In honour of American Thanksgiving (and Canadian Thanksgiving, which happened last month before I started this blog), Fuhr and Loathing has found something for each NHL team to be thankful for.
Anaheim Ducks – Mandatory helmets mean that nobody has to look at Ryan Getzlaf’s bald spot for longer than is absolutely necessary.
Atlanta Thrashers – Dealing Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey is turning out to have been pretty good revenge for his refusal to sign a contract extension.
Boston Bruins – Marc Savard will be back from his concussion soon. Unfortunately, due to the salary cap, Bruins management will be making sure he has a relapse. With a lead pipe.
Buffalo Sabres – It’s almost impossible, statistically, for the Sabres to be the worst sports team in Buffalo.
Calgary Flames - They’re still the best team in Alberta.
Carolina Hurricanes – Brandon Sutter’s scoring punch should be nicely complemented by Brett Sutter’s drunken punching.
Chicago Blackhawks – Marty Turco and Corey Crawford are a far-more broadcaster-friendly goaltending tandem than Antti Niemi and Cristobal Huet. And about $6 million cheaper. Which is good, since Marian Hossa needs that money to build a castle out of solid gold and woolly mammoth ivory.
Colorado Avalanche – Management may have thought they were hiring Joe Sakic, but this Sacco guy seems to be doing just fine. He’d really like the organization to start spelling his name right so he can cash the cheques, though.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Whatever dirt they found on Rick Nash to convince him to sign a contract extension worked so brilliantly that they currently have a team of Photoshop experts working ’round the clock with Sidney Crosby’s family photo albums.
Dallas Stars – Once a new ownership is in place, the players will be able to be paid in dollars again, instead of the current “gold star stickers from Joe Nieuwendyk” system.
Detroit Red Wings – Niklas Lidstrom is a cyborg from the future sent to make all the other NHL defencemen feel inadequate.
Edmonton Oilers – Edmonton can’t get any less attractive to free agents, so Tom Renney murdering players for failing to do crazy things like “try hard and be competent” won’t be that much of a setback.
Florida Panthers – Players will be free to enjoy Florida’s beautiful sunshine in April, and entering the record books for failing to make the playoffs for a tenth consecutive year will ensure that NHL historians ten years from now remember that Florida used to have a hockey franchise.
Los Angeles Kings – New strategy of only employing goaltenders named Jonathan means Terry Murray can finally remember his netminders’ names and stop referring to them as “you over there by the boards.”
Minnesota Wild – In their second season without Jacques Lemaire, the Wild have finally figured out that they’re allowed to leave the neutral zone.
Montreal Canadiens – Carey Price elevated his play just in time to avoid having his face literally melted off by the power of the Bell Centre fans’ booing.
Nashville Predators – Shrewd management and scouting have kept the Predators competitive for years on a shoestring budget, creating a team that would be immensely popular if Tennesseans were aware of their existence.
New Jersey Devils – There are only fourteen years left until the Devils can afford to ice a full roster again.
New York Islanders – The shards from Rick DiPietro’s constantly shattering bones have yet to injure any innocent bystanders.
New York Rangers – Glen Sather’s continued employment provides GMs around the league with hope that they too can remain employed despite not demonstrating any measurable amount of competence.
Ottawa Senators – Lack of recent postseason success means that Chris Phillips hasn’t scored on his own net in a meaningful game in quite a while.
Philadelphia Flyers – Sergei Bobrovsky has shone in goal, earning himself the nickname “goalie Bob” from sportscasters who apparently can’t figure out how to say “Bobrovsky.”
Phoenix Coyotes – Only eight people attend their home games, but at least they don’t have to spend the winter in Winnipeg.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Advances in cloning technology mean that it’s only a few more years until the Penguins are able to ice a team composed entirely of Sidney Crosby. Which is kind of like now, except that they won’t have to pay a bunch of other guys to fill out roster spots.
San Jose Sharks – This season? The Sharks are still crowing about how they managed to trade Vesa Toskala before everyone else realized that he was actually a cardboard cutout of a goaltender.
St. Louis Blues – Their only game against the Canadiens is in St. Louis, significantly reducing the risk of insane Habs fans in Jaroslav Halak jerseys rioting in the streets and flipping flaming cars. Well, at least in the presence of Blues players.
Tampa Bay Lightning – I hear they’ve got some kid named Stamkos who’s apparently a pretty big deal.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Nobody in the ACC is actually watching the Leafs play anyway, so their ticket sales won’t be negatively affected by their play.
Vancouver Canucks – Are in great shape for a deep playoff run as long as they don’t play the Chicago Blackhawks. On the plus side, they won’t have to worry about Roberto Luongo’s long-term contract if they do face the ‘Hawks, as a third-straight meltdown will likely cause his head to explode.
Washington Capitals – Alexander Semin will be making an obscene amount of money to not produce in the playoffs for somebody else next year.