18 September 2011

Burning Questions - Western Conference

Arriving unexpectedly within a week of the Eastern Conference preview - timing Matt Cooke would call "a damn hurry" - presenting...er, the Western Conference:

Anaheim Ducks
Why is there all this talk about the anticipation over the long-awaited return of the veteran winger with the $4m cap hit to the Canadian city where he was so beloved, when the schedule says that the Ducks and Jason Blake don't even play in Toronto this year? 

Calgary Flames
Does the close proximity of the words "no movement clause" to the words "Curtis Glencross" elicit the same confusion in everyone else as it does with me? 

Chicago Blackhawks
Will universally popular new recruit Dan Carcillo finally prove that he is not dumber than he looks in the only possible way - by tattooing "Nah, I looks dummah" on his forehead? 

Colorado Avalanche
Might there be one or two flaws apparent in Greg Sherman's strategy of adding Shane O'Brien to Ryan O'Reilly and Ryan O'Byrne in the hope of making the Colorad O'Avalanche the most attractive destination when much-coveted Irish sniper, Alex O'Vechkin, hits free agency in 2021? 

Columbus Blue Jackets
Will James Wisniewski seize the opportunity to be a #1 defenseman, or will he blow it? 

Dallas Stars
Will the suffering of the fans through an almost-inevitable non-playoff season be compensated to some degree by the optimism given by the bushel of prospects and picks acquired in the Brad Richards trade at last year's deadline? 

Detroit Red Wings
Is Mike Commodore's sentiment in not cheapening the game by associating his jersey with a consumer electronics brand shared by newly-named team-mate Jakub Kindle? 

Edmonton Oilers

Los Angeles Kings
Is the Drew Doughty contract impasse due to Dean Lombardi's unwillingness to pay him more than Anže Kopitar or his nagging doubt that Mike Richards' offer to take him to a Christian book reading evening to celebrate the eventual contract signing isn't all that it seems? 

Minnesota Wild
Can we assume this was the trade to a non-contending, cold-climate NW Division team that Dany Heatley has been looking for his whole career? 

Nashville Predators
Should the NHL fear another lockout when Brian Burke relents and accepts Ryan Ellis as a sweetener for having to take on Shea Weber's contract in exchange for Jay Rosehill, Joey Crabb and a napkin autographed by Lonny Bohonos? 

Phoenix Coyotes
By replacing Ilya Bryzgalov with Mike Smith, can we expect reports on the Coyotes to feature the phrase "huge losses" even more than normal? 

San Jose Sharks
Can Doug Wilson continue to pry the most successful parts out of the Minnesota franchise by acquiring the rights to Jacques Lemaire and the year 2003? 

St. Louis Blues
Does Nikita Nikitin possess the best smoking-related name in the NHL since Zdeno Ciger? 

Vancouver Canucks
What will the fans' reception be like at the home opener, when the team shows up there for the first time since Game Five of the Cup Final?

13 September 2011

Burning Questions - Eastern Conference

The month of September means it's Burning Questions time in the NHL (except for Vancouver fans, where questions about burning stuff get asked in June).  So, here is the Eastern Conference - with a guarantee that somewhere less than 100% of last year's material has been re-used.

(Publishing note: As is customary, due to time-zone differences, the Western Conference equivalent will likely not follow for another 2-3 months.)

Atlanta Thrashers
How is the season ticket drive going?

Boston Bruins
Is Brad Marchand hampering his chances of being signed before training camp by his insistence on repeatedly punching Peter Chiarelli in the face during contract negotiations?

Buffalo Sabres
Will Terry Pegula be forced to hire more personal security staff to deal with the daily onslaught of individuals wanting to shake his hand and express their overwhelming joy about his ownership of the team, or will Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff eventually leave him alone?

Carolina Hurricanes
Will the notoriously potty-mouthed Paul Maurice be able to find a more acceptable way of shouting Justin Faulk's name on the bench if he makes the team?


Florida Panthers
Will Matt Bradley have a higher opinion of Alexander Semin's playoff production once he discovers every one of his new teammates suffers a 100% drop off in scoring after the regular season ends?

Montreal Canadiens
After closing their case against Zdeno Chara's size, will the local police find something more worthy of investigation, such as the theft of $51.5m by Scott Gomez?

New Jersey Devils
What are the chances coach DeBoer misinterprets Marty Brodeur's usual request to "put mousse in the goal every night"?

New York Islanders
In the unlikely event of Trevor Gillies missing 19 games through suspension again, which player(s) will seize the opportunity to make up the deficit of 38 seconds of aggregate ice-time?

New York Rangers
Is the start of the multi-million dollar renovation of Madison Square Garden connected in any way to Bruce Boudreau's complaints about the building during the playoffs, or was the Dunkin' Donuts stand integrated into the away bench in the original construction plans?

Ottawa Senators
Is the holding of 20th anniversary season celebrations just an elaborate ruse to ice a more competitive line-up by inviting members of the stellar 10-win team of 1992-93 back to Ottawa?

Philadelphia Flyers
Will ECHL 2nd Team All-Star Michael Leighton make his season debut in Game One or Game Two of the Flyers first round playoff series?

Pittsburgh Penguins
Will the headaches, nausea and irritability eventually subside, or will I still be subjected to Steigerwald and Errey broadcasting on far too many occasions?

Tampa Bay Lightning
Can evil genius Guy Boucher again create the illusion that Dwayne Roloson is a dominant NHL goalie in the second half of the season by playing the entire first half of the season with five sheets of slightly damp toilet paper dangling from the crossbar instead?

Toronto Maple Leafs
Should fans be worried by Brian Burke's comment that iron-man Tim Connolly is "going to get new legs" in Toronto, given the historical lack of success for amputees at the NHL level?

Washington Capitals
During games against the Islanders, will Tomáš Vokoun attempt to distract Evgeni Nabokov by burning $50 $10 bills in front of him?

Winnipeg Jets
Does the franchise risk tarnishing its proud association with the military by promising Dustin Byfuglien a test-drive in a nuclear submarine?