NHL is back in season
Published 9/21/2011Comments (0)
Canada is about to awaken from its summer hibernation, and that can only mean one thing.
Hockey is about to start up again. On October 6, the puck will drop for Boston and Toronto, starting off the regular season. So what is in store for this hockey season? There are plenty of storylines to keep any hardcore or avid fans satisfied.
The biggest story this season will be the return of Sidney Crosby. The Pittsburgh Penguins center, and arguably the best player in the world, suffered a concussion last January. He did not play the rest of the season, and the Penguins were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Crosby has participated in training camp this offseason with the Penguins, but it's still not known when he will return. When Crosby does return this season, you can bet that you will hear about it. Last season, he had 66 points in only 41 games, which included a streak of 25-straight games with at least one point. It’s hard not to enjoy watching Crosby play.
As far as the Northwest is concerned, the closest team to Pullman is located just north of the border in Vancouver, where the Canucks are coming off of a great season. Everyone predicted last year was the year for the Canucks to finally bring the Stanley Cup to Vancouver. And while they were close, they just couldn’t quite defeat a Boston Bruins team that was on fire in the playoffs. Following the loss in game 7 in Vancouver, the fans rioted in the streets, just like they did the last time they lost in the finals. It will be interesting to see how the team and the city bounces back from the defeat in the finals.
The Canucks are like the Miami Heat of the NHL. They are loaded with talent at every position from the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler to Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieksa on defense, not to mention the one of the highest paid goaltenders in the league in Roberto Luongo. With the core players this team has, along with the talent surrounding them, this team could be primed for another deep playoff run this season.
This year, my predictions were quite difficult with a lot of teams ready to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup next June. In the Western Conference, the Detroit Red Wings have all the right pieces to make It to the Stanley Cup finals and with first ballot hall of famer, Nicklas Lidstrom coming back for one more season, they will defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals and get to the Stanley Cup.
In the Eastern Conference, Steven Stamkos will lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup finals this season. They lost in the conference finals last season to Boston, but this is the year they make it back to the finals, defeating the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference finals. It won’t make a difference as the Detroit Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup this year in seven games. Lidstrom will retire after the game and fly to Disneyland the next day.
Last season, the NHL signed a 10-year deal with Versus and NBC for broadcasting games. While most people do not get Versus, I encourage everyone to at least give hockey a try this year. Go to a bar or a friend’s place that has cable and watch a game, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
And if watching sports on television is not for you, go to Spokane and check out the Chiefs or head to the ice rink in Moscow and watch some lower-level players (including myself) play hockey. There is no atmosphere like being at a hockey game and watching a big hit, a fight or a game winning goal.