Midseason Madness

Hey, blog! It’s been a while! It’s not at all because I’ve been playing all the Dragon Age games. Definitely not.

Since our last post, a number of things have happened. The Capitals and Blackhawks played what was a surprisingly good game at Nationals Park for the Winter Classic. Karl Alzner wore sunglasses during the first period. Roman Josi notched his 100th point in the NHL. A bunch of teams fired their coaches. And I guess some Canadian kids won some gold medal or something, I don’t really know.

Here are the important things, though:

Teemu Forever

On Sunday night before, appropriately enough, a Jets-Ducks game, the Ducks retired their very first jersey for Finnish legend Teemu Selanne. It’s been interesting these last couple of years watching him take his “one last go, I swear” tours around the NHL. The love that he garners is beyond what I’ve seen for nearly anyone in this game and his guaranteed Hall of Fame induction just made it that much more remarkable to watch.

The one sad part was that Teemu’s longtime linemate and friend Paul Kariya couldn’t (or perhaps wouldn’t) be there. A Ducks fan I know mentioned she could see why Kariya might not want come back; how would the Ducks fans, many of whom still hold a grudge against him for leaving for the Avalanche, react to his presence?

But he did make an appearance in the (excellent) George Parros- narrated tribute video and the crowd apparently reacted just as I did:

I know Kariya would probably 100% hate having a night like this — I can’t imagine the reclusive, private, and humble star (see Friedman’s 1st thought) wanting an hour and a half ceremony in his honor — but given what he was to that franchise, given that he is in a lot of ways the original Duck, if they could find a way past all that and any lingering bitterness to retire Kariya’s number too, I think it would be amazing. The Selanne banner looks awful lonely up there; I think it needs a friend. 

All-Star Game

The All-Star Game rosters were announced and it caused a stir due to some of the people missing from the list. Players who seemed tailor-made for the ASG, like PK Subban, didn’t make it, and some of the other choices have people scratching their heads.

Part of the fact that numerous teams only have one representative might be traced back to the fact that the fans voted in basically the entire Blackhawks roster. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you could ice three forwards, two defencemen, and a goalie with the Blackhawks players plus Latvian treasure Zemgus Girgensons.

zemgus and the blackhawks

 

The hottest new band, coming to an arena near you!

It’s hard to argue with a lot of the picks purely on the basis of well, who else from that team are you going to send? Mostly I’m excited about the Columbus contingent of Johanson, Foligno, and most importantly, Sergei “Number One Cop” Bobrovsky. And when it comes to PK, they found a way to get him involved at the NHL Awards — maybe, if he’s amenable, he could do something similar at the ASG. Then again he might just want to sleep for those two days.

The jerseys are also awful. The eye-searing neon looks like those high-visibility jackets bikers wear. Are they trying to make sure there are no collisions on the ice? I suppose I applaud that.

Tank Watch Continues

While Dallas and Columbus have clawed themselves out of the bottom of the standings, the Devils, and Arizona have fallen back to the bottom of the heap back with the eternal Connor McDavid favorites the Sabres, Oilers, and Hurricanes. The Oilers are once again in dead last with 29 points, and while the Sabres still have the worst goal differential (-66), it seems Edmonton fans have already resigned themselves to the inevitable:

I find this team so hard to figure out. They’ve fired Dallas Eakins but have yet to make any substantial changes to their core. I’m unsure if they’re waiting for trade deadline to strongarm teams into better deals or what, but it’s become abundantly clear that this team just doesn’t work. With as much talent as they have, they should be better, but here we are. Started from the bottom now they’re back at the bottom. Classic Oilers.

Midseason Evaluations

At the beginning of the year, we did our predictions for the season. Halfway through, it’s time to see how we’re doing.

Things We Got Right:

  • The Penguins are doing pretty good in the Metro, trailing the Islanders by only one point with a game in hand as of this post.
  • We knew the Hurricanes would be awful and we were 100% correct in that.
  • I didn’t have as much faith in the Lightning as Tasha and Hannah, but I did place the Canadiens higher than they did, so, draw?
  • Obviously the Sabres are terrible. That is not a surprise to anyone. We don’t get any kudos for predicting that.
  • We got the top of the Pacific division mostly right-ish in that it involves the Kings and Ducks.

Things We Got Wrong:

  • We had some small hopes for the Oilers. We were wrong.
  • We also had no faith in the Flames and while they aren’t amazing, they aren’t terrible either.
  • The Central Division really screwed us up. None of us predicted Nashville would be leading that division, let alone the league, and the Jets have been doing much better than expected.
  • We should have had more faith in the Islanders and the Capitals. They’re doing pretty good, and it’s nice to see.

What We Learned:

  • Don’t discount the changes an offensively-minded coach can bring to a team (see: Nashville)
  • Listen to your heart (Oilers)
  • Don’t listen to anything I predict, I know nothing.

 

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