Happy Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving! The NHL season is finally underway, and yes, we realize we are a little late filing our previews. But it’s still early enough in the season – heck, TORONTO is tied for first in the East as I type this. I’m not joking! See?
Sorry. I know we’re two games in but it’s been far too long since I’ve seen these guys at the top of the standings. Just let me enjoy this Very Special Moment.
OK! On to the Northwest!
In 2009-10…missed the postseason, but were graced with my presence at Saddledome.
This season…look who’s back? Alex Tanguay! Olli Jokinen! And here’s Brendan Morrison filling in while the Flames deal with some injury issues. Calgary had a perfect preseason, but can they stay strong through the winter? Sure, just as long as Kipp stays healthy and they never have to call on Toskala. That, and they need to score goals. Three guys on the roster had more than 25 goals last season, Iginla included. *sigh*
Hottie to watch: Former Leaf and 2010 Olympic Bronze medallist Nik Hagman for his firepower. See what I did there?
In 2009-10…missed the playoffs. Again.
This season…will the real Martin Havlat show up? The other Koivu can’t do all the heavy lifting.
Hottie to watch…newly-acquired former Flame Eric Nystrom. YUM!
In 2009-10…holy crap, was I ever wrong about them.
This season..with the departure of several veterans and no noticeable acquisitions it’s hard to imagine this team will return to the postseason. My concern is that the team will rely too heavily on goaltender Craig Anderson. The team has always been blessed with good netminding for the most part, but even Patrick Roy had a supporting cast.
Hottie to watch…sophomore center Matt Duchene, who lead all NHL rookies last year with 24 goals and 55 points. I just want to pinch his cheeks.
In 2009-10…eliminated by eventual Stanley Cup champs Chicago in the Western semi. Yet again.
This season…no worries about burning out Luongo as a result of playing for Olympic Gold. The Canucks remain strong, but you have to wonder how many times these guys can go back to the well.
Hottie to watch…oh, you thought I was gonna go all Ryan Kesler on you? Take a look at former Pred Dan Hamhuis who joined Vancouver in the offseason.
In 2009-10…finished 15th in the West (sad trombone).
This season…everyone’s calling “rebuild”, but there is hope on the horizon with the Oilers’ drafting Windsor Spitfires sensation Taylor Hall. And I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to stay negative when you have 2008 first round pick Jordan Eberle on your team.
Hottie to watch…Eberle. Trust me on this one.
Who are you loving out of the Northwest this season?