I know everyone has been salivating waiting for my Western Conference preview this year. This was also written while in the middle of the ocean...or the Gulf...somewhere with water, how about that? As with last time, there is no particular order. Just the way I wrote all the teams down as I remembered them.
Dallas Stars -
The Good: Thankfully, the season is only 82 games long. I probably couldn't handle much more than that.
The Bad: The Dallas Defense is to defending what a championship is to Buffalo; nonexistent.
The Expectation: They not only win the Stanley Cup, but do so in such dominating fashion that Gary Bettman strips all champions from 2000 on and retroactively awards them the Cup in those years as well (Take this one to the bank).
San Jose Sharks -
The Good: Have made the necessary preparations to face the defending cup champs in the finals by acquiring the only goaltender to never lose to the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Bad: Let's face it, Joe Thornton still chokes more than George Bush on a pretzel. If it weren't for Pavelski last season they wouldn't have even received a reprieve of "losing to the better team" and not actually tanking as usual.
The Expectation: That Dan Boyle at least triples his amount of game winning overtime goals this season.
Phoenix Coyotes -
The Good: They have skill and talent despite a lack of financial backing.
The Bad: Dead snakes on the ice will lead them to become endangered after the large quantity of goals Lee Stempniak is going to score since he is no longer coached by Ron Wilson.
The Expectation: The only bookie that is willing to give betable odds on the Coyotes staying in Phoenix is ironically Rick Tocchet
Los Angeles Kings -
The Good: Did not overpay to get Ilya Kovalchuk on their team, thus salvaging big contracts for all their young great players who are about to be RFAs.
The Bad: The Blackhawks vanquished half their team for a Stanley Cup, why wouldn't the Kings decide to do the same?
The Expectation: They bring back Kerry Fraiser for all playoff games in hopes that Bettman paid him to get them to the finals again.
Anaheim Ducks -
The Good: Bobby Ryan is expected to sign a new contract...eventually...before his playing career is over. (Ed Note: Thanks for ruining the joke asshole. Now the good news is the team can turn to their second biggest distraction: George Parros' mustache)
The Bad: Couldn't bring in Paul Kariya due to post-concussion syndrome. On a related note, retroactively tried to sue Scott Stevens.
The Expectation: Without the defensive play of Scott Niedermeyer, Jonas Hiller will wish he was the one traded to Toronto.
Detroit Red Wings -
The Good: They got Modano from the Stars who loves new teammate Ruslan Salei just slightly less than a root canal.
The Bad: That if they reach the finals, I will likely have to cheer for them just because I'd like Modano to go out on a high note.
The Expectation: I'm not going to say they suck, because that's old news. Instead, I'm going to say that they enjoy putting objects of the male anatomy in their mouths and forming a suction on said object until they receive a contribution of sorts for their efforts.
Colorado Avalanche -
The Good: Anytime I make an Avs joke in this blog, not only will I get hassled from college friends in Denver, but Jaye will dedicate an entire blog post to bashing me.
The Bad: Rumors of The Border's demise, the local underage Denver college bar that Paul Stastny and David Jones are quite familiar with, were exaggerated, thus leading to Jones once again faking an injury in order to have more reasons to hook up with drunk DU girls.
The Expectation: That they finally realize the expectations of last season and miss out horrifically on the playoffs. Thank God.
Vancouver Canucks -
The Good: Ryan Kesler will surely overcome the NHL 11 cover jinx. I mean, he's already made it through the preseason without killing someone.
The Bad: The Sedins are twins, not triplets, nor do they have a quadruplet that plays goal.
The Expectation: They transfer the "C" to Shane O'Brien this season, because he is after all the role model of Consistency, Courage, and Cdouchebaggery.
Calgary Flames -
The Good: Darryl Sutter has lost his mind, thus placing absolutely zero expectations for this season.
The Bad: In the spirit of giving former Flames another shot (ba-zing!) this year╒s starting goaltender is Dany Sabourin, who had a PERFECT win percentage with his first stint with the club. Sadly, it was perfect for the other team
The Expectation: I fully expect the prize of a fan intermission game at a Flames game to be the first line center job for the rest of the season.
Minnesota Wild -
The Good: Supposedly Miko Koivu is 100% this year after 2 surgeries and is set to put up some huge contract-justifying numbers.
The Bad: Did anyone else even know he was hurt last season?
The Expectation: Chuck Fletcher convinces Sutter to trade for Backstrom as he will no doubtably boost their center pivot on the first line.
Edmonton Oilers -
The Good: I have a one-liter bottle of Canadian blended whiskey next to me and I have drank quite a bit of it. The Oilers are from Canada as well. Yes, that's all I got.
The Bad: Realizing he's stuck for at least a few years in Edmonton with no chance of a trade, Taylor Hall attempts to blow up the Rexall Place...with the entire team sans himself inside of it.
The Expectation: Shawn Horcoff finally fulfills his expectations by sucking like we all know he will.
St. Louis Blues -
The Good: They signed former Montreal standout goaltender Jaroslav Halak after an amazing end to the season.
The Bad: Dave Tallon called and reminded them that they signed a former Montreal standout goaltender who had an amazing end to the season.
The Expectation: The young guys were all very nice in having their sophomore slump the same year, thus making the Blues my repeat darkhorse Western Conference Stanley Cup pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets -
The Good: Rick Nash scores a goal or two.
The Bad: Steve Mason lets in a goal or eight.
The Expectation: Since no one wants to watch the Lebron-less Cavs anymore, it should be easy to boost the Nielson ratings from a 0.2 to a 0.3.
Nashville Predators -
The Good: They somehow manage to stay competitive in the NHL, despite being an AHL team at best.
The Bad: Pekka Rinne has 1 year left on his deal after this year, which almost guarantees the cycle of backup goaltenders outplaying and winning the starting job will continue.
The Expectation: Ryan Parent turns into a stellar player after returning to the club that drafted him (I can't say anything negative about a guy that shares a birthday with me).
Chicago Blackhawks -
The Good: Well...they're under the salary cap, so that counts for something, right?
The Bad: Turco now has to face the Red Wings, who are statistically his biggest pain in the ass, a total of eight times this regular season. At least, that╒s assuming he doesn't get benched.
The Expectation: The Stanley Cup winning streak is going to start 2/2 for Marian Hossa who fully expects that the team he screwed over financially will win every year he is there.
The NHL as a whole -
The Good: It's almost here so that we can stop watching horrifically boring baseball.
The Bad: The governing bodies have started much too early this year in their attempt to randomly add new rules and restrictions that will help keep teams on a level playing field. Most notably the new rule that requires all players to make weight in order to join an NHL teamThe Expectation: Gary Bettman's body explodes from the orgasm he ends up having during the Winter Classic game between Crosby and Ovechkin.
As always, feel free to leave your comments, hate mail, and love notes, or just stalk me on Twitter , because what better things do you have to do while at work?