2010-11 Lazy Review: The Flames got off to a putrid start and never recovered, despite coach Brent Sutter's constant exhortations of "HEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY YOOOOOOOOUUUUUU GUUUUYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS!!!!!!"
2011-12 Gut Reaction: <muffled giggling>
2011-12 Informed Reaction: <not even trying to hide the giggling>
2011-12 Prediction: Flames fans need to spend some time getting familiar with their blue-collar, lightly-skilled team, since they all have 7-year contracts and no-movement clauses and will be around for quite a long time.
2010-11 Lazy Review: A true Jeckyll-and-Hide-your-eyes team, the young Avs battled injuries and cheapskate ownership as I battled alcoholism.
2011-12 Gut Reaction: "So wait, Peter Budaj is in Montreal and Brian LOLiott is in St Louis? I LOVE OUR GOALTENDING! Who did we get to replace them?"
2011-12 Informed Reaction: I'll be providing a more in-depth look at the Avs on Friday, and the words "can it really get any worse?" will figure in prominently.
2011-12 Prediction: Avs rookie stud Gabriel Landeskog will prove himself worthy of the roster spot he's earned coming out of training camp, and will provide leadership to his new teammates, most of whom are two or three years younger than he is.
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Oilers struggled to another last place overall finish, and earned the right to the first selection in the entry draft. Once again, the Oilers provided the comic relief as they went to the podium and announced they were using that pick to select center Wayne Gretzky of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds.
2011-12 Gut Reaction: Edmonton's dynamic young core, led by snipers Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, will be entertaining to watch. Also entertaining to watch: Edmonton fans in the stands, as they start layering on long underwear, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, and boots, midway through the first period in anticipation of having to walk back to their cars at the end of the game.
2011-12 Informed Reaction: "Last six guys that show up to the rink play defense tonight, fellas!"
2011-12 Prediction: Oilers' equipment manager Jeff Lang will run out of jersey nameplate materal by mid-November.
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Wild did a bunch of stuff. Played in some games, probably? I'm sure they won some of them. Come to think of it, I dont remember seeing any highlights. Wait, they're still in the league, right?
2011-12 Gut Reaction: Minnesota comes into the new season after an offseason makeover that saw them trade their two best players to San Jose in exchange for the Sharks' sixth and seventh best players. Shrewd.
2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Wild expect 2003 Motorist Of The Year Dany Heatley to reinvigorate his career riding shotgun to Wild captain Mikko Koivu: a fine player, but not the premiere setup man in the league that Heatley played with in San Jose.
2011-12 Prediction: The sight of 18,000 fans in the Xcel Energy Center who are actually excited to see the Wild play will amaze me every single time I see it. Approximately 5 minutes later, I'll be asleep.
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Canucks rewarded their long-suffering fans with a team they could be proud of. Of course, pride is all relative, as the players they're proud of are ne'er-do-wells like Alex Burrows, Maxim Lapierre, Kevin Bieksa, and approximately 72% of the rest of the grinning, smirking assholes in the NHL.
2011-12 Gut Reaction: Vancouver returns most of the key players from their Stanley Cup finalist team, including scoring sensations Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Selke candidate Ryan Kesler, and goaltender Roberto Luong...gah...gasp...ggggghhhhhhhhhh <turns blue>
2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Nucks figure to be one of two or three teams that have the ability to come out of the competitive Western Conference, along with the Sharks, Kings, and Blackhawks OMIGOD PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEEEEEEASE LET SOMEBODY ELSE BEAT THE BLACKHAWKS.
2011-12 Prediction: Alex Burrows suffers a season-ending tongue injury in December, leading GM Mike Gillis to stroll behind Rogers Arena and pick another asshole off the Canucks' fruitful Asshole Tree. Past harvests have included Gino Odjick, Todd Bertuzzi, Jarkko Ruutu, and Matt Cooke.