Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Laying the Non-Playoff NHL Teams to Rest.
Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when 16 NHL teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And that time of year when the 14 teams that didn’t make wonder what might have been. For all 14 teams that didn’t make the cut, it’s time to properly eulogize them, because really for some of these clubs, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have made the cut in the first place. In other words…R.I.P., and see y’all next year.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
After the years of mismanagement at the hands of Darryl Sutter, it’s a wonder this team even got as close as they did to making the big dance. Because of this, we lay the Flames to rest, as well as the hopes that they’re two bright shining stars in franchise captain Jarome Iginla and star goalie Miikka Kiprusoff will retire wearing the flaming C on their sweaters. They’ll be gone in order to hasten a true rebuilding effort, which is what this club has so desperately needed for so very long. In the end, it’ll be bittersweet, but the chance to see both stars have a chance at actually winning something with different teams is of no one’s fault but Flames management.
After doing so well in the beginning of the season, the Stars just couldn’t stay consistent when it mattered most. As a result, we now lay the Stars to rest because in the end they just couldn’t muster up the testicular fortitude to win when it counted. True, they were much better than many had predicted they would be after star center Brad Richards spurned them for the bright lights of New York, but if it’s one phrase that should be etched on the Stars’ tombstone, it should read “too little, too fucking late”.
Two seasons ago, the Avs overachieved with a young team. Last year, they imploded and were beyond horrible. This year, the Avs were a better group, but like the Stars, they couldn’t win when it mattered most. We lay my beloved Avalanche to rest thanks to lackluster coaching, and a general managed in Greg Sherman that obviously doesn’t know how to truly make a team better. You don’t make a team better by barely spending to the cap, you don’t make a team better by trading your first round draft picks for an overrated and oft-injured goaltender (Semyon Varlamov), and you certainly don’t make your team better by signing spare parts players to fill top-six roles (Chuck Kobasew anyone?). Those days of Sakic, Forsberg, and Roy seem so, so long ago…
Believe it or not, there was a time this season when the Wild were the best team in the league. Yeah…that didn’t last all that long. When you can’t score but you play great defense, you can win games. But when your one key player (Mikko Koivu) gets hurt for a substantial period of time and your defense turns to shit overnight, you don’t win games anymore. In fact, you lose quite a few of them. The Wild were so pathetic down the stretch that it boggles the mind how with all the moves this team made in the off-season, they still wound up being just as lackluster as many predicted they would be. So we lay the Wild to rest, but just like the style they play, the event is so boring that everyone falls asleep during the ceremony.
Holy. Mother. Of. God. What happened to the Ducks? They stumble out of the gate just playing absolutely horrible, shit-can their coach, and hire the recently shit-canned Washington Capitals coach Bruce Beaudreau to work the same kind of magic with this team that he did when he first came on with the Caps. Yeah…how’d that work out again? With all that, we now lay these Ducks to rest, but at least there is some promise that this team can be competitive again in the near future. Whether that future includes future Hall-of-Famer and Duck for life Teemu Selanne remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, it’s sad to see Teemu go out anywhere less than being on top.
Another year in the basement, another draft lottery pick. Granted this is how many assumed the Oilers would do anyway, so it isn’t like it’s a colossal disappointment. Rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins proved he’s the real deal in an injury-shortened debut campaign, while second year pro Jordan Eberle had a star-making season. That, and Captain Canada himself Ryan Smyth made a welcome return to his beloved Oilers, which provided both wonderful nostalgia and a woeful reminder that the man is getting a little too long in the tooth for all this shit. So we lay these Oilers to rest (again) but the flame burning for the future has never looked brighter for this franchise…ya know, as long as they start drafting some blue-chip defensemen this time around instead of more fucking forwards.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Ah yes, the asshole of the Western Conference, and the NHL as a whole. The Jackets were so damn bad that they ran their big off-season acquisition Jeff Carter out of town, and even managed to make franchise cornerstone Rick Nash want to finally pack his bags and get the fuck out of dodge. Not that I blame Nash, the guy generally wants to win, and he finally realizes that he sure as shit ain’t gonna do that in fucking Columbus. The most mismanaged team in the NHL for the last decade; the Jackets are going to go nowhere fast. They can try rebuilding the roster (again and again) all they want, but it won’t do any good. As we lay these Blue Jackets to rest again, let us take the time to consider laying them to rest for good. Winnipeg finally got an NHL team back, and there are more deserving cities that want and need an NHL team. Whether it be Quebec, Hamilton, or even Kansas fucking City, Columbus is the asshole of the NHL, and nothing but shit has spewed from it since the team first broke into the league.
THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
Big things appeared to be on the horizon for the Sabres entering this season. They got a mega-rich owner, acquired some high profile players, and appeared poised to do some serious damage in the NHL. Alas, nothing went well for the team from the opening puck drop. The Sabres fell apart from the beginning, and though the team heated up down the stretch, it was another case of too little, too fucking late as they just narrowly missed getting in the playoffs. So we lay these Sabres to rest, but thankfully they’ll have the financial backing for a grand Viking funeral. A grand Viking funeral that costs a lot of cash and just leaves you wanting more…ya know, just like the fucking team.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Another team that it was thought big things were on the horizon for, the Lightning fell apart as well, but this was mostly thanks to the abysmal goaltending from 40-some year old Dwayne Roloson. I always called GM and legendary Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman a genius in progress, but this time around he really screwed the pooch. At least he has the cupboard stacked with prospects and draft picks though, so the future doesn’t appear so bleak. And oh yeah, some guy named Steven Stamkos scored 60 goals this year too. So, we lay the Lightning to rest, but like the Oilers, the future looks pretty damn bright.
The team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers stayed in the thick of the playoff race for a while, but faded when things really counted. Still, even though we’re laying these resurrected Jets to rest now, the fact that the Jets even exist again is reason enough to celebrate. And goddamnit, the sound of those home crowds. Just watch any clips of Jets games this year, and I guarantee that you will not hear a building erupting like that anywhere else in the NHL. Not in Pittsburgh, not in New York, not even the hockey Mecca’s of Toronto and Montreal. Winnipeg is back, and even though they missed out on the post-season, having them back is a truly wonderful thing.
Getting off to the hilariously disastrous start of the season, the ‘Canes got a new coach, but kept the same schmucks on their roster. They managed to appear to turn the corner eventually, and the ‘Canes brass believes that this season was only an aberration and that they are much better than they seemed to be. Yeah, about that… Let’s face facts, the ‘Canes suck. They’ve made the playoffs twice since the lockout. Yeah they won a Cup in the first post-lockout year, but that was the true aberration. In fact, a lot of things that happened that season could be seen as aberrations…such as the magical run of the Oilers, Scott Gomez scoring 30 goals, and Peter Forsberg playing for the Flyers. Anyway, we lay the Hurricanes to rest, and there’s reason to believe they’ll be stinking up their grave for some time to come.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
For a good chunk of the season, the Leafs appeared poised to finally make their ravenous fans happy and get in the playoffs. Then, shit just went fucking nuts. They catastrophically fell apart after the All-Star break, shit-canned their coach, and just kept on losing and losing and losing. So, again, we lay the Leafs to rest. And we might as well not even bother covering the casket in dirt either. After all, it ain’t like this team is fucking going anywhere any time soon.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Every time we think the Isles are actually going to make some big time progress and not suck, they come back and surprise with just how much they do suck. They have an offensive stud in franchise center John Tavares, and for all the good moves that GM Garth Snow does make, his nigh-retarded owner/boss Charles Wang just keeps sticking his dick in the ass of the franchise again and again. Somebody please, buy this once proud franchise to bring it back to its former glory. With all that being said, we again lay the Islanders to rest, in the hopes that someone will come along and bring them back from the dead…eventually.
Does it make me a bad hockey fan because I oh so love when the Habs do horribly? Talk to any Canadiens fan, and they’ll beat your head in with all the shit about winning 20-some Cups in their storied history. And that’s just what they have, history. They haven’t won the Cup since 1993 and their management situation is in utter disarray. Combine that with a cavalcade of bad contracts and a fan base that is practically insane, and there you are. So now, we lay the Canadiens to rest, and I implore you all to do what you can to refrain from pissing and shitting all over the grave. On second thought…na, fuck it, go ahead.
ENJOY THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!