Well look at this, the blog isn’t dead.
Nope! Like the Namesake, NOHS has simply been on LTIR over the summer. Jobs, weddings, houses, and life got in the way for us, plus we were pretty burned out from the season before and the lockout in general. We needed the time off, plus, really, what is there to say really in the summer other than complain? Exactly.
But tonight hockey returns. And tomorrow, the Red Wings return. And after a quick NOHS timeout, we discussed and unanimously agreed, we’re back too. So are you ready for another DRW season, with 100% more Eastern Conference hate? We are. We’ve got the photoshops prepped and the sarcasm prepared. Let’s do this.
We’re going to start with our predictions. Two from each NOHS member about the Wings and NHL in general. Not stupid predictions, but real ones. Hit the jump for what you're going to see this year:
Drew’s DRW Predictions:
1. Alfredsson will get hurt…bad. It's not that I want it to happen…but this certainly has that Mike Modano feel to it. It's going to happen at some point in the season. Whether it's a Matt Cooke knee, a Matt Cooke skate to the achilles, or a Matt Cooke elbow to the head – I simply foresee something bad happening to poor old Alfie. The good news is that when it does happen, we'll be able to get Nyquist back in the lineup where he belongs. Very unhappy about him starting in Grand Rapids.
2. Dan Cleary plays his arse off and wins a few hearts and minds. He played like his life depended on it in the play-offs last year. Now, he should be playing the same way because the fans are going to jump all over him if he doesn't. Nyquist has been sent down to Grand Rapids and Tatar has been relegated to the fourth line to make a spot for everyone's favorite Newfie (aside from Patrick Eaves). He made a lot of people confused or angry or both by taking that pay cut to stay with Detroit. His career is at yet another crossroads. I may be in the minority here, but I think he'll rise to the challenge. He won't silence all critics…but I think he'll quiet them down some.
Drew’s NHL Predictions:
1. No matter how watered down the outdoor games will be this year (both figuratively and literally)…Gary Bettman will make like it was the greatest thing in the world to do for the sport of hockey. Bastardizing the Winter/Heritage Classic to make up for the money lost during last year's half season is absolutely disgusting to me. I can't say 100% that I'd be singing the same tune if Detroit picked up an outdoor game if they weren't already in the WC…but I'm pretty sure that I would be (only to a lesser degree)…did that sentence make sense? Regardless of the weather, ice conditions, and quality of games…this will be yet another example of Gary trying to prove that he has hockey's best interest at heart…and another example of why most fans can't stand the man.
2. More of a divisional prediction…or statement, really. The Central Division in the Western Conference is a joke now. Show me ONE rivalry in that division. Nashville and Chicago? Hardly…aside from Martin Erat being the sole reason that Chicago won their series and then the Cup in 2010 is the only sorta kinda bad blood thing going in that Division…and Erat isn't even there anymore! I hope I'm wrong, but the friggin' Blackhawks have a cake walk against a bunch of mediocre teams in the Central now. St. Louis fans are more entertaining than the team they put on the ice. Minnesota isn't dangerous (they proved that last year and didn't get better in the off-season). Nashville was always tough against Detroit, but I don't see Trotz's boys contending with Chicago. Winnepeg and Colorado suck. The dark horse I guess could be Jim Nill's boys in Dallas…but they're re-building so I don't expect much out of them. Any Chicago fan who says they're sad to see Detroit out of the Central is either stupid or lying.
Sully’s DRW Predictions:
1 – Mr. Ilitch holds a testy press conference, prefaced with the phrase "F***ie f***ie f***ie" as he announces Daniel Alfredsson will miss the rest of the season due to a stake-to-wrist injury.
2 – Jimmy Howard earns his (Olympic) Vezina (Gold).
Sully’s NHL Predictions:
1 – I think this trial period for the league's new realignment blows up in their face. Every year players have so much to adjust to, whether it be new rules, new interpretations of rules, new equipment specifications, new rink dimensions, new contracts, new venues, new ownership, management, and coaching. Sometimes it is best to let the changes unfold and the system to develop. The impatient masterminds that run the NHL never understand this. So I am imagining a record high in fatigue-attributable injuries, record highs in head injuries, and the face of the league to be essentially defaced since he gets to spend so much more time with some of his most intense enemies.
2 – The Stanley Cup Champ is a dark horse this year. Someone who didn't build their team to "be competitive in the new divisions." Someone who thought outside the box and didn't fall in line with the trends of their newly appointed rivals. Pittsburgh is best odds to win at 6/1, and they have a deflowered Fleury in net with Vokoun out indefinitely. Next is Chicago at 7/1 but I don't see Crawford being a world beater again this year (of course, I didn't last year either). Boston will be tough but they thinned out a bit on defense and are much younger there. Right behind them, both at 9/1, are the Kings and Sharks? And then the Duh-ucks? What the what, Las Vegas? Anyway, someone surprises the NHL this year, much as LA did in 2012.
Jordan’s DRW Predictions:
1. Red Wings win the cup after dominating the East all season.
2. The NHL media finally takes notice of Datsyuk and references him while talking about top players.
Jordan’s NHL Predictions:
1. After the Wings convincingly win the cup, all eastern teams start rebuilding using Detroit's formula.
2. Patrick Kane returns to his drunken self and eventually ends up with Theo Fleury as his sponsor after a stint in rehab.
The rest of the predictions for the other three guys soon. It’s good to be back. What are yours? LGRW.