My annual wheels-off predictions
There's not much you can count on these days. A deeply polarized political landscape, sure. The greatness of
How about one more: the infallibility of my trusty crystal ball.
Freshly glazed and recalibrated over the summer, it knows all and tells all. And over the course of the last few days, this mystical orb has given up secrets of the players, personalities and events that will define the 2010-11 NHL season.
Spoiler alert: read no further if you don't want to know how the season will play out...or where
There are a lot of factors to consider when judging the Ducks this season -- lack of depth up front, a paper-thin blueline and the discipline of a toddler quickly come to mind -- but if this team continues to struggle, it will be Carlyle who pays the price. Fair? Probably not. Granted, he deserves some of the blame for not reining in the selfish play that's crippled the Ducks the past couple of years, but then again, I'm not sure
Oh, and the crystal ball also says that Carlyle will land another coaching job before the start of next season.
Looking to establish a new identity, the Isles have changed their celebratory goal song this season to the execrable
Sure, the hockey gods like having their fun with the Leafs -- hey, any team that signs the freshly waived
More than just the preferred faux cuss word of my six-year-old, Clutterbuck is the sort of player who'll charge the net with reckless abandon and allow teammates to bounce slappers in off his backside. With a dozen or so deflections to his credit, he'll achieve the milestone for the first time in his career.
A Simpsons' couch gag. The musical guest on the opening night of the new
When McDonald's wants to draw a crowd to a restaurant, they don't trot out an appearance by Mayor McCheese. So why on earth would the NHL think they could send pulses pounding in Europe with contests featuring the Coyotes, Wild and Hurricanes? The NBA wants to make some noise overseas, they send marquee franchises like the Lakers and the Knicks (yeah, they suck, but at least they're a brand name). The NHL has to stop thinking in terms of "Hey, the Stars have three Swedes -- book 'em for Stockholm!" and start thinking about real stars. The NHL will finally catch on and give Moscow the Capitals and Penguins while Paris gets Montreal and Toronto.
There have been nights during the past few seasons -- too many of them, actually -- where Vokoun was all that separated the Panthers from an above-average AHL squad. But with the arrival of new GM
He's not just the guy who redefined class though his congenial banter with
The Cats announced this week that they've surpassed season ticket sales of 10,000 for the first time in almost 10 years, and considering the product, you don't need the crystal ball to understand that they've got a director of sales who's up for a raise. If you can't sell wins, sell hope, eh? Fortunately, they'll have a lot to hope for after a three-game stretch against the Sharks, Flyers and Red Wings that will put their season out of its misery and direct their focus on
Crazy for the Stars to give up their premier offensive talent? The man who makes their power play pop? Sure...until you consider the situation. Richards is in the final year of a contract that pays him $7.8 million per. He's unlikely to match that on his next deal, but he won't be a bargain, either...especially not for a team whose owner could be shopping for clothes at Barrels-R-Us the way things are going. If the Stars can't afford to re-up Richards, and the rebuilding club is unlikely to make the playoffs, a deal for picks, prospects and someone else's expiring contract makes sense.
After watching former Lady Byng-winner Datsyuk
Two things were guaranteed to happen in every draft this season:
A summer spent under investigation by the NHL for the
They had to move it from the original date of Feb. 2 for fear that it would be overshadowed by National Change Your Windshield Wipers Day.