I spent the night of the election refreshing my hockey Twitter feed instead of watching my guy win, and I freaked out over the podium as much as anyone, and now I'm ready with a fire extinguisher and a bucket of urine for the next time the embers of hope start crackling within me. Fuck positive thinking and fuck the bright side, say I. Until the document has been signed and Bettman is etching his laughably insincere gratitude into rinks around the continent, I'm assuming the worst.
But I've been destroying any semblance of a sleep schedule in my life to watch World Juniors this past few days, and against my will, I'm looking forward to seeing these kids play in the NHL. Which, in turn, has me thinking about what the various NHL teams will look like on the ice, if they ever reconvene. I'm not excited to see these teams play, because it would require Tom Lehrer-esque depths of masochism to be excited about NHL hockey right now. But if the NHL's tightwad ass ever loosens up enough to let it uncork its head and drop the puck, these are the teams I'll be paying attention to.
- Phoenix: I miss watching Mike Smith kick ass. And I want everyone else to watch him continue to kick ass, since apparently a near miss at a Vezina nomination and a killer playoff showing wasn't enough to convince people that he's competent.
- Edmonton: I'd be keeping an eye on the Oilers just for Yakupov, but I'm even more curious to see what kind of impact Justin Schultz will have on the team, given that defense is where they need help the most and Schultz has been tearing it up in the AHL. And of course I want to see more from the Nuge, after missing a quarter of last season, and Hall and Eberle.
- Pittsburgh: I've heard it suggested that guys might take it easy on Crosby after his efforts in the labor war. I seriously doubt that, but I also have doubts about the legitimacy of the assumption that concussion history predicts more concussions, so hopefully Sid will stay in the game for a while next time. And Malkin had a fantastic season last year, but that doesn't matter because I will always want to watch Malkin do his thing.
- Carolina: Between Semin and their latest Staal, the Canes should be fun to watch.
- NYR: The Rangers were already a solid team before they got Nash.
- LA: For obvious reasons.
You know, just to keep in mind for later. In the meantime, I'll be staying up all night to watch the US World Juniors game against Slovakia, and then to check out the last period of the Spengler Cup final, and then back to the WJC to watch Canada play Russia. See, Bettman? I don't need you or your rotten old league. Ugh, these grapes are definitely not ripe.