I've finally returned home to good old Manitoba, it was quite the journey. The flight from Halifax to Toronto was alright, we flew over Niagara Falls. The flight from Toronto to Winnipeg was spectacular, especially the service. Although the day didn't go as planned when it came to getting into Winnipeg waiting for my luggage turns out is was left in Toronto and I never received it until this afternoon. Plus, my cat doesn't recognize me, hissing at me non-stop.
I just wrote a small blog, hopefully entertaining on the Top 5 things that I'll be most interested in this coming season, and hopefully you all will as well. I'd be more than happy to hear what you are all looking forward to seeing this NHL season.
#5 - Where does Forsberg end up?
Presuming Forsberg wants to give his ankle another test and try and come back and win one more Stanley Cup. He will be looking at a Roger Clemens type contract (begins in the middle of the year), and could very well be helpful to any team looking for that extra scoring touch that Forsberg could provide to all 30 teams in the league. He will demand a decent amount of cash, which you can put teams like the Rangers out of contention which I don't think Ranger fans would mind with Drury and Gomez already on-board.
#4 - Sidney Crosby
The reigning scoring champion, Hart trophy and Lester B Pearson award winner will be in the spot light again this season. Coming off a remarkable sophmore season scoring 120 points (36G, 84A), and an improved Pittsburgh team re-signing Gary Roberts and adding Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor should give an extra boost to the Penguins who we're beat out of the first round to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Ottawa Senators. Crosby will be the captain of this years team, and will more than likely improve on his 120 point campaign a year ago.
#3 - The NEW RBK gear
The new RBK jerseys are due to appear this season, all across the league. Teams have already introduced their new looks to the fans and media, and some teams are due to release them in September. Last January, the NHL and Reebok announced a partnership that has created the new technologically-advanced uniform system, which was worn by the Western and Eastern Conference All-Star Teams at last year's game in Dallas. The jerseys decrease drag, release moisture keeping the players lighter and the new equipement has added new padding and should decrease injuries.
#2 - Anaheim Ducks
The defending Stanley Cup Champions, and Brian Burke are still awaiting word on Scott Niedermayer and are in doubt about Teemu Selanne. They lost power-forward Dustin Penner to an offer sheet made by the Edmonton Oilers. Brian Burke did however sign veteran power-forward Todd Bertuzzi and veteran defense man Mathieu Schneider. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Andy McDonald are all ready for a more significant role and should all improve on point totals and ice time. J.S. Giguere will provide solid goal tending for the duration of the season, but will still probably hit a few rough patches along the road. Anaheim should still be the cream of the crop when it comes to the Western Conference, and should repeat as division champions.
#1 - The Trade Deadline
Oh, joy! The trade deadline, all I need to do is follow Eklund's rumor chart and perhaps watch again on Sportsnet (unlikely!). The trade deadline is the busiest day in the National Hockey League during the season. Teams are looking to improve, and teams are looking to off load dead weight and free cap space for free agency. This trade deadline should be a good one, with some free agents on lackluster teams and in their contract years there is a good crop of players that may be available for rent during the deadline.