As a child, hockey season started the moment I could feel the cool air. Outdoor rinks ruled the earth during this period, although technology was finding its way into the grand game’s day to day activities.
My father was a frugal man, and grew tired of having to buy new sticks for his boys. CCM (I think it was CCM) invented a plastic blade that was supposed to last an entire hockey season. Just cut down the old broken stick, slide the blade on, apply some heat, make sure it was snug and pass it to your son with a stern lecture about losing it or breaking it in any way.
Well, the cold killed those replacement blades quicker than you can say Jack Frost. A nice tape to tape pass on a Saturday morning snapped the blade on my stick like a twig. I remember telling my Dad, worrying about what he would do to the 12-year old who broke the blade first time out. He took it pretty well, and started talking to me about a new idea: a job.
I miss that guy.
What a crazy summer for hockey fans in Alberta. To the north, Edmonton is so bad they’re rewarded with the number one overall pick along with the usual “a superstar doesn’t want to play here” with an added twist (the guy was on the team at the time). To the south, the Sutters brought in a bunch of players they knew (including the return of Jar Jar Binks) in an effort to jump start the offense.
I think the Flames will make the second season, but they’ll once again rely on their goalie plus Iginla to get the job done. The Oilers? Small victories, folks.
The opening night roster appears to be set (this isn’t the official list, just what has been reported from practice):
Not listed are the two goalies (DD, JDD) and Ryan Jones (I assume MacIntyre will dress) along with Jason Strudwick.
Gone from last season’s opening night roster are: JF Jacques (IR), Mike Comrie, Patrick O’Sullivan, Ryan Stone, Ethan Moreau, Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios, Denis Grebeshkov, Lubomir Visnovsky. New to the list (if this is in fact the opening night roster): Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Pääjärvi, Colin Fraser, Steve MacIntyre, Ryan Whitney, Kurtis Foster, Jim Vandermeer, Theo Peckham. Lots of changes.
One final thing: Flames are more experienced at every position, their management team is in peril and they’re going to be in a life-and-death race for the playoffs all year long. The Oilers are the department of youth. Getting wound up over a loss will mean ulcers by Christmas.