February 15, 2010
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
Starting tomorrow, it's time for Olympic hockey. That long break is great news for a lot of guys in the NHL that are trying to work through injuries (I'm lookin' at you, Tomas Holmstrom(notes)) or people like me, whose favorite team seems to go out of its way to infuriate you.
And it's also great news for those clueless members the sports media who will for once be forced to discuss hockey as though they somehow care about or understand it, and in doing so make themselves look quite foolish.
But as we all know, this is a time for predictions, and as the internet's most brilliant prognosticator (I'm currently on pace to finish about 16 for 20 on my NHL season predictions), I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring with some daring predictions as to how the next two weeks will go.
Of course, I'm not interested in where everyone ends up at the end of the tournament, because that isn't as fun as examining how everyone will get their feelings hurt along the way.
(Coming up: Crazy old man Noel has a few tricks up his sleeve; Adam McQuaid(notes) emerges Victor-ious; Turco's on one of his runs; professional journalists have apparently lost their minds this weekend; the Roast of the Canucks; Cam Barker(notes) comes to play; and another three-team trade proposal, because everyone loves those.)
3. Tyler Arnason(notes) will continue to show up for his Dinamo Riga practices, and one day work up the courage to mention to Martin Prusek that the rink is awful empty these days. Prusek will say "Shut up, Arnason, and get me another Gatorade."
5. Sid Crosby wins two medals, bronze with the men's team and gold with the women's. (That joke's for you, Pens fans!)
9. Ron Wilson will have some amount of success as a coach. No I'm just kidding.
11. Switzerland will shock the world. By revealing that Hnat Domenichelli is still alive.
12. No one that works at the Montreal Gazette will be able to make eye contact with the German team.
13. The Russian power play will run around 45 percent and will actually make one opponent's goaltender cry.
14. The Swiss team is accused of trying to slow down the game because they use the NHL ice to their advantage and don't leave the neutral zone. Tip your waitresses, try the steak.
15. The Czech Republic and Slovakia turn heel, reunite as the superpower tag team Czechoslovakia, and hit Canada with a steel chair. They will be managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.
17. The Canadian team will disappoint its home country, and all members will be forced by a new law to carry pieces of the defective pillar from the opening ceremonies as a mark of shame.
18. Every Canuck at the Games will annoy their teammates by starting all restaurant suggestions with, "That place? You don't wanna go there. Let me take you somewhere better..." We get it, Christian Ehrhoff(notes), you live here.
19. It will be universally agreed upon that Norway defenseman Tore Vikingstad has the coolest name ever.
20. The entire tournament will be canceled in favor of ice dancing because more women watch the Olympics than any other sport.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Buffalo Sabres - After giving up two power play goals in the first period to Carolina (of all teams) on Thursday, the Sabres' power play was amazing against the Sharks for the second time this season, holding it 0-for-4.
Carolina Hurricanes - Now that the Olympics are here, there are a lot of guys getting sent to the AHL so they can get actual games over the break. The Canes sent down three such players, but also activated one from IR and think two will be healthy once the break is over. All of which means they're primed for another Cup run.
Chicago Blackhawks - Oddly, Antti Niemi(notes) got the start last night against the Blue Jackets and gave up four goals. Okay, so the four goals part wasn't so odd, it was that he started. Mind games to motivate Cristobal Huet(notes)? Who knows?
Columbus Blue Jackets - As time goes on, I'm starting to think of Claude Noel as a crazy old man that just happens to be the coach of an NHL team. His latest oddball tactic: he just didn't show up for practice Saturday. Granted, he did it as a team-building exercise - let the boys run practice for a day - but that's really awesome.
Dallas Stars - It seems to happen every year for a couple of games, but here's Marty Turco's(notes) annual run of superstar play. He has allowed eight goals on 215 shots in his last six games, which is nuts. (And for real, Stars' defense, you're making Marty Turco save 36 shots a night? What is wrong with you?)
Minnesota Wild - Cam Barker was pretty much useless to Chicago so they took on money this year him to deal him to Minnesota (obviously to get cap flexibility in the summer, but you see my point). So how does Barker respond for his new team? Close to 20 minutes of ice time, a goal, and a plus-2. Not a bad start.
Montreal Canadiens - Yup, Mike Boone compared the Flyers to Nazis. Apparently that's something people get upset about, even if the Habs did get swept by Philly in a home-and-home and outscored 9-4. Shocking, I know.
New Jersey Devils - I've always said that what the Canadian Olympic team needs is more alarmism from the media. "Will Brodeur being pulled [Saturday] affect his chances of being Canada's No. 1 in the Olympics?" No. Thanks for asking though.
Vancouver Canucks - If you only click one link today, make sure it's the Kurtenblog roast of every Canuck in the Olympics that isn't playing for Canada. But seriously folks, Roberto Luongo(notes) is being a great host while the games are in Vancouver. He's letting the entire Latvian team sleep on his left leg pad.
PLAY OF THE WEEKEND
On the real, if you haven't seen Jocelyne Lamoureux's goal against China yesterday, stop whatever you're doing and check it out.
GOLD STAR AWARD
Way to go Canada, your opening ceremonies were beautiful, made me think that perhaps your entire country spends is based on visuals from Yellow Submarine and annoyed Wayne Gretzky, whom I can't stand.
Best opening ceremonies ever.
MINUS OF THE WEEKEND
PERFECT HFBOARDS TRADE PROPOSAL OF THE WEEK
"first off," warns user Baba Ganoush, "i'm not a fan of any of these three teams...so try not to flame my post too hard if it's a bad idea." And wouldn't ya know it..
Gotta be a better way to say that.