The Pens Won the Stanley Cup and No One Cares

Written by :
Published on : June 25, 2016

 

 

You may not have noticed, but the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and no one (outside of Pennsylvania) seems to care. I dig hockey and I only saw a few games of finals. As stated before, I don’t like either the Penguins or the San Jose Sharks very much but still, something was off here and it wasn’t just me. Most of my hockey loving friends were equally checked out. What was going on? Why wasn’t there more excitement for the biggest stage of NHL competition? I asked a few buddies and tried to figure it out.

 

First stop, SBS’s resident hockey expert, Antoine Poutine. I was certain he would have something super thoughtful and revealing to say. I was kind of surprised by his answer:

“The Stanley Cup was a classic matchup between one of hockey’s all-time great bitches, Sidney Crosby, and hall-of-fame caliber bitch Joe Thornton. I watched it a little bit until it started burning when I peed, which is usually how I react to Crosby. Turning it off was soothing.”

 

 

Next, I talked to Steven, our Pittsburgh fan. At least he must be into it, right? I mean it’s a hometown championship. His words were few but spoke volumes to the phenomenon we are experiencing:

“Well, now I know what it’s like to be a Patriots fan.”

 

Maybe it’s because the Pittsburgh Penguins are so good that it’s boring. Both the outcome and the gameplay seem old hat. Look, I’ll give Phil Kessel his props, but I’m just not that interested. Maybe everyone just really hates the Sharks and Pens. I continued polling the staff and most seemed to agree with the frustration felt by Antoine.

 

Alex:

I could only dislike this more if it was the Blackhawks winning a Stanley Cup.”

 

Noah:

“As soon as Pittsburgh clinched a berth to the Stanley Cup Finals we knew it was over.  Props to SJ for making it interesting but overall I think people cared more about Warriors vs Cavs.”

 

 

Mike:

“It’s baseball season.”

 

Phred:

“I’d be more inclined to keep up with the Stanley Cup if ESPN showed any interest. They’ve got two analysts that cover the entire sport.”

 

Sandy:

“I’m just glad the Sharks and Warriors both lost so the Silicon Valley engineers could stop pretending they like sports and get back to work on the next social media app to look at boobies.”

 

Damn. that’s a lot of shade being thrown around. But all these different voices are pointing at something. A flaw. The NHL would be wise to closely monitor this situation. Looking beyond the ScoreBoredSports staff, we find proof backing up our claim. 2016 saw a steep drop off in TV rating for the Stanley Cup finals. SportsMediaWatch states a 29% drop in viewership since last year. That’s massive. I’m not sure what the league can do beyond pulling strings to keep Pittsburgh out, but it must do something or hockey will be headed for ruin.

 

Leave your thoughts about the Cup, the Pens, the Sharks or how you think we can fix this problem in the comments below.

 

Bored.

 

 


Why They Can Win: NHL Stanley Cup Final Edition

Written by :
Published on : May 30, 2016

 

Well, it’s that time of year again. After months of grueling playoff action, it’s time for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, pitting the San Jose Sharks against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s been a long time coming for San Jose players and fans alike. This will be the first time in franchise history that the Sharks will play in a Stanley Cup Final.

 

It will be a thrilling time for the Sharks, particularly veteran forwards Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Marleau has been in San Jose since he was the second player selected at the 1997 NHL Draft; he has played 1,411 regular-season games with the Sharks and another 165 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thornton arrived in 2005 in a trade with the Boston Bruins. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has emerged as one of the better defensemen in the NHL and was recognized last month when he was named a Norris Trophy finalist. Burns had 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in the regular season. So let’s take a look at both teams and talk about how either one of them could be hoisting the greatest trophy in sports.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins:

I hate to say it, but the Pens have a pretty good chance at hoisting the Cup.

 

The Penguins have been a different team since Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach 28 games into the season. Sullivan has allowed the Penguins to use their speed to their advantage, and top players like centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, right wing Phil Kessel, and defenseman Kris Letang have thrived. Crosby scored 36 goals and had 85 points during the regular season, and he and Malkin each have 15 points in the playoffs. Letang has 10 points and a plus-4 rating.

 

 

Matt Murray has supplanted Marc-Andre Fleury as the No. 1 goalie in Pittsburgh after the latter sustained a concussion March 31. Fleury had a chance to grab his job back in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he allowed four goals on 25 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss. Murray turned 22 on May 25 and has 28 games of experience between the regular season and postseason on his resume, but he has shown the poise of a veteran and his teammates have full confidence in him.

 

Crosby will always be the first name mentioned when it comes to Pittsburgh’s offense, but the Penguins are loaded up front. The acquisition of Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer has paid dividends; Kessel enters the Final as Pittsburgh’s leading scorer this postseason with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in as many games. Monday, he’ll play his first game in the Final.

Kessel is part of what has been dubbed the “HBK Line,” consisting of left wing Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel. Bonino has 12 assists in 18 games, and Hagelin, one of the League’s fastest skaters, has five goals and seven assists.

 

 

Bryan Rust is going through the playoffs for the first time, but he sure doesn’t look rattled. Game 7 against Tampa Bay arguably was his best of the postseason; he scored each of Pittsburgh’s goals in a 2-1 win. Rust likely will skate with Malkin and Chris Kunitz, who has 10 points in 18 games.

 

It’s no secret Pittsburgh’s defense begins with Letang, who is one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL. Letang is averaging 28:46 of ice time in the playoffs and has two goals and eight assists in 17 games. But he had two points in the Eastern Conference Final, and the Penguins may need more from Letang on the score sheet against the Sharks if they hope to finish this off.

 

Letang’s main defense partner, Brian Dumoulin, who scored his second goal in 116 career NHL regular-season and playoff games in Game 5 against the Lightning, is steady defensively and plays more than 20 minutes per game.

 

San Jose Sharks:

Marleau and Thornton will dominate the early storylines in this series, but center Joe Pavelski was born for this time of year. Pavelski has 13 goals in 18 games this postseason, including four game-winners. The first-year captain’s leadership on and off ice undoubtedly is one of the biggest reasons San Jose has gotten over the hump and reached the Final.

 

 

Center Logan Couture and Thornton are first and second in the NHL in assists this postseason, with 16 and 15, respectively. Each is extremely creative and a weapon on the power play. Couture’s 24 points lead the NHL.

 

Right wing Joel Ward is doing everything Sharks general manager Doug Wilson hoped he would when he signed him as a free agent on July 3. Ward has brought grit to San Jose and has 11 points in 18 playoff games. He is very familiar with Pittsburgh going back to his days with the Washington Capitals, so Ward should know what to expect in this series.

 

Ward’s line is centered by Chris Tierney, a 21-year-old who had seven goals in 79 regular-season games and has five in the playoffs. Swedish left wing Melker Karlsson continues to be a solid third-line left wing who is responsible in each end.

 

Burns is the star of San Jose’s defense and is capable of getting on the score sheet every time he’s on the ice. He enters the Final as the Sharks’ third leading scorer with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and is averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time.

 

 

Burns isn’t the only elite player on San Jose’s back end. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been spectacular this postseason, shutting down the opposition’s top forwards one series after another. Vlasic blanketed the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, who had 13 points in his first 14 games this postseason in the Western Conference Final, helping to hold him off the score sheet until Game 6. Vlasic is paired with Justin Braun, who was plus-3 in Game 5 against St. Louis and played 22:23 in the series-clincher.

 

San Jose’s power play has improved since the regular season, when it was third in the League at 22.5 percent, and is ranked second in the NHL this postseason at 27.0 percent. If the Sharks can keep the puck in the Penguins’ zone and Thornton can continue to find players like Pavelski and Marleau in the slot, their chances of winning the Cup increase dramatically.

 

 


Quest for the Stanley Cup: The Final Four

Written by :
Published on : May 14, 2016

 

 

Then there were four. Only four bands of bearded warriors left in this epic quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup. In case you just woke up from a hundred year slumber, here is the situation. First, out of the West we have St Louis Blues battling the San Jose Sharks and out of the East we have the Tampa Bay Lightning clashing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winners of these series will meet for a chance at historic greatness. Let’s meet each team and get caught up as we speed toward the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

St Louis Blues

 

If the Blues do finally capture their first Stanley Cup, the opening chapter of that story is how they overcame the Blackhawks in the first round. That was a herculean feat. Seems like every solid Blues team in the past is always bounced out of the playoffs by Chicago, Detroit (before the conference shift) or whoever had the hot hand. Not this team. Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and Troy Brouwer are scoring. Plus goaltender, Brian Elliott, looked excellent against Dallas. St Louis will be singing at the end of the year, but it might not be the usual blues. Look out.

 

San Jose Sharks

 

I really don’t like these guys. They are loaded with firepower and seem to score goals at will. The tv tells me this is Joe Pavelski’s team now and it’s different. Maybe that’s true. But I still don’t like him, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton. Though, I do like Joe Thornton’s beard. This offense is scary. If you play them, you better play clean because you don’t want to give them an extra skater. Their power play is killer.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Those uniforms make them look very superhero-esque and they have been playing like it. GM Steve Yzerman has built a wicked team that is young and talented. Last season, the Lightning lost to the Blackhawks in the finals. Now they are looking to rebound and take that next step. If Tampa Bay does win its second Stanley Cup (first was 2004) it will be on the back of goalie Ben Bishop and the stick of Nikita Kucherov.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Pittsburgh is the only franchise of the four that has won a championship (2009) in the last decade, so they seem like the de facto favorites. It’s Crosby, Kessel, and Malkin doing work as usual. They only needed six games to get past a very complete Washington Capitals crew that looked primed for a deep playoff run. Tampa Bay will have their hands full. Sounds dumb, but stop sleeping on the Pittsburgh Penguins. I feel like most hockey fans outside of Pennsylvania aren’t ready to see Sid the Kid lift another Cup. Yuck.

 

So which crew will be drinking champagne out of Stanley’s Mug? It’s a tough call. I don’t want the Penguins to win again. I hate the Sharks. Tampa Bay has Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman running the team but they’ve knocked the Wings out of the playoffs the last two years and I don’t want a hockey trophy to live anywhere in Florida. So, by process of elimination, the St Louis Blues will hoist the Cup. It’s cosmic sports retribution for the Rams leaving (too soon?). The city loses a football team but gains a Stanley Cup to help cushion the blow. Makes sense to me.

 

 

Go Blues.

 

 


The Best Facial Hair in Sports

Written by :
Published on : May 6, 2016

 

I’ve been into sports my whole life. I’ve also had some sort of facial hair since I could grow it at 13. So this seems like a natural topic for me to cover. Get your old-timey mustache wax and your beard oil and let’s comb through the best the whiskers in pro sports.

 

Mustaches are a must

Many of the great coaches, players and fathers of the 70’s and 80’s rocked some excellent ‘staches. It was the fashion of the day. Think Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. or Burt Reynolds in every movie ever.

 

Mike Ditka:

Picture perfect. This classic dad look owned the sidelines of Chicago. You can draw cartoon Ditka by simply doing the mustache and sweater. Like a modern day Groucho Marx.

 

Lanny McDonald:

Lanny-McDonald

This guy means business. If this isn’t the soul of old time hockey then I don’t know what is. I bet he had to wash people’s blood off his mustache. That’s so metal.

 

Larry Bird:

larry-bird-mustache1

Thin, wispy and blonde. This is part creepy uncle and part teenage boy. What an awesome mashup. Bird didn’t always rock the lip hair but I will always remember him with it.

 

Joe Greene:

Maybe the nickname “Mean” came from how fierce his grooming was. Razor sharp style paired with that afro makes for a legendary look we are all in awe of.

 

Kirk Gibson:

The vintage porno mustache. Every young man tries to make this work at least once in their life. Gibson makes it look effortless. Plus those throwback Tigers unis are dope.

 

Great Goatees

The subtle stubble is all the rage for movie stars but a really solid goatee makes a bold statement. Baseball has really kept this movement alive. And for that, I’m grateful. The goatee is not for everyone but these fellas totally pull it off.

 

Mark McGwire:

I can’t even imagine his face without that goatee. He’d just be some round-cheeked goon. With the goatee, he is a home-run-hitting god.

 

Dr. J:

DrJ goatee

The doctor is in. Look at this silky smooth prince. The facial hair complements his head hair and ties it all together. Man, I wish I could grow a fro.

 

Jeff Bagwell:

Jeff Bagwell #5

Is that the guitar player from Pantera? Nope, but that dangler says “I like to party” and crush the baseballs. Just stare at it. It’s like two stalactites hanging from his chin. Wicked.

 

Barry Melrose:

Melrose

The Canadian wizard of hockey. Nice suit, very Don Cherry inspired. I always prefer Barry with something on his face to backup that epic mullet. One of the goatee G.O.A.T.

 

Beasts of the Beard

I love how hockey players grow out their beards for the playoffs. It’s one of my favorite traditions because it guarantees that the Stanley Cup Finals will be two squads full of fuzz and fur. It’s a super look and fits hockey like a glove.

 

DeAndre Levy:

Levy Beard

Almost full ZZ Top status. Levy is just as wild as his whiskers. On and off the field. Only makes sense that he sports the full “Sea Captain.” Ahoy!

 

James Harden:

james-harden beard

B-ball’s best beard. The NBA isn’t exactly known for its facial follicles but James uses his like a mohawk. A visual statement of rebellion. An easy choice for this list but totally deserving.

 

Brett Keisel:

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) on the sideline during  an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Does he even have a mouth? I don’t know a comb on earth that can navigate that forest. Kind of reminds me of the Game of Thrones character, Tormund Giantsbane. P.S. That’s a compliment.

 

Joe Thornton:

Joe Thornton

The crazy old man beard. Complete with the two-tone highlight. Bravo. This growth just screams “get off my lawn.” No joke, he wears it well, even if he does play for the Sharks.

 

Mike Napoli:

mike napoli

The kooky prospector look. “There’s gold in these mountains!” Very nice. Napoli switched teams and shaved. All of which seems like a bad move. I assume losing your beard causes organ failure. #growitback

 

 

Well that’s the short and curly of it. Hope this hairy experience encourages some of you to grow your own show-stopper. And as always, it’s not just about the size of the facial hair but the style and vibe. Be bold, do mutton chops or a civil war joint. But always be you.

 

Five o’clock shadow.

 

 


2015-16 NHL Season Preview: Pacific Division

Written by :
Published on : October 6, 2015

 

 

Hot damn, thanks for reading ScoreBoredSports 2015-16 NHL Season Preview: Pacific Division edition. What a nice ride it’s been, but things are bound to get shakier. The Pacific division is one of the NHL’s strongest, or maybe, one of the weakest. It might be sending six teams to the playoffs, or two. Very hard to tell with so much movement going on in San Jose and Calgary, a new era in Edmonton, and the ever-burning question of why in the name of great Satan there is a hockey team in Arizona. But luckily, you have good old Antoine to guide you. Sure, I may be a handsome genius who has a great record making NFL picks, but hockey will set us all free. Let’s get started with the Pacific.

 

Pacific NHL
Image by Roger Pretzel

 

Pacific Division:

  • Ducks 
  • Coyotes
  • Flames 
  • Oilers 
  • Kings
  • Sharks 
  • Canucks

 

Falling

Vancouver Canucks:

Twinsies!

 

Another year goes by in the prime of the Sedin twins’ career, and they continue to produce at high levels.  Last year, Henrik set them up, and Daniel knocked them down, with the help of high-efficiency winger Radim Vrbata.  The Canucks will have to rely on an aging leadership core of the Sedins, Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler (Edler is, in fact, only 29 but his output has diminished quite a bit since his heyday), and goaltender Ryan Miller.   There’s some good depth with forwards like Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins, as well as offseason acquisitions Brandon Sutter and Brandon Prust.  It’s all a bit underwhelming, though, and the Canucks will have to rely on the ongoing development of Bo Horvat for that extra spark.  Yet there’s enough chemistry between the Sedin twins and Vrbata, a traditionally excellent player in possession, that they have a realistic shot of putting together solid offensive numbers with that supporting cast.  I see them coming into the playoffs at a lower seed than last year.  I remain cautious, however, about any team that pins its hopes on Ryan Miller to make a playoff run, when he’s really never been effective in the playoffs.  After the debacle with the Blues two seasons ago, and last season’s surprising upset at the hands of the Flames, I’m not any more confident in Miller’s resumé.

 

Falling OR RISING

Calgary Flames:

Flame on!

 

I want to feel really confident that this is a team destined for regression, that their run to the second round of the playoffs was a sign of things to come rather than a result of statistically anomalous excellence. They had the third-highest PDO number in the NHL last season, which is a red flag; they were poor in possession, with the fifth-worst team Corsi For percentage, and had the second-highest Team Shooting Percentage in the league. Jonas Hiller has had an up-and-down career, and the flames goaltending situation is tenuous past him, with Karri Ramo never really stepping out and distinguishing himself. All that said, I can’t help but take notice that they sustained much of their winning play last year without their best player and one of the best defenseman in the NHL, Mark Giordano. They have a deep defensive corps with the newly-signed Dougie Hamilton boosting their potential for developing into the NHL’s most elite defensive unit.  The flames relied heavily on their defense for offensive production, with players like TJ Brodie, Dennis Wideman, and Kris Russell each scoring on a regular basis, and Hamilton should comfortably join those ranks. I recognize that Johnny Gadreau may be in for a sophomore slump;  is it possible Johnny Hockey takes a leap instead of step backward? If his shooting percentage is any hint, the answer to that question will be “probably not”; at 14.4%, his shooting percentage was about 5% above the league average.  Here’s the thing: that slump just didn’t happen to Sean Monahan, the Flames’ top center, who nearly doubled the output from his rookie campaign with a strong, 31-goal season.  Perhaps they’ve found the right recipe for development in Calgary.  Or perhaps they found some good luck and took it to the second round of the playoffs. Or, moments before suiting up on opening night, the Flames players might all decide to abandon the game of hockey, and instead explore their masculinity together in a remote cabin in Manitoba for the next two years. Only the snow knows the answers.

 

Rising OR FALLING

San Jose Sharks:

Jawsome!

 

The second of two inscrutable teams in this division, the San Jose Sharks, are just as replete with uncertainty. Most pressing question: is new hire Peter Deboer even a good coach? He’s 217-200 in his career, and missed the playoffs in 6 out of 7 of his seasons at the helm of an NHL team in Florida, then New Jersey. The only time he made the playoffs, he took New Jersey on an improbable run to the finals, and lost. The second giant question mark is in net: is newcomer Martin Jones a starting NHL goalie? Some might become alarmed at the fact that Martin Jones’ career numbers may be buoyed by some artificial inflation, as he faced the fewest shots per 60 minutes in the league last year. Then again, the Sharks have a veteran defense with Brent Burns and Paul Martin, a shrewd summer signing, that may be able to aptly shield Jones and keep those shots on goal around 25 a game.

 

The third and final question is, perhaps, the funniest one: who is the Sharks’ captain? For those who don’t know, there’s been a years-long, buffoonish shadow-war being fought “behind the scenes” (yet, somehow, quite publicly) in San Jose between General Manager Doug Wilson and former Captain and All-Star, Joe Thornton. Essentially, Wilson implied (to the media) that Thornton couldn’t handle being in a leadership role, then went a whole year without naming a captain after demoting Thornton; old Joe finally told him (through the media) to shut his mouth and that he didn’t know what he was talking about. They still don’t have a captain.  In and of itself, that’s not so uncommon, but the way this has unfolded has just had a touch of Théâtre de l’Absurde.  It’s like if you had one of those scenes in a crime drama where the police captain tells the rogue detective, “turn in your badge and gun. You’re done in this department.” Then the detective complies, only he remains seated in the captain’s office for the next year, just staring, and that’s the rest of the movie.  At least the Sharks also picked up Joel Ward over the summer, who is a canny playoff scorer that can provide some physicality and timely finishing. Who knows with this team. 82-0.

 

Rising

Edmonton Oilers:

Cam Talbot doing work.

 

Easy enough, but drafting a generational talent like Connor McDavid with a first-overall pick will usually cause a team to rise. Combine that with new front-office blood in former Cup-winning architect of the Bruins, Peter Chiarelli, and new coach Todd Mclellan, and I see this team coalescing into a much more competent unit. On offense, it’s pretty straight-forward. They have tons of marquee talent after spending the last decade taking lottery picks in the draft, including last year’s 3rd overall pick, Center Leo Draisaitl. Now is the time for some of the stragglers among those picks to truly step up and become relevant players. This means Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will have to find that next level of consistency, and Nail Yakupov will have to take advantage of having the coolest first name in hockey. Question marks are, of course, all over this team, which has had one of the shakiest defenses in the NHL over the past few seasons. Edmonton’s faithful are hoping that Cam Talbot is the new answer in net after acquitting himself with high efficacy during his run filling in for Henrik Lundqvist in New York last year. If highly-touted pick Darnell Nurse can slot into the lineup as a reliable top-six defender, and summer signee Andrej Sekera provides consistency, their defense will hopefully take a step up. They have solid veterans in Mark Fayne and Andrew Ference, but have lacked defensemen with two-way effectiveness. With so many questions to ask, the key one remains: will the Oilers somehow find another way to screw this up? I don’t think that’s in this team’s future.  I see them contending for a playoff spot but coming up short in a respectable season that may just be a precursor to much bigger things.

 

Los Angeles Kings:

Hail to the king.

 

It’s hard to imagine a squad this laden with Stanley Cup-winning talent will remain outside of the playoff picture another year.  Belying their narrow miss, the Kings boasted the second-best Corsi For percentage in the NHL last year, but suffered from pretty bad puck luck with a PDO in the bottom 10 in the league.  The Kings used the off-season to jettison controversy in the form of Slava Voynov and Mike Richards, and hopefully the cloud won’t be hanging over that team’s head for much longer.  Questions remain on the contract of Anze Kopitar, but I’m not especially worried about that.  I bet they just want to see him work hard in a contract year after an uneven campaign last year, with his production taking a dip, scoring only 16 goals and 64 points, his fewest in a non-injured season since he was a rookie.  The Kings re-loaded with some interesting pieces in Milan Lucic, a cup winner himself in Boston, and Christian Erhoff.  Erhoff didn’t have a particularly productive campaign last year with the Penguins, but he’s looked sharp in the pre-season and seems to be able to fill a need for a second power-play unit anchor and a skilled third-pairing defender.  I’d also look for increased production from Tyler Toffoli, who looked commanding and lost at different times last year.  But with their top lines looking to be set, there’s some scary potential if Anze Kopitar can get back on track, and Marian Gaborik can stay healthy.  If it breaks right, they are a true dark-horse contender for a run to the Cup; until we see how the new pieces jell, it’s safe to say the Kings will be dangerous foes in the playoff race.

 

Contenders

Anaheim Ducks:

Quack, quack, quack!

 

Loaded roster.  High-caliber leaders that are willing to go the extra mile (and by “the extra mile,” obviously, we’re referring to heinous acts of goonery).  Middle-of-the-road team possession and PDO numbers, indicating there will be no obviously-indicated regression.  New assistant coaches with experience and talent.  That’s just a recipe for success.  However, there was also a lot of turnover, losing key players like François Beauchemin and Matt Beleskey.  Luckily key replacements are there to slot into the lineup, like Kevin Bieksa, who offers the same kind of stalwart leadership, grit, and timely offensive play as Beauchemin. Newcomers like former Michigan Wolverine Carl Hagelin and former Northern Michigan Wildcat Mike Santorelli offer potentially new and exciting looks as the team made a point to incorporate a ton of speed in the off-season.  Even in spite of such a roster shakeup, the core remains intact in proven Cup-winners Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.  The goaltending situation seems to have settled with Fredrik Andersen taking the reigns and performing with enough confidence that young John Gibson will have time to develop his craft before taking over permanently.  Anton Khudobin provides an interesting safety net in the meantime should Fredrik Andersen falter, though Andersen was a steady performer last year.  They’ll need to figure out who will play on Perry’s opposite wing, but there are lots of options.  My bet is that Hagelin stands out and benefits from a supply of well-timed breakout passes from Getzlaf, streaking his way to a 30-goal year.  Theoretically, the last major hurdle was Chicago, a team significantly weakened by controversy and attrition, who would now have a tough time competing over 7 games with this Ducks team.  Pit them against any other team in the West, and I see them breaking through.  Without obvious weaknesses, and power and speed aplenty, I believe this Ducks team will get to the Stanley Cup Final, but ultimately won’t hoist the hardware after a competitive series.

 

Other Thoughts: 

  • Arizona Coyotes… give me a break.   Instead, here’s a snapshot of my screenplay “the Redemption of Quack City,” a sort of NHL fan-fic if you will.  Notes are welcome but PLEASE BE GENTLE.

INT. Day: Rinkside, Anaheim Ducks Practice Facility.

A hulking RYAN GETZLAF waddles on his skates, trying to get to the ice (Think: Taylor Kitsch / Josh Hartnett / an Unknown could work).  He looks up and sees that COREY PERRY (think JASON STATHAM) is in his way, but not wearing his PENDANT.  GETZLAF shoots  him a strong glance, but PERRY is focused on trying to get the door to the rink open with his gloves on.  GETZLAF approaches PERRY and confronts him by GRABBING HIS ARM.

Perry: 
Bro, Wha Fuck?

Getzlaf:
WHY YOU NO WEAR SHITHEAD PENDANT.  SHITHEAD PENDANT MAKE STRONG AND MAKE ENEMY WEAK.

Perry: 
OH I NO… I … fuck, I can’t do this, Ryan.  I’m a peaceful man. I can’t be taking cheap shots and making all these opportunistic, borderline hits.  I’m not that guy.

Getzlaf: 
BUT… NO… NO SHITHEAD?

Perry: 
No… let’s just try to win by playing hockey.

GETZLAF falls to knees and weeps. 

Getzlaf (screaming to heavens):
LAST SHITHEAD! NOOOOOOO!!!!!

[cut to black].

 

Stay tuned for the conclusion of ScoreBoredSports.com’s 2015-16 NHL Season Preview, coming soon on this very tube!  

 

 


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