[Redacted]: Hockey Is Finally Here
Welcome back, [poultry fetishists]. Teams from other divisions played yesterday, but [ignore] them. Today marks the first day of the real NHL regular season. To mark this momentous occasion, join me for a review of the teams that make our beloved Conference III a special division—a Great Divide—separating it from the Flortheast, the Californian, and the Metropolitan, where division name jokes write themselves. As J.R. so eloquently pointed out yesterday, it is our division that both unites us and divides us, and since he chose to focus on the former, I will examine the latter in the form of crass, brash, and morally distasteful power rankings.
Last Season: 46-21-15, 107 points, 5th in West, Western Conference Final losers
2014-15 Commentary: After a tough loss in the Western Conference Finals to Los Angeles, the Blackhawks have kept toddler-sized forward Teuvo Teravainen on the outside looking in and brought in the skilled Daniel Carcillo and the speedy Brad Richards to help them push for the Cup. Carcillo and Richards take a group lacking high-end talent and hustle and make them a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to watching Richards’ jersey flap in the wind as he brings his superb north-south game to Chicago.
Word of the Season: [Hygiene products].
- St. Louis
Last Season: 52-23-7, 111 points, 3rd in West, Conference Quarterfinals losers
2014-15 Commentary: The Blues continue to march towards Ken Hitchcock’s expiration date, which could come as early as this season. Their upcoming year depends on a series of well-timed penalties from Steve Ott and steady performance from the always-healthy Brian Elliot. However, should he falter, proven veteran netminder Jake Allen will be there to save the day.
Word of the Season: Choke.
Last Season: 40-31-11, 91 points, 8th in the West, finally made the playoffs
2014-15 Commentary: Dallas handily won the offseason as Jim Nill’s glorious mustache brought in two-thirds of a second line in the form of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Can they take the excitement that’s been brewing around this team and use it to build on last season’s results? Will Ruff trot out a power-play unit of Seguin, Benn, Spezza, Hemsky, and a defenseman during the regular season?
Word of the Season: Hope.
Last Season: 43-27-12, 98 points, 7th in West, Conference Semifinals loser
2014-15 Commentary: Is there a team in the league as bland and uninteresting as the Minnesota Wild after they cut Ilya Bryzgalov?
Word of the Season: Mild.
Last Season: 52-22-8, 112 points, 2nd in West, Conference Quarterfinals loser
2014-15 Commentary: Throw out your Paul Stastny and P.A. Parenteau… this will taste better: mix one part exceptional Danny Briere, one part youthful Jarome Iginla, one part gross overreaction by Patrick Roy at the opposing bench, and one part J.S. Giguere. Substitute a sprinkling of Reto Berra if you can’t find any J.S. Giguere. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes before serving. Garnish with the shame of Greg Sherman.
Word of the Season: Regression.
Last Season: 38-32-12, 88 points, 10th in West
2014-15 Commentary: The Predators appear to be taking a page out of the Joe Nieuwendyk Rebuild Book and will have some nice pieces in Mike Ribeiro, Olli Jokinen, and Derek Roy to move at the trade deadline for picks and prospects as long as Ribeiro doesn’t shiv a teammate first. A strong defense won’t save Pekka Rinne from looking human without Barry Trotz.
Word of the Season: Nope.
Last Season: 37-35-10, 84 points, 11th in West
2014-15 Commentary: Cheveldayoff is da man! This team will be a force to be reckoned with after those offseason moves.
Word of the Season: Poophat.