Thursday, September 25, 2008

Your Obligatory Northwest Division Preview

You better believe that I can write previews too. The Northwest is obviously the most important division in Canada, because really, what other Canadian teams are there? Montreal? Toronto? Please.
Calgary Flames

Make no mistake, the Flames revolve around Jarome Iginla. Just for fun, they hired a coach in Mike Keenan that scared off two of their leading scorers from last year in Kristian Huselius and Alex Tanguay. That being said, they are solid all the way around. It can't be ignored that they play in a building called the "Saddledome".

What's New: Scared off more graceful offensive players like Huselius and Tanguay and replaced them with dynamos like Todd Bertuzzi. Mike Cammalleri joins, perhaps bringing secrets to time travel.

Questions that need answering: Would you make fun of Dion Phaneuf's name if you met him in a dark alley? What did Mike Keenan have against Kristian Huselius, and, since he's following him around, does this mean that Keenan will soon be coaching the Blue Jackets? Will Todd Bertuzzi play a game without Steve Moore being mentioned?

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks lost some key players this offseason in Marcus Naslund, Brenden Morrison and Trevor Linden, but they have two young stars in the eerie Sedin twins who each had 70 points last year. The key to success for the Canucks will be Roberto Luongo and the defense, because the Canucks won't be a particularly strong offensively this year, despite Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier. It's going to be a tight division, and the Canucks were last place last year, but they were competetive. Don't expect that to change, no matter how much I want it to. (The part about being competetive, I mean)

What's New: Old forwards Naslund, Morrison and Linden out, new forwards Steve Bernier and Pavol Demitra in. Other less notable players like Kyle Wellwood, Nolan Baumgartner and Lawrence Nycholat.

Questions that need answering: Will Luongo injure himself, carrying this team on his back? Will my attempt to jinx them by picking them to make the playoffs work? Why do I have nightmares about the Sedins?

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs have a perfect blend of young and old, it appears, but are their old players too old? And will they mind having Tony Granato back behind the bench? Oh wait, I think I'm asking too many questions up here. I need to save some for the third part of the preview. So, in conclusion, the Avs need to play good hockey and they will win more hockey games.

What's new: Not much. Tony Granato is coaching, but he's done that before. They added Darcy Tucker, but does anyone care? Again, I am prematurely asking questions. Oh, and Peter Forsberg is gone. Remember Peter Forsberg? He was an Olympic diver.

Questions that need answering: Will Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic have anything to talk about with Marek Svatos, Paul Stastny or Wojtek Wolski? By the way, is there a scarier set of youngsters, especially when coupled with Jean-Michael Liles? Should I say anything about Milan Hejduk?

Minnesota Wild

The Wild addressed their number one concern, scoring some frickin goals, by adding a few higher profile defensemen and letting two of their leading points producers walk. Um.... But hey, Marek Zidlicky and Marc-Andre Bergeron are offensive defensemen! I have to believe Jacques Lemaire will make this work though, otherwise I may weep.

What's New: Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston have left, because who needs goals? They brought in Zidlicky and Bergeron to compliment an already offense oriented defense corps. Andrew Brunette is back for a victory lap, and Owen Nolan will continue to decompose in St. Paul. Also added: Antti Miettinen, Craig Weller and holy crap we have Krys Kolanos. YES.

Questions that need answering: Can the Wild score any goals this year? Who is the most grueling Minnesota team to watch, the Vikings or the Wild? Can the Wild lock up Gaborik, or will he be traded? Speaking of Gaborik, what's up with his beard?
Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers may be the most exciting non-playoff team in the league. It's not so much that they are laden with exciting scorers (Ales Hemsky? Erik Cole??) but because Kevin Lowe is absolutely crazy. Even when we get late in the year and they are out of the hunt, expect him to make a 15 player trade and somehow piss off three or four other GMs. Also, the Oilers have a good defense, too bad their netminder is 64 years old and they don't have reliable playmakers.

What's new: Weren't particularly active in the free agent markent, but they made several trades, ending up with Ryan Potulny, Lubo Visnovsky, Gilbert Brule and Eric Cole while giving up Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Raffi Torres and Joni Pitkanen. It always hurts to lose a Raffi.

Questions that need answering: Why don't players break out in Edmonton like it seems they should? Is it Ryan Smyth's fault? Will Lowe make more roster moves than the Oilers have wins? After reading one of these previews, do I actually know anything about hockey?


  1. Gaborik is starting to look like Heath Ledger, except I can't stop

  2. Ryan Potulny is with the Oilers?! How did I not know that?!

    And what's with Gaborik's curls?