Let’s start with the “I’m sorry’s”. I feel embarrassed to look to the right of this fine board and see my name as a contributor. With the lack of what I perceived as interesting hockey stories, and my son’s “Summer of College Quest”, I have not the energy or the time to sit and think up humorous, thoughtful, or coherent stories. So to Stevens, Sro and the rest of the rest of the minds that make up this forum, I am truly sorry.
As for the upcoming season, let’s start with a quick look at the “division of choice” in the NHL. The Atlantic division is as strong as ever and is going to be a dogfight. Teams that made the playoffs and even went to the Stanley Cup Finals could very well be out of the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, after having a “Miracle on Ice” of their own, may be hard pressed to return to the dance. This division is that tough. The New Jersey Devils will have a normal schedule after last years road tours to start the season and figure to be near the top this season again. The Philadelphia Flyers have a young group of players that can only get better and THAT should scare the crap out of any team. Winning the division for any of these three teams is clearly a possibility.
The New Yorkers, Rangers and Islanders, had offseasons that made some people wonder what the hell was going on. The strange draft days that Mr. Snow and company pulled off had diehard Isles’ fans going bald from all the head scratching. And the debacle that was the Rangers’ handling of one great player named Jagr, surely made you think how can these same people run an entire franchise? That doesn’t mean these two teams are out of it.
No, don’t be surprised if all five teams make the playoffs and it is a divisional run off for the Stanley Cup. It will be that they all make it, or they beat themselves to large piles of pulp and only the division winner gets in. Either way, it is going to be one hell of a season.