The 2013-14 season is rapidly approaching. If you believe me when I tell you that I genuinely love Hockey and respect the players and teams out there, you can take the sometimes blunt and pointed Billy Smith whacks that serve as my 30 questions about 30 teams below. Nothing personal boys and girls – I just have some questions…
1. Anaheim Ducks. Brian Burke. What the heck is he doing there? His work, despite great odds against, is really why Toronto had the components to make it into the playoffs for the first time since before the last Lockout.
2. Boston Bruins. What would have happened in Game 6 if the Bruin guard was not dropped at the end of the 3rd period? Would a Game 7 still have had the same final result?
3. Buffalo Sabres. Does Darcy last all of 2013-14 or exit in April?
4. Calgary Flames. Is there a No. 1 goalie there? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
5. Carolina Hurricanes. Do you wonder if secretly under their breaths at the 2013 draft the ‘Canes were quietly cursing the Predators?
6. Chicago Blackhawks. Does the word ‘Dynasty’ apply yet? And when does Scotty Bowman get formal, blatantly acknowledged credit for his brilliance in the game whether it is out front or in the wings?
7. Colorado Avalanche. How many GM’s, in name or otherwise, does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
8. Columbus Blue Jackets. And they were just getting good in the West… Does last year’s success carry over to the Metropolis, er, Megalopolis, I mean, Metropolitan Division?
9. Dallas Stars. Does a flying 91 sweater remind anyone of a flying #9 be it hacked or not?
10. Detroit Red Wings. Does the East know what they are in for? How about compared to the average points needed to make the playoffs between 2005-6 and 2011-12 broken out in five game blocks, this team has only been negative against that average for 30 – of – 574 games?
11. Edmonton Oilers. Does the last player to not wear a helmet and the last player who took the last faceoff for the New York Rangers in Game Seven of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals become the first Oiler leader since 2005 to bring this club to the Playoffs?
12. Florida Panthers. If trains from New York, Montreal and San Jose already left their stations, the Salary Cap Floor = $44M, and a team only has to sign a minimum of 23 players to their active roster, why is the answer to the question ‘A Gomez for $900K?’
13. Los Angeles Kings. If a third playoff meeting occurs with St. Louis, will the outcome remain the same?
14. Minnesota Wild. So all it takes is an additional Ballard, Niederreiter and a Cooke? Dang. Bet they wish they thought of that before last April 30th.
15. Montreal Canadiens. If a 2013-14 Subban costs $2.875M, what does the 2014-15 model run?
16. Nashville Predators. Did the Predators mail their 2013 Draft thank you cards to Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay yet?
17. New Jersey Devils. How many bucks could a Kovalchuk chuck if a Kovalchuk contract could get chucked?
18. New York Islanders. It’s the 52nd game of the season, you’re in 5th / 8th place in the East and you’re down a Nabokov until June 1st. Does a Thomas appear out of a mountain compound on white steed, or what?
19. New York Rangers. If you listed your front office on a blackboard and employed an eraser, would your team be better off if one title was cut back to only ‘Alternate Governor?’
20. Ottawa Senators. Was the trade actually Silfverberg, Noesen and the 2014 1st Round pick to Anaheim for Bobby Ryan, or Silfverberg, Noesen, the 2014 1st Round pick and Alfredsson to Anaheim and Detroit for Bobby Ryan? (Good catch, Big Tex!)
21. Philadelphia Flyers. “…OK. Welcome to the Flyers’ 2013 Training Camp. We are glad to have you all here. As a first order of business, $2,053,522 of you won’t be with us at the start of the regular season, so don’t unpack all of your household goods yet….”
22. Phoenix Coyotes. Welcome to the Pacific Division, Seattle Quebec Toronto Phoenix/Arizona!
23. Pittsburgh Penguins. ‘It’s Marc-Andre Fleury! Wait… No it’s not. YES! It is! Aaaaaaah nope – he was just kidding….’
24. San Jose Sharks. So how soon after a 2014 Playoffs middling-round departure does a 2013 Todd McLellan contract extension actually turn into an extension of neck on a chopping block?
25. St. Louis Blues. Did you ever in a million years think a .094 Goals Per Game average an overall –60 equals an AAV of $5.4M for five years? Is it me, or does public school algebra not add up like it used to in the 1980’s?
26. Tampa Bay Lightning. Does anybody know how good a little defense in front of a Bishop and Lindback really looks? Let’s see…
27. Toronto Maple Leafs. Larry: ‘…Hey, Dave! Was that the 2012-13 Clarkson you just bought, or the 2011-12? We want the ’11-‘12 model…’ Dave: ‘…No, Larry, that had to be the ’11-’12 Clarkson. I think. Hell, I better go check….’
28. Vancouver Canucks. How long does it take a Gillis to implode an NHL franchise?
29. Washington Capitals. Is Ovechkin focused on the NHL playoffs first and Sochi second until February, or what?
30. Winnipeg Jets. Hey? You remember 2011-12 when we had to travel almost 45,000 miles? Man I sure am glad we’re in the Central Division this year and only have to fly… HEY! WAIT A MINUTE…