Led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks could break into the playoffs this season. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Questions I’m frequently asked as editor-in-chief of The Hockey News (with the answers I wish I could furnish, but am too polite to utter, in parentheses) include:
1. Can you get me tickets to a Maple Leafs game? (Sure, I’ll just grab a pair from the enormous stash I keep under my desk, which sits alongside the game-winning puck from the Summit Series and Michael Ryder’s hands.)
2. Who’s gonna win the Stanley Cup this year? (Cleveland.)
3. What in the world do you guys at THN do all summer with no hockey being played? (We dream up ways to sarcastically answer this question.)
But seriously, the off-season is something of a misnomer for our staff. Once the playoffs are done, we have: NHL awards, the NHL entry draft and the start of free agency to cover; our Yearbook and Pool Guide, plus two full-length books to publish and get translated into French; planning and budgeting for the ensuing season; vacation time to finally use; and, now, blogs to write.
Speaking of which, here’s an abbreviated one I wrote before I bolted for my annual spiritual and healing retreat (I wonder if anyone has noticed I’ve already used up 200 words on idle, meaningless rambling?)
Seinfeld had the Summer of George. I’m predicting 2008-09 will be the Winter of Some Original Six Team. Theoretically, I’m not supposed to cheer, but deep down I’ll have a soft spot this season for these three golden oldie franchises:
Chicago: They’re finally emerging from the abyss with a bright, young team, augmented by the free agent signings of Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet. Their season-ticket base has multiplied by a reported 300 percent, they’re hosting what promises to be a special outdoor game at Wrigley Field, they’re back on local TV and it’s safe to be a Hawks fan again. It would be a terrific story for the league if Chicago can actually execute on the ice.
Montreal: The Habs are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, they’re holding the All-Star Game and the entry draft at Bell Centre and the club is a bona fide contender in the East. It’d be sweet to see the NHL’s most storied franchise reach the peak again.
Detroit: On paper, the Wings are the team to beat. They’ve lost virtually nothing from the Cup-winning lineup; rather they’ve enhanced it with Marian Hossa. And they’re the closest thing the NHL has to the New England Patriots – minus the cheating. Isn’t it about time we had another dynasty and the buzz that surrounds it? Heck, consecutive Cups may even convince Motowners the club is for real and actually entice them to buy tickets.
Jason Kay is the editor in chief of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears every weekend.
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