There are too many teams in the NHL to give my opinion on all in one sitting so – once a week until the season starts or until I run out of teams and words…I’ll give my humble opinion of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s goin’ on…?’
I’ll start where I do not need binoculars – in my back yard. Any nude sunbathing…? Any domestic abuse…? Any drug dealing…? Let’s see shall we…?
The Charles River Boys
On the opposite side of the Charles River, smack dab in Celtic land lay The Boston Bruins. America’s version of The hapless Leafs since Chicago won the Cup this past year. Just when you think the Bruins are going to do something special – a disaster takes place. Historically, that disaster is The Montreal Canadiens – finding a way to ruin the the Boston’s team chances of winning a cup.This time is was ex- Hab coach Claude Julien pulling the Voodoo and ruining the Bruin’s chances at Stanley’s glory.A coaches job is to motivate and if you can’t get the troops going after a 3-0 series advance and then a 3-0 start in game seven – sorry pal…maybe coaching in the NHL is something your wife should be doing.
Julien is lucky I am not Peter Chiarelli – the Bruins?Not so lucky. They have the same team as last year more or less plus the number two pick overall in last year’s draft Tyler Seguin.Put Seguin with either Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci and barring a Faloon- ish misstep, the center turned winger will add punch to the team and make up for Ryder’s laziness. Dr.Seuss’ lad – Nathan (Horton hears a who) will add some offense and grit while Colin (My Way)Campbell’s kid Gregory should make the squad and threaten anyone resembling Micheal Ryder.Tim Thomas’ joyride is over and the Bruins can’t stop the car while Rask tries to steer. The squad needs help on defence and I am convinced that Kaberle will trade in his blue and white sweater for a black and gold one.He would add a second quarterback to the power-play and Boychuk will fill in for the defensive collapses. The Bruins will finish in fourth place in their conference without Julien and eighth with Claude driving the boat.
The 67 Kids
My oldest and dearest neighbors, The Toronto Maple Laffs…er i mean Leafs. Over the years I have seen so many changes at their household – kids born and moved away, kids and grandparents, uncles and aunts visiting, pets dying and new ones being born…I have seen it all. Since the Patriarch of the family, Harold Ballard passed away , the Leaf house has seen definite improvements…new eavestroughs, new driveway, roof renovated and the fence painted.One thing that hasn’t changed however is the awful stench emanating from the shed and this season doesn’t offer any solutions. Burke will fine tune and trade players.The players that remain will lap up the accolades bestowed upon them from the center of the universe – Hockey Night in Canada and such is the pattern in Leaf land. A monopoly usually eats from within and as long as the organization refuses to allow Hamilton et Al to compete for the almighty dollar…the Leafs will fall.Burke will be gone before the play-offs and so will the Leafs.
The Frozen Tuxedos
Bad news Eastern Conference - Crosby will be rested. Bad news Pittsburgh fans… Malkin will be rested.
Crosby ran out of gas and along with it his patience during last season’s play-off exit to Montreal. He finished a summer of lugging the Stanley Cup around, started a season taking more coverage than he had before( everyone wants to take a bite out of the Stanley Cup Champions)and finished the season lugging a gold medal around in the midst of one interview after another.Tiredness is the only explanation I could have for Syd the ‘Crybaby Kid’ turning back the hands of time and resorting to the childish antics of his rookie season.Let’s face it – The Pens go as does Crosby goes. Malkin appeared unmotivated in the play-offs and seemed a bit complacent. Let’s hope for Pens fans that Malkin hasn’t’ eaten all of the buffet’ and now is just’ happy to watch the band play.’ Guerin should be signed by the Pens, they will miss him far more than they know. Losing Gonchar is a loss but not as big with Kris Letang filling in. Letang is just as talented as Gonchar offensively and he is younger and cheaper while ex- Coyote Zbynek Michalek should shore the defensive liabilities that remain. Letang should gel with Crosby and the power play by Christmas enabling the Pens to coast into the play-offs at fifth position.
In the words of Bugs Bunny’s nemesis…“That’s All Folks!’
Stayed tuned for more fearless predictions….