Your 2018-19 NHL Eastern Conference Preview

Beerguyrob

Beerguyrob

A Canadian man-child of indeterminate age, he stays young by selling alcohol at sporting events and yelling at the patrons he serves. Their rage nourishes his soul, and their tips pay for his numerous trips to various sporting events.
Beerguyrob

Hi, I’m Beerguyrob. As I am Canadian, I am more than qualified to rant about the upcoming NHL season. Y’know, that sport which occupies the dead zone between NFL broadcasts which isn’t basketball. I’ll leave it to Forbes to argue about the relative valuation of each team.

The NHL has been an active sports league since the 1917-18 campaign. If you don’t count the whole year lost to the labour dispute (the 2004-05 season), the League is the longest active professional sports organization in North America.

It’s president is a diminutive megalomaniac named Gary Bettman, who used to be NBA commissioner David Stern’s right-hand until he was picked to run the NHL, starting in February 1993. He was selected because he helped introduce & implement the salary cap in the NBA, something NHL owners wanted to bring in to curb their spiraling costs. His unfortunately-monikered “southern strategy” was designed to introduce & popularize the game in the US Southwest & Southeast; aside from Tampa, it hasn’t worked. It also helps that he hates hockey players and fans, so he has no problem representing the interests of owners. Please enjoy Puck Daddy‘s retrospective of how beloved he is amongst the fans:

The Eastern Conference was geographically designed so that all teams are in the Eastern time zone, for media rights & ease of travel. If any team  **cough Florida were to relocate based on attendance **cough Carolina they would likely stay in the East in order to maintain the current alignment. That was one reason Gary Bettman fought so hard to keep the former Blackberry chairman from buying the Nashville franchise & relocating them to Hamilton. Atlanta was allowed to move to Winnipeg because they were about to fold.

Unless a guest author has gone in-depth, I have chosen only the pithiest of rejoinders to preview teams, because it’s hard to have emotions for some of these teams. There’s 31 teams, and I don’t care about half of them. Of the half that remain, I feel nothing but burning, seething hatred. Try to figure out which is which!

The Atlantic Division:     

Boston Bruins

  • Everyone hates Brad Marchand, and I’m convinced 1/3 of their viewers are fans of other teams hoping to watch him get injured.
    • Also, I get a “Gronk” vibe off him, like he’d rather retire than play somewhere else if he was traded.
  • Their coach is Bruce Cassidy. Two things I learned about him:
    1. His nickname is not “Butch”. Seems like a real marketing faux pas.
    2. He was the Capitals coach to start the 2003-04 season, but was fired 25 games in. The team finished so badly they were able to end up drafting Alexander Ovechkin.

Buffalo Sabres 

  • Once you’re past Jack Eichel & Sam Reinhart, you have a team that understandably will finish last again in the East. Buffalo is destined again to an arena filled with fans from southern Ontario who refuse to pay the high prices to attend Leafs games.
    • Plus, the new USMCA trade agreement means visiting fans can now bring back $150 in goods duty-free, up from the $20 under NAFTA. That should really help their attendance, or at least the East Tonawanda mall-based economy.

Detroit Red Wings

  • Your 2018-19 Red Wings: Like a person you remember being hot for a long time ago, but you forgot about them for a while. So, years later, you decided to check in, and have found out they are old & bloated, and the best parts of them left a long time ago.

Florida Panthers

  • Should’ve moved to Quebec years ago.
    • More people speak French in that arena than English or Spanish between December-March.
  • They are the second-worst franchise in terms of value, according to Forbes.
    • They make more money than the worst – Arizona – but have the lowest revenue per fan – $10.
  • The pay must be worth it, because they play in front of fewer fans than the Swift Current Broncos.

  

Florida – BB&T Center; averaged 13, 851 fans/game                 Swift Current – Credit Union iPlex; averaged 2890 fans/game

Montreal Canadiens

  • Beaucoup plus mauvais.
  • All the Maudite in the world won’t be able to help Habs fans get through this season.

Ottawa Senators

  • I know their fans hoped the only casualty from the tornado was Eugene Melnyk, but he lives to drive this team further out of town day by day.
  • They may finally get their downtown arena, if no other interest group gets in their way. That would greatly help attendance, because no one wants to drive to Kanata in the middle of winter.

I asked The Maestro for a contribution, and all I got was,

**sobs quietly waiting for Erik Karlsson to come back home, and for Eugene Melnyk to go broke and die of cirrhosis for a second time**

So, he’s taking it well.

Tampa Bay Lightning  

  • The most interesting part of their team has been the annual off-season chaos surrounding who might leave versus how much it’ll cost to keep them.
    • Last year, it was Steven Stamkos, possibly to the Leafs. Tampa paid $8 million to keep him.
    • This year, it was Steve Yzerman, who resigned as GM. It’s widely assumed that he will be joining the Red Wings next season as their GM.

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Now, as always & forever, Fuck the Leafs.

The Metropolitan Division:

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Pro: They’re bringing back “Brass Bonanza”, albeit as a marketing ploy.

  • Con: They’re still in Carolina, and play for people who bought Groupons.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • A team full of players their parents could barely identify, dragged into the 2018 playoffs by a raging asshole of a coach.
This fucking clod.

**** NOTE TO ROB….THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION TOOK PLACE TONIGHT VIA EMAIL.  FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ALL, SOME OR NONE OF IT IN HERE.  THE OTHER PERSON HAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO ALLOW IT TO BE PUBLISHED (AND WILL BE LURKING, SHE ALWAYS DOES) SO NO WORRIES THERE.

tWBS:  Hey there.  My friends and I on our blog are getting revved up for the start of the regular season.  I was hoping maybe you’d weigh in on the Jackets since you’re a fan.

tWBS’ Female Friend:  Why would I want to do that?

tWBS:  Well, I was hoping you might see it as fun and maybe even get involved with the site.  Even if just for hockey and maybe entertainment.  I don’t think we have a resident Jackets fan, and we do have at least one other Bungles fan.  It could be fun.

tWBS’ Female Friend:  You know the Jackets are just going to win 40+ games again, and then lose in the first round again, right?  Do you realize that they are the only NHL franchise to never win a post-season series?

tWBS:  Ummmmmm….no, I did not realize that.  But I did try to pull you onto the Caps’ bandwagon a coupla years ago if you recall.

tWBS’ Female Friend:  Fuck you.

End of conversation.

LMFAO.

New Jersey Devils

  • They absolutely fleeced the Oilers when they traded for Taylor Hall, and now they’ve found him more pieces to play with. They could be a sleeper Conference finalist.

New York Islanders

  • Their last season in Brooklyn before they head back to Nassau County full-time.
    • John Tavares decided to leave a year early & relocated to Toronto.

New York Rangers

  • I am geographically predisposed to hate the Rangers, after they essentially stole Vancouver’s best chance for a Cup in 1994, but this version I don’t mind so much, because they are more substance than style.

Philadelphia Flyers

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • They always seem to be good. It makes me both sad and angry.
  • Phil Kessel finally seems to be playing in his appropriate weight class.

Washington Capitals

(tWBS)

The Caps have taken the Metro Division three straight years.  Two out of three of those years they also took the President’s Trophy….

/sighs heavily

….and then as expected, as always, bowed out to the Pens in the second round.  This is life as a Caps fan.  We get it.

Last year, they finally managed to not fold like a cheap suit.

When last seen, Alex Ovechkin and Ivanka Trump were partying with the cup.  Like no shit, I’m not kidding.  Check this out…

Would I party with Ivanka Trump?  Yes, I would.  So no hate from me on this one.

But if the Caps manage to repeat, it won’t be because of Ovechkin more than likely.  I’m not kidding.  Dude’s prime is past.  He’s got his ring now.  He’s probably done after this year.  Two at most, at least as an effective scorer.  He’ll probably be dealt to some other desperate club after this season, either way.

But if the Caps manage to repeat, it will still be a Russian connection.  Evgeny Kuznetzov.  Remember that name, trust me.

Dude has all the skills Ovie has (had?), is 8 yrs younger, and his salary is about 1/5th as much.  Cap space (no pun intended).

Speaking of salaries, Barry Trotz didn’t like the initial contract offer/extension that was made to him, apparently.  So 11 days after winning the cup he quit.  Fuck you, asshole.  And best of luck Islanders, you get what you pay for.

Bottom line…

The Caps are unlikely to repeat.  Not this year, at least.  Ovie is aged and I expect him to regress this year and then get dealt while he still has some worth.  But the Caps do have some young talent and are maybe a year or two away from rising back to the top for a few years.

We’ll see.  Hockey is a fickle mistress.

But for now, the cup is ours you sumbitches!!!!!  So suck it!!!!!

 

The Cup champion is likely to come from the Eastern Conference. The tight schedule & bitter rivalries should make this conference the more-fun to watch this season, and the survivor from the East will be able to use their experience to have a leg-up on whomever they play from the West. Gun to my head, the final-four from this conference should be the Pens, Caps, Lightning & Bruins, with – ugh – the Leafs having a shot to squeak in.

Beerguyrob
Beerguyrob
A Canadian man-child of indeterminate age, he stays young by selling alcohol at sporting events and yelling at the patrons he serves. Their rage nourishes his soul, and their tips pay for his numerous trips to various sporting events.
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Horatio Cornblowerlitre_colaMoose -The End Is Well NighBeerguyrobSenor Weaselo Recent comment authors
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Horatio Cornblower

I am beyond insulted that I wasn’t asked to do the Carolina Hurricanes, although to legal purposes that was probably for the best.

litre_cola

I fucking love Gritty. He is the hero we need.

Senor Weaselo

I forgot to give the Rangers post but we are waiting for Mats Zuccarello or Pavel Buchnevich to move to left wing and be on the same line together along with currently-hurt center Boo Nieves. Also this:

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blaxabbath

Good review. I don’t have anything to add; I just wanted to let you know I read this all and enjoyed it and hope to hear more in the future.

Sharkbait

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BrettFavresColonoscopy

Go Blackhawks!

This concludes my ability to contribute to the NHL conversation.

LemonJello
LemonJello

Lapsed, non-practicing Blackhawks fan here!

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Enrico Pallazzo

My Jackets are either going to be really good or the Russians and their desire for new residences are going to tank everything and we will totally suck. There is no in between. There’s no hope with dope.

Wakezilla

The best thing about the Leafs this year is that they didn’t use their massive cap space to sign solid NHL defensive vets to a 1 year contract in order to run at the cup with their core players playing for peanuts.

I’m sure their dumpster fire defense will hold up in a series against Bost–oh, nevermind.

Leafs fans’ tears are going to be full of hate nutrients this year, folks!

Wakezilla

Here’s Ottawa’s prediction: Melnyk further not realizing the AVS have their #1 pick this year, trades Stone and Duchene at the deadline, resulting in them winning the draft lottery for Colorado. 5 years later, they’re the Kansas City Arrowheads. (Because the nickname Scouts belongs to another team and not worth buying the name back)

The Maestro

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LemonJello
LemonJello

A very important piece of information was missing from this: Which arena has the best Rink Girls?

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ballsofsteelandfury

That answer will be discussed in the Western Conference preview.

LemonJello
LemonJello

Fair enough.

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Dolph Ucker
Dolph Ucker

So, how many games will the Habs lose? Like, will the record be in the 15-20 win range?
And I hope the Leafs suck, because seeing unhappy Leafs fans will at least bring some joy to my season.
I have no feelings at all for the Sens.

Game Time Decision

i figure the number of Habs wins will be the number of goals Price scores.

Wakezilla

Habs win at most, 25 games

Wakezilla

tWBS’ lady friend is going to be pretty sad when the Jackets win at most 30 games because Bob and Bread are traded before the deadline due to their UFA status

theeWeeBabySeamus

Obviously we never got that far. But bob alone accounts for half their wins.

It’s not going to be pretty.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Leafs are one of the teams that Rob hates.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Not sure how you get this; it’s pretty subtle.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

OK, I did; is it this??

Now, as always & forever, Fuck the Leafs.

Game Time Decision

no one wants to drive to Buffalo, ever, let alone in the winter

as a Habs fan, i think they are already out of the playoff.

FUCK the Leafs. I’m hoping they suck, so that I don’t need to hear about them as much.