The NHL season is finally here.
Tonight the puck will drop in four arenas:
Montreal @ Toronto
Washington @ Boston
Vancouver @ Calgary
San Jose @ Colorado
It's great to have games that mean something once again.
One of the best things about a new hockey season is that you have no idea what's going to happen.
One of the favorites could end up in the basement because their star player breaks his leg.
A bad team could ride a hot goaltender all the way to the playoffs.
A fat guy could lean too far forward while watching from his front row seat and break the glass, stopping an important game and killing someone's momentum.
No one knows what is going to happen.
That's why it's so exciting, because anything can happen.
And just like every team starts the season with optimism, every team also starts the season with questions.
Here are ten answers we'll be looking for during the season.
What will Jim Balsillie attempt to buy next?
If you think you've seen the last of him, you're wrong. Jim Balsillie is a spoiled kid who's never heard the word no.
Just because he failed in buying the Penguins, Predators and Coyotes it doesn't mean that he won't keep trying.
We're not sure that he's going about things the right way, however. A NHL franchise, even one based on Phoenix, is a large, difficult purchase. Jim should consider buying something smaller first. Maybe he could invest in a Dairy Queen or an IHOP. We've heard that they'd like an IHOP in Hamilton. Make It One, Jimmy. Make It One.
With Max Talbot injured, who will fill the loveable womanizer/superstar role on the Pens?
This is a pressing question for the Penguins and also for A&L Motors.
We can't see Tyler Kennedy or Pascal Dupuis making "chica chica" noises and picking up the ladies. Of course, Talbot could surprise us all and manage to provide the ladies and the TV viewing audience with "superstar treatment" while wearing a sling and hopped up on painkillers. In fact, that's exactly what we expect to happen.
What will Ovechkin and Green do next in their attempts to "out douchebag" each other?
Between tramp stamps and faux hawks and GreenLife52, we're not sure what else these two could do.
Maybe they'll go for nipple rings or gold chains. Maybe they'll take to wearing Bluetooth headsets at all times. Maybe they'll start turning their hats slightly sideways while showing off their abs and throwing up gang signs. We think Green will try and get the edge by wearing designer sunglasses during a game, only to be one-upped by Ovechkin simultaneously wearing three unreal shirts with popped collars. The media will praise both men for their enthusiasm and passion, despite the fact that neither player will enter their own defensive zone until mid 2010. Ovechkin will do so by accident.
How long will Lidstrom survive without receiving a handshake?
When you think about it, it will probably be about ten months from the 2009 Stanley Cup Final before Nicklas Lidstrom once again stands in a handshake line. We're a little worried that he won't be able to make it that long. At this point all we know is that he is fueled by handshaking. Kris Draper let the secret out in June: without handshakes Lidstrom will wither away. Rumor has it that his testicle was the first thing to go. What will be next? How will Draper react? There are so many questions.
How many players will end up in jail following the first Flyers/Leafs game of the season?
On January 6th, 2010 the Toronto Maple Leafs will enter the Wachovia Center and engage in battle. At this point we're not even sure if the referee will bring a puck. He'll likely just bring a large shield to protect himself from blood splatter. The minute Ray Emery takes off his skate, brandishes it like a weapon, and heads after Colton Orr the cops will be called. By the time Brian Burke climbs into Bobby Clarke's private box with a sharpened Popsicle stick, you'll see Beauchemin and Pronger being taken away in cuffs. Then the teams will meet again in Toronto on the 14th. The Canadian army will be called in. It won't help.
Will Marian Gaborik play enough games to be inscribed on the Stanley Cup the Rangers will not win?
A strong gust of New York wind is being cited as the reason for Marian Gaborik's season-ending injury. His $37.5 million deal remains safe.
With Crosby being handed the Cup and Balsillie gone, what will Bettman do?
Gary Bettman is probably a pretty happy guy right now. He successfully fixed the entire league in order to hand Sidney Crosby the Cup and he's shown his hatred for all things Canadian by eliminating Jim Balsillie. But what's left for the evil midget? Perhaps, just to further annoy Canadians, he will buy the Calgary Flames and move them to Little Rock, Arkansas before moving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks to Phoenix. We hear it's a good hockey town. The Pittsburgh Penguins will go on to defeat the Phoenix Maple Leafs in five games to win the 2010 Stanley Cup. Gary Bettman will be caught on tape slipping the referee a twenty to call the game in Pittsburgh's favor. The series will take five games because a sweep would be too obvious.
San Jose: Massive Choke Job or just an Average-Sized Choke Job?
Yes, their regular season will be good, but what about the playoffs? What eighth seed will they lose to this year? How badly will they lose? These are the kind of questions that keep Joe Thornton up at night, along with whether or not the team has named a designated driver, what S.J. Sharkie had for breakfast and what shoes to wear to the rink.
Will anyone ever want to play in Edmonton?
It's cold and it's dark and we've heard it's filled with nothing but bears and elk. There was once a rumor that a player requested a trade to Edmonton, but it turned out he was just listing North American cities he refuses to enter. To compensate for this problem, the Oilers will remove the Wayne Gretzky statue from the front of Rexall Place and name it the team's starting center. Within a week the statue will demand to be traded to Los Angeles.
How awesome will Crosby and Malkin be?
If you're 22 or 23 you're probably sitting at home right now, reading this on a Dell and eating chips. Your typical night probably involves playing video games or heading out to a bar. And that's perfectly acceptable. That's what your life should be like at 22 or 23. When you're Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin your life is much different. You spend your birthday in a military helicopter with the Stanley Cup. You visit the President of the United States. You get driven around your hometown in a limo. And then you get back on the ice and dominate a professional sport. Malkin and Crosby aren't satisfied with one Stanley Cup. They're not going to rest.