Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Poison Pen: Season Preview, Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks
2010-11 Lazy Review: Anaheim battled its way into the playoffs behind Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry, strapping center Ryan Getzlaf, rookie sensation Cam Fowler, and dizzy goalie Jonas Hiller.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: With Mark Recchi's retirement, Getzlaf tries to fill his shoes as the NHL's premiere "Please, just shave your friggin head and be done with it already" star player.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Ducks will again be in a tightly contested hunt for a playoff berth, but are the clear favorites to win the "Soap Opera Character or NHL Player?" game, with rostered players named Luca Sbisa, Emerson Etem, Andrew Cogliano, and Francois Beauchemin.

2011-12 Prediction: Teemu Selanne will celebrate his first trip back to Winnipeg by scoring a goal, tossing his glove up in the air, pretending to shoot it down with his stick, then having sex with the mayor's wife.

Dallas Stars
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Stars wrapped up their 19th year in Texas with a soul-crushing loss in their former home state of Minnesota that knocked Dallas out of playoff contention. Elated Minnesotans celebrated by being very polite and Nordic-looking.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: After several harrowing years of financial tightrope-walking, the Stars have emerged from bankruptcy with a new owner, Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi. Gaglardi has immediately declared his hometown Canucks as the team he'd like to model the Stars after, and will be signing as many smirking assholes as he can fit on the roster.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Stars won't be the most interesting team to follow, but a game to watch will be when they will renew their inexplicable feud with the Bruins on December 31 in Dallas. Watch as Jack Edwards has a little too much champagne and tries to kiss Darryl Reaugh at midnight while a simmering Ralph Strangis fumes in the corner.

2011-12 Prediction: The Stars will be forced to trade captain Brendan Morrow and promising young stars Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn when it's discovered a clerical error caused Mike Modano's one-day "retirement" contract to be registered as a $99,999,999 cap hit.

Los Angeles Kings
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Kings finally rounded into form as a legitimate postseason threat. Of course, by Kings standards, a "legitimate postseason threat" is defined as "being a mildly inconvenient first round speedbump for a real team".

2011-12 Gut Reaction: GM Dean Lombardi went about tweaking his roster with the acquisition of former Flyers captain Mike Richards, and tweaking his franchise defenseman Drew Doughty over a lousy $200,000 per season. Gotta save your pennies for Matt Greene.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Kings eliminated purple from their uniforms this season, opting for a sleek silver and black palette that will make the Kings players the envy of all the other golfers in May.

2011-12 Prediction: Los Angeles takes advantage of the NBA lockout to make a splash by signing Lakers star Kobe Bryant to replace head coach Interchangeable, Unsuccessful Murray.

Phoenix Coyotes
2010-11 Lazy Review: The Coyotes defied the odds and exceeded the expectations of fans, pundits, and critics alike by continuing to exist.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: The loss of unorthodox goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will be mitigated by head coach Dave Tippett's sound defensive system, emerging shutdown center Martin Hanzal, and the relative batshittiness of everybody else affected adversely by the dry heat of the desert.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: Once again, the Coyotes will only go as far as everybody else's money, time, and resources take them.

2011-12 Prediction: The Coyotes' October 15th matchup with the Winnipeg Jets will confuse the bloody hell out of a group of time travelers from the year 1997.

San Jose Sharks
2010-11 Lazy Review: San Jose was able to reach game 5 of the Western Conference final one year after being swept in the same round by the Blackhawks, which puts them on pace to finally win a conference championship by 2014.

2011-12 Gut Reaction: Out: Dany Heatley. In: Martin Havlat. Sick: Ottawa Senators fans.

2011-12 Informed Reaction: The Sharks improved their standing in the Western Conference drastically on the night of the draft, acquiring stud defenseman Brent Burns from Minnesota. Once Burns learns that "playoffs" means "those games that all the other players got to play after my season ended", he will be a key player on the Sharks' blueline come late April and May.

2011-12 Prediction: Joe Thornton will reveal he was hesitant to accept GM Doug Wilson's offer to become the captain of the Sharks because he thought it meant he would have to fight Roy Scheider.

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