YAY! The 2009-10 season is here! As I type this, I am watching the Leafs and Habs on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and wondering how long it will take before The Monster is starting games. The West Coast teams don’t play for a couple of hours minutes, so technically I am right on time with this. Here’s your final divisional preview, Northwest-style.
In 2008-09…despite a 40-33-9 record, didn’t make the playoffs.
This season…the Wild will continue to be strong, but much of this will depend on the health of free agent acquisition Martin Havlat and how well the team responds to new coach Todd Richards. The Wild has strong goaltending from Niklas Backstrom, so I’ll go out on a limb and say they squeak into the final playoff spot in the West this spring.
Hottie to watch: Mikko Koivu. He’s the cute Koivu brother. Also, I love that I found this photo on Finland’s MTV3. The article he was in also referenced Angus Young.
In 2008-09…they were a great mountain of suckitude.
This season…the key word here is rebuilding. Sorry. Joe Sacco is a first year NHL coach. Joe Sakic is retired. Ryan Smyth is a King. This is the Shitilanche.
Hottie to watch: Wojtek Wolski. His numbers dipped a little last season but I am confident he’ll be one of the brighter spots of the Avalanche’s season. Also, he has a cool name and a great smile.
In 2008-09…finished third in the Conference but lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Blackhawks.
This season…the Canucks have their sights set clearly on the Stanley Cup, and it shows with the moves they made in the offseason. They resigned the Sedin twins and made improvements to their blue line. I smell Conference Final.
Hottie to watch: Can I help you with that stick, Roberto?
In 2008-09…finished 10th in the West with a 38-35-9 record. Dang strong conference!
This season…Dwayne Roloson is gone, with Nikolai Khabibulin in his place. I can’t believe the guy is only 36 – I thought he’d be much older by now. But he’s in Edmonton now, joining Mike Comrie, Patrick O’Sullivan and new coach Pat Quinn. I expect the fortunes of this team to turn around in 2009.
Hottie to watch: Ales Hemsky. He looks so lonely there. Can you go keep him company?
In 2008-09…fifth place finish in the Conference. Fell to Chicago in the first round.
This season…hello, Jay Bouwmeester! The Flames already had a strong defensive squad with Phaneuf and Regehr, but the 3rd overall pick in 2002 draft just brought this team to the next level. Add Jokinen, Iginla, Rene Bourque and new coach Brent Sutter to the mix (ahh, nepotism…) and you have a hockey team made of awesome.
Hottie to watch: You would not believe how challenging it was to find a picture of Dion Phaneuf that didn’t include Elisha Cuthbert, or for that matter stupid Sean Avery. But I succeeded! Behold!
So is the West Coast the best coast when it comes to the NHL? Your thoughts please. And enjoy NHL Faceoff 2009!