For anybody who was wondering (which quite possibly is nobody...haha) I never did write part 3 of Living up to the Big Bucks.
There are some interesting stories developing already in this young NHL season; The Avalanche led by sophomore Paul Stastny, the Edmonton Oilers starting 2-0 against two tough teams, the Defending Champion Ducks starting 1-3, and the Capitals starting 3-0.
Lets start with the Avs. Paul Stastny has 4 goals and 4 assists in 3 games to lead the league in points (tied with Alfredsson). Where did this guy come from? Did he miss the memo about the fairly standard sophomore slump? Because it sure looks like it. Everyone knew he was a good hockey player based on his performance last year, (and he had a strong case for the Calder, which some still think he should have won - I wouldn't have complained if he did.) but there isn't often a young guy like Paul who will string together that strong of first and second seasons. So far it looks like he is going to do just that. As unbelievable as it sounds, he may put have an outside chance of pulling Joe Sakic off of the top scoring line. Who would have ever thought that could happen?
Next up, the Edmonton Oilers. Did anyone around the league even give them a shot at beating the Sharks, let alone the Flyers two days later to open the season? I don't think so, but again, I guess another memo got lost in the mail because the Oilers came out and played two very solid games at home to take both of those contests. Nearly everyone had them pegged to finish dead last in the Division, and near the bottom of the conference. But the youthful Oilers are out trying to prove everyone wrong. They already appear to have much better chemistry than last years squad. The Horcoff-Hemsky-Penner line is a huge scoring threat, and Cogliano has already taken over second line centering duties with his stellar play. Factor in Nilsson looking strong, the defense playing fairly well, and possibly the most dangerous fourth line in the league with Sanderson, Reasoner and Brodziak, and the scoring appears to be back in E-Town.
One and Three. That is sure not what I expected from the Anaheim Ducks coming into the new season. Sure they had to start the season in London, but that is where they got their only win! They have lost both of their games since returning to North America, and do not look like the team that just claimed Lord Stanley's Mug. Mind you they did lose two of their three best players (replaced with Bertuzzi and Schneider however), and their starting goaltender is injured (but Byrzgalov is more than an adequate back-up), but you still don't expect a 1-3 start after winning the cup. Maybe the team is a little distracted by their GM ranting and raving in the news about stuff that happened in July...
The Washington Capitals. I never would have picked them to start 3-0. Sure they improved their team over the summer, and they do have Alex the Great, but they are still the Capitals. Taking a second look at their roster though, they are actually a pretty solid hockey club. I wish I had the problem of having to take one of Kozlov, Ovechkin, Semin and Nylander off of the top line. Add in a few solid youngsters like Brian Sutherby, Brooks Laich, and of course Nicklas Backstrom, and the Caps could score a lot of goals this year. Having Olaf Kolzig between the pipes never hurts either.
So there are my top four headline grabbers of the young season. What will be the next big storyline of the 07-08 season? I have no idea...but right now it is looking like it may possibly be the Flames going 0-82, as Mike Keenan has again failed to capture his first victory as Calgary's bench boss. Haha just kidding (although I wouldn't mind...)