February 20, 2011 - A new tradition is launched with the first annual Hockey Day in America. The event features a day-long tribute to all the places in the United States that truly love and respect the sport, from Minnesota all the way to Eastern Minnesota.

February 20, 2011 - Meanwhile, the Flames and Canadiens meet north of the border in the outdoor Heritage Classic. The event brings back all sorts of great memories of the 1989 Stanley Cup series between the two teams, right up until PK Subban casually mentions that he was only born a few days before all that happened and you suddenly feel very old and decide to go lie down for a while.

March 2, 2011 - The trade deadline passes. Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke keeps his promise to not ask Tomas Kaberle to waive his no-trade clause, in the sense that throwing a burlap sack over someone's head and shoving them into a cargo plane bound for Vancouver is not technically "asking".

April 10, 2011 - The NHL regular season concludes. You look back at how much optimism your favourite team had in early October, laugh softly to yourself, throw an empty bottle of scotch through your TV screen, and start working on your 2011-12 season preview.




21 comments:

  1. December 2, 2010 - Fans reacting to Jason Spezza

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  2. These jokes about Czechoslovakia are not longer funny. But great post as always.
    Your reader from Czech Republic ;)

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  3. Oh for...

    That's it, I need to stop writing about European geography.

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  4. "Ryan Miller will record his share of shutouts"

    If by that you mean coughing up only 1 goal he should have stopped at some point in the game, most likely during the final 2 minutes. The "Ryan Miller shutout" is what it's called. Sort of like No-Tap in bowling, where 9 pins equals a strike.

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  5. December 16, 2010 - The Maple Leafs make their first trip to Calgary since last season's blockbuster trade between the two teams. In an embarrassing mixup that he chalks up to force of habit, Dion Phaneuf accidentally takes a wrong turn on his way into the building, enters the Flames dressing room, divides it, and destroys their season.

    Gold. Brilliant.

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  6. That guy in the Leaf jersey should be booed. A Leaf jersey has no place at a Sens/Sharks game. A Sens jersey doesn't belong at a Leafs/Sharks game either. It's like you're not even aware who's playing that night. And yes, I do get the joke.

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  7. "And yes, I do get the joke"

    I'm not sure you understand what jokes are.

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  8. Michigan and New York don't respect hockey? LOL.

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  9. DGB,

    You know, depression is treatable. And I am the "blogging psychologist" (I really need to run more with this idea)

    Why don't you sit down, and talk with me about your problems?

    DGS

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  10. Just to add to your end of the season optimism... you'll have to put off writing that preview because you'll be busy working on your twice weekly, hockey-relevant posts all summer long. You're welcome. :)

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  11. Look at it this way, come April 10 this year you won't have to worry about some voodoo'd Habs obituary.

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  12. We need more mentioning of the Predators. The only hockey fan in Nashville

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  13. My favourite was the first prediction. I hope Draper (or Lidstrom or Holmstrom) is a reader of this blog and make that prediction come true.

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  14. you're a soddin genius, dgb. this time, there's even too many great lines for copy/paste-stuff.

    but the phaneuf one has to be mentioned since it's effin GOLD :D

    guess what: this years' cinderella team, in my book, is the leafs. both the isles and the jackets will manage to suck on their own account, so my underdog-support goes to toronto this season. you may laugh now. and before anyone asks - didn't choose edmonton because, well, it's edmonton :P

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  15. "April 10, 2011 - The NHL regular season concludes. You look back at how much optimism your favourite team had in early October, laugh softly to yourself, throw an empty bottle of scotch through your TV screen, and start working on your 20[11] season preview." ~ dgb
    change the date to oct. 5, 2010 & "early october" to early april and youll know how i felt watching my mlb team lead their division all summer only to ch...ch..choke out of the post season... again... sigh..
    is this empty, angry, abandon-all-hope mood im in what it feels like to be a maple leafs fan?
    Go PENGUINS!!
    - cheers...

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  16. Usually well written and appropriately tongue-in-cheek, this was a bit weaker of an effort. Still, the Phaneuf reference makes up for the wasted Winter Classic joke. Keep entertaining!

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  17. PS - The Draper vs. Blackhawks was pretty good, too.

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  18. I went to high school with Mike Zigomanis. A couple of days ago, Leafs Beat lead off a story with a picture of our 4th line centre, and I just couldn't get over how much older he looked than the image of him in my memory. Had I also aged so much? Then I looked at my picture in my old yearbook and I realized that, yes, yes judging by my four sizes bigger pants and receding hairline, I had indeed aged that much. Then I also realized that Ziggy is the oldest forward on the team by over a year, and I'm a couple of months older than he is. Then I felt sad and started looking for a midlife crisis car.

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  19. DGB quit on the Leafs last yearOctober 9, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    Dino Ciccerelli scored 600 goals. Hall of fame should be a lock. Where doesthat place him on the Leafs all time list? What? Really? What about Sundin? Oh... I see...hrmmm...but Leeman... No? Oh.....well then...

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  20. great post dgb, but lay of dino the guy had 600 goals, the other players will get their shot at the hall its dino's turn...

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  21. If Chris Pronger is still mad, he can look at the Stanley Cup inside a United Center display case all he wants.

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