Greetings hockey fans! I'm back from my summer hockey hiatus and ready to get down to the business.
I have to say that I'm sick of rumors about Sundin and don't even mention Forsberg. This time of year prompts a lot of speculation which in the end is generally useless. We're coming down to the wire and everyone wants to get their 2 cents in but there are only a few sure things.
Here are 5 things you can be sure of this season:
5.) Sean Avery
will find a new nemesis in the Western Conference. With his switch over to the Dallas Stars Avery will have to say goodbye to long time enemy Martin Brodeur. The notorious agitator spent his off season in a rather unconventional place. While most players were home playing golf, he was in downtown New York interning at Vogue. Fashion is apparently his third love (just after himself, and infuriating other players)
4.) A rise in ticket prices
. I know this happens pretty much every year, but wasn't more reasonable ticket prices part of the whole lockout deal? (See this great article by ESPN's Terry Frei http://sports.espn.go.com...frei_terry&id=3568989
) Just further proof that once again 29 of our teams will leave us feeling like we've gone through a divorce without a pre-nup : penniless and heart-broken.
3.) More goals
! Good goaltending doesn't sell tickets...goals do. That is why the NHL is shrinking goalie equipment yet again. This should make for some interesting early season adjustments. Really it favors the more athletic goalies rather than the super technical. Think of it this way: If you've got a goalie who's always diving around making ridiculous saves off a skate or shin pad he's going to just keep doing the same thing. The technical goalies are going to have to work out some serious kinks and try to figure out how to compensate for their new more compact attire. Perhaps it's time to work on that butterfly. I'm sure we'll see more shots at the five hole this season.
2.) ESPN's Scott Burnside
will piss me off. I love hockey and I appreciate anyone at ESPN that is willing to acknowledge that it still exists but Burnside is an embarrassment to sports writing. If you can ignore the fact that his writing skills are generally mediocre, you would only be able to read enough of his coverage that you'd be able to tell he has no clue what he's talking about. His playoff stories last year only supported my theory that he reads both teams website game summary, decides which team he likes better and writes a totally one-sided story that ignores any good thing the opposing team had to offer. He is second only to Mike Wise (you'll remember him from his charming article on the Philadelphia Flyers fans) on my list of Sports writers that should be exiled to covering home town high school sports or banned from writing all together.
1.) Sidney Crosby
will be over rated. We've seen him compared to lemiuex and Gretzky and while he in undoubatly very talented, his play leaves something to be desired. My hope is that this season he will have learned that time spent on his feet will be more valuable than time spent sprawled out on the ice (I'm hoping really that the entire league has realized that). If not, you can count on the fact taht he will not be as productive as his russian competition (Ovechkin and Malkin). I understand that he is the leagues poster boy but all I heard last season was how he was the best player in the league when he wasn't even the best player on his own team! Yes, he spent a good part of the season out with a high ankle sprain (an injury one might argue, that could have been avoided had he not been so keen on drawing penalties by diving). However, until he can grow up and actually lead his team on his feet at even strength, I can only say that he's not living up to the industry hype or his own potential.
That's all for now...I look forward to hearing from all of you again this season...