You may have forgotten it all, so I thought I would try and remind you what the rest of the division got up to before we all went into hibernation. Just a quick primer.
Scum – You may vaguely recall that Nicklas Lidstrom retired after last year. While this will cause a lot of gushing during every Wings game this year and a lot of whining about how much they miss him, none of that will come from Wings fans in the know (so that’s Graham and JJ from Winging It). Because as Hawks fans who got awfully familiar with the sight of Hossa and Toews torching him to the outside last season, Lids was a mere shell of the legend that we remember.
However, after a big push for Ryan Suter to replace him came up empty, the Wings are staring at a gaping hole on the blue line. They hilariously signed Carl Colaiacovo to do….something. Brendan Smith will be up full-time, whatever that does for you. And Kyle Quincey will be around for the full season. So….yeah, attack this.
But oh, will they whine about the travel in this shortened season. Lord how they will whine.
Up front Scum apparently didn’t think Todd Bertuzzi was filling the annoying-yet-useless role enough, so they went and signed Jordin Tootoo. Who’s excited for the first, pointless Carcillo-Tootoo fight? That’s if Tootoo fights anymore, which he hasn’t really.
This will be the 17th consecutive year we hear about Gustav Nyquist and Tartar finally coming to carry the torch. Heard it all before. Holmstrom retired, Samuelsson plays like he did, and Franzen will continue to pour in the goals against Columbus before vanishing when it matters. Yeah, the empire certainly looks like it’s about to crumble.
Scum Jr. – This year, “St. Louis” should rhyme with “regression.” There’s no way they’re going to get the same level from Elliot and Halak that they did last year, though having two goalies who can play in this compressed schedule is going to be an advantage. The only boost to their blue line so far has been the return of Barrett Jackman, which is akin to trying to put an addition on your house by introducing termites. Except the termites would have a higher IQ. There are a couple kids to watch for in Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, both will likely get a look. Ty Rattie is an outside shot. Whatever.
Nashville – You do remember them losing Ryan Suter and keeping Shea Weber against his will. They’ll try and fill that with Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, both of whom will be better than we think. They’ll also have Hal Gill and Scott Hannan, who’ll be worse. They haven’t added a forward that matters, but that doesn’t matter either, because they’ll just find a way and it’ll be annoying. They punted their backup, and now will attempt to fill that role with Chris Mason again. Same as it ever was.
Columbus – Yes, they still exist. They punted overrated and over-babied Rick Nash for Brandon Dubinsky (who we’d kill to have in an Indian Head) and Artem Anisimov — who apparently is likely to live down the hall from The Ombudsman and hence will have to deal with that fucker pretending to shoot him every time he heads to the arena. They’re first pairing is James Wisniewski and Jack Johnson, which could solve the gas prices problem for the entire state of Ohio. They’ll be letting in odd-man rushes and breakaways for Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason to stare blankly at. Seth Jones, here come the Jackets!