Welcome to Around The Dasher a new Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Installment here at The Jam where I will take you around the league and give you the freshest and hottest takes in the NHL and Hockey world. I am going to try and give you an accurate (sort of) and interesting (at least I’ll think so) look on hockey this side of the blogosphere.
Today we are going to dive into some of the top story lines of the NHL season starting with our friends out in the Western conference.
First, we’re going to start with….
Wait wait wait; let’s just start this way, first of all, the new division names suck. Without going into it too much, the NHL missed a huge opportunity here to go either back to its roots or be unique and shine a light on past legends. See: Gretzky, Orr, Howe, Lemieux, Domi, Hull. One of those might not fit. Whatever.
The top story here is obviously the Colorado Avalanche who before losing to Detroit Thursday night, started out 6-0-0-0-0-0 (I am still working on the standings format, wait that’s not new?). Either way, they’re the hottest team off the bat and rookie coach Patrick Roy has gotten this team to already hit almost a third of their point total from last year’s cellar dwelling squad that featured these fun comments.
Chi/STL: Ask any hockey pundit a month ago and they would tell you the same thing: This division, while strong, will be looking up at these two squads all season. Chicago, fresh off a Cup winning season and St. Louis, who bowed out in a tremendous first round series against L.A. last season. They have both started strong, and I urge you that if you see these two teams playing to not change the channel. These two teams played a thrilling OT game last week on NBCSN’s debut of “Rivalry Night.”
Division Notes: This will probably be renamed “Tyler Seguin Watch” – he’s got 2 goals, 5 helpers, 1 suspended Twitter account. Trade Outlook? Too early to tell.
Pacific: Take everything I just wrote about Colorado, and paste it here. The only difference? San Jose does this every year. The Sharks have been around for 24 years, and it seems like the past 12 have supposed to have been their year. Last season, they started off blazing hot as well gaining 14 out of a possible 14 points to start. So what does this all mean? Nothing. Wake us in March if the Sharks are still up top, and expect the obvious letdown in the spring.
Van/LA/PHX: These are the next three in my opinion in the Pacific division, Vancouver obviously is a giant question mark with the season premiere of “Torts and the Twins”, but with their talent alone they should be one of the last few standing. Also: This
Notes: Calgary’s hot start (oblivious they suck so bad they can’t even tank comment), Edmonton’s slow start – I’ll be following Nail Yakupov and their goaltending situation this season.
Atlantic: Up top with Detroit sharing the lead, Toronto’s start has been impressive and they deserve(?) it. This division intrigues me so much. Detroit in the east, the Bruins had 110 days off between Game 6 of the Finals and opening night (Ditto Chicago) and was the walking wounded. Tampa Bay is looking for a rebound year in the post Vinny “I’m going to have to pay for a lot of team dinners” Lecavalier era. Ottawa was a playoff team and got better by adding this guy, Montreal finished 2nd in the east last year. Buffalo continues to be the guy who tries to pick up a ton of girls at a party and winds up puking on himself and uhh, Florida.
Notes: Loui Eriksson has 2 points in 5 games. Phil Kessel has 2/6/8. This might be a good time to let you know that no matter how much shit Kessel gets, I like him. And you all will be rooting for him at the Olympics in February. I will remind you of this again.
Metropolitan: Potentially the oddest of divisions. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, 87, 71, and that guy between the pipes who obviously sucks but they continue to do nothing about. The Islanders have the fire power like the Pens, but defense and goaltending are the questions as well. Philadelphia is going to defy the odds of common sense by not improving their goaltending or old and shaky defense corps all offseason. A young and fast Columbus makes an enormous jump going from West to East. And the Rangers.
Notes: The Rangers find themselves in a hole fast. New coach, horrible west swing to start the year, a new building when they return “home”. It’s realistic to say that the Hurricanes can make the playoffs in this division, and before the season I, along with many others thought Cam Ward would give them the chance to do that this year. Ward is playing for a spot on Canada’s Olympic team this year.