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The NHL enters another season starting today. The season starts with 31 teams, with the newly ensconced Las Vegas Golden Knights taking the ice in the Pacific division. It should be a heady time for a league coming off of an exciting Stanley Cup run and the first repeat winners in the salary cap era. But, trust Gary Bettman and his pithy employers to try & snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
In the midst of attendance struggles in Florida,
the League is adding extra egg to its face by trying to squeeze the city of Calgary for a new arena, and threatening that the team will move if the NHL doesn’t get what Edmonton got. Deadspin has you covered, but Gary Bettman has openly pontificated on how he “doesn’t know how long [the Flames] can hang on” in Calgary without a new building to play hockey in, and that he gets “contacted all the time by people in markets that are interested in having a team.”
Because the southern experiment is going so well.
But otherwise, it’s a brand new season, and that should bring a heady optimism to the plethora of fans. It’s a feeling which should last until the end of the month and most teams will know if they are destined for playoff contention. For many it’s like being a Browns fan, but the length of the season means despair don’t hit until later in the schedule.
Plus, unlike previous Olympic years, there is no break in the season, since the NHL has decided it’s not worth their time to break for the Olympics and try building the game in Asia. Yet. There’s some argument about compensation in case of injury, but it falls on deaf ears since the IIHF is so schooled in corrupt they were able to game the Soviet Union, so why would they be afraid of Rocky Wirtz? They’ll break for the Beijing Winter Olympics, because a market of over one billion is far-more attractive a season interrupter than a Korea on the brink of nuclear war.
As a member of one of DFO’s cadre of gadabouts, I have chosen to provide short synopses for each team, gladly taking submissions from parties interested in lightening my workload. The order of preview shall be in accordance with the Vegas odds on each team’s chance of winning the Stanley Cup. The comments are considered accurate since it’s all fucking guesswork in advance of the playoffs actually starting.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 8-1; 8-1
Edmonton Oilers: 10-1; 10-1
- litre_cola: We may be good, but it is still in Edmonton.
Washington Capitals: 10-1; 10-1
- tWBS: Three presidents (trophies) in a row, three 2nd round exits to the Yinz. Wake me in the spring.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 10-1; 12-1
- Steven Stamkos is in the second year of an 8-year, $68 million contract. As he goes, so do the Bolts.
Chicago Blackhawks: 12-1; 12-1
- They should really be higher. It all depends on how the salary-cap gods have treated them this off-season. Patrick Kane is one rape accusation short of a six-pack, which ironically is how he ends up with most of his rape accusations.
Nashville Predators: 14-1; 14-1
- Lucky run, or long-term potential? Either way, they sure are a fun team to watch, and their arena is reminiscent of small-town junior rinks for the intimacy.
Dallas Stars: 14-1; 14-1
- They should be much better than last year. A good, solid core of youth looking to finally make a big mark. Sounds familiar, but their owner isn’t a media whore, and their coach isn’t some soulless redhead with poor clock-management skills.
Anaheim Ducks: 14-1; 14-1
- Funky Brewmaster, via Low Commander: The Anaheim Mighty Quackers will overcome early season injuries to win the Pacific Division, and make it to the Cup Finals, finally winning with this core group they have.
- on the other hand, FUCK RYAN KESLER!
New York Rangers: 14-1; 16-1
- senor weaselo: Well, they actually have defensemen now that aren’t just Ryan McDonagh now, but let’s see them not give up goals in the last minute of periods/games
- James Dolan is a terrible owner, so hopefully the Rangers push him closer to the heart attack Knicks fans desire.
Toronto Maple Leafs: 14-1; 16-1
- NO. FUCK NO. BURN IT ALL DOWN IF THIS HAPPENS. THE CBC WILL BE UNBEARABLE.
Montreal Canadiens: 14-1; 16-1
- NON. FUCK NON. BRÛLER TOUT À LA TERRE. LA RADIO-CANADA SERA INCONTABLE.
Boston Bruins: 30-1; 18-1
- This I could handle.
Minnesota Wild: 14-1; 20-1
- The Houston Texans of hockey.
San Jose Sharks: 20-1; 20-1
- As long as Joe Thornton plays for them, they are cursed to never hoist the Cup. Also, Patrick Marleau left them for the Leafs; what does that say?
Los Angeles Kings: 20-1; 25-1
- ballsofsteel: Their window is still open, but they can’t be inconsistent like last year.
Columbus Blue Jackets: 20-1; 25-1
- A smart, young team with a dictator for a coach. Imagine George Patton running a sports franchise.
St. Louis Blues: 30-1; 25-1
- Do it for Internet Dad, you bastards.
Calgary Flames: 30-1; 28-1
- litre_cola: Fuck you Bettman and Ken King! Pay for your own goddamn arena!
Ottawa Senators: 30-1; 33-1
- the maestro: Currently rocking back and forth in a frightened ball at the prospect of not having a healthy Erik Karlsson to lead this team to anything of significance.
Florida Panthers: 40-1; 40-1
- the future Quebec Nordiques only still exist because Roberto Luongo doesn’t want to move again.
New York Islanders: 40-1; 40-1
- a tenant needed to fill unoccupied Nets dates, the Islanders play in a building with the most “view obstructed” seats in the NHL. That perfectly encapsulates their organizational structure.
Philadelphia Flyers: 40-1; 40-1
- An organization that trades on a forty year-old reputation & two long-ago trophies to engender loyalty in a fan base whose lifeblood is ambivalency.
Buffalo Sabres: 60-1; 50-1
- Owned by the same guy who owns the Bills. Poor fuckers.
Winnipeg Jets: 40-1; 66-1
- litre_cola: Will anyone stop the puck?
- Nothing can kill fan support for this team.
Carolina Hurricanes: 60-1; 66-1
- MOVE BACK TO HARTFORD, YOU FUCKING SAVAGES!
Detroit Red Wings: 100-1; 100-1
- Their new arena looks nice; their team looks like shit.
New Jersey Devils: 100-1; 100-1
- yeahright: Martin Brodeur isn’t coming back and neither is the neutral zone trap. Another losing season in the Jersey swamps.
Arizona Coyotes: 100-1; 100-1
- blaxabbath: I understand they finally got rid of some guy named Shane who had been on the team forever so…..rebuild?
- JUST MOVE TO SEATTLE ALREADY!
Colorado Avalanche: 100-1; 125-1
- FUCK STAN KROENKE! His wife, Ann Walmart Kroenke, technically owns them because the NFL doesn’t allow it’s owners to own multiple franchises across sports. But still, FUCK STAN KROENKE!
Vancouver Canucks: 100-1; 200-1
- Year four of a 25-year rebuild. Fans will need an April bandwagon.
Vegas Golden Knights: 200-1; 200-1
- At least the Raiders show up in a couple of years, likely driving the team to another market.
I await your incorrect analysis in the comments.