Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Poison Pen: Season Preview, Northeast Division

Boston Bruins
2010-11 Lazy Review: Zdeno Chara almost killed a guy. Tim Thomas is older than you, better than you. The big silver thing? They won it.

2011-12 Gut Reaction:  Boston hasn't failed to defend a Stanley Cup championship since the 72-73 season. HISTORY IS ON THEIR SIDE.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The ESPN Magazine curse has already struck down the Red Sox, Tom Brady's hair, and the Celtics' season. Are the Bruins next?

2011-12 Prediction: Unless the Bruins' petition to the league to allow Roberto Luongo to play in goal for whoever they face in the playoffs is somehow granted, the defending champs may be facing an uphill battle as Pittsburgh gets healthier and Washington gets less chokey.

Buffalo Sabres
2010-11 Lazy Review: Ryan Miller and Tyler Myers drove the Sabres' clown car to the playoffs, but were unable to overcome a team of ACTUAL clowns in the first round.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: $ome people con$ider the $abres a$ part of the Ea$tern elite. Most of those people work for and are paid by the Sabres to think nice things about them.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The big money additions of Christian Eeeehhhh-rhoff and Ville Leino may be enough to propel the Sabres deeper into the postseason this year. Oh wait, they didn't make the first round a best-of-9? Nevermind then.

2011-12 Prediction: Buffalo will once again be that smurftastic team that allows you to use fun terms like "Gerbe" and "Ennis" as cute verbs, but will be pushed around by the Gargamels of the world. Unfortunately, in a conference full of giants, the hamster-like Sabres will be spinning their wheel toward another first round exit.

Montreal Canadiens
2010-11 Lazy Review: Opposing fans hate PK Subban. Home fans hate Carey Price. Despite their first round 7 game loss to the eventual champs, the Habs remain the Bruins' kryptonite, and a team to avoid in April.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: Can you see a team coached by Jacques Martin winning a Stanley Cup? Me neither. (ed. note: stolen from 2010-11 Bruins Gut Reaction; replaced "Claude Julien" with "Jacques Martin".)

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The success or failure of the Habs hinges almost exclusively on Carey Price's fragile ego. If the team starts slowly, does Price start drowning under the expectations of the most needy fan base in hockey?

2011-12 Prediction: Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, PK Subban, and an injured Andrei Markov are your Eastern Conference Allstar starters after Montreal fans kidnap Stephen Hawking, force him to write an online ballot-stuffing algorithm, and steal his wheelchair for Markov to use.

Ottawa Senators
2010-11 Lazy Review: Nick Foligno (of the hockey playing Folignos) was the team's third leading scorer. He had 34 points in 82 games. Aaaaaand, scene.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: A full season with Craig Anderson in net will provide the Sens with the goaltending stability they've lacked since Percy LeSueur manned the net for the Sens. In 1914.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: Craig Anderson defines "a full season in net" as "all the games that happen before I remember I'm wildly underpaid and underappreciated". So, that's about 25 games.

2011-12 Prediction: Hey, maybe Nikita Filatov will develop into a player who can score thirty FIVE points in 82 games. Maybe?

Toronto Maple Leafs
2010-11 Lazy Review: Once again, a team full of underachieving young players and overpaid declining veterans struggled to produce under the demands of coach Ron Wilson. Oops, my fault: that's the Lazy Review I wrote for the 02-03 San Jose Sharks.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: Much like the Hallowed Ghosts that followed the rival Canadiens from the Forum to the Bell Centre, the Leafs will play in front of Ghosts at the Air Canada Centre. They all seem to sit in the lower bowl.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Leafs are counting on last year's rookie goaltending sensation James Reimer to continue developing into a promising young goalie they can eventually use as bait to re-acquire Andrew Raycroft.

2011-12 Prediction: With stars such as Drew Doughty, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Stastny, and Tyler Seguin all having elite seasons, Leafs fans will be very pleased with the progress of the team they thought they could have had if Brian Burke had just listened to them and traded Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Bozak, the rights to Mike Palmateer, and a 2016 second round pick to acquire them.

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