Drop the puck. Raise the banner. Let’s get this show on the road.
The start of the NHL season in North America officially ends the speculation and straw-grasping that marks off-season hockey chatter.
Go take a flying leap free agents. Good-bye forever summer of Sundin. Pack your bags, predictions; it’s time for results.
OK, maybe I’ve got one more round of prognosticating in me before the curtain goes all the way up on this season.
But forget about distant playoff pictures or Cup calls. Here’s a timeline (in Eastern Daylight Time) for tonight’s action, which includes four games that actually count in the standings.
7 p.m. The Red Wings raise their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters in Joe Louis Arena. Then, before the puck drops, the band strikes back up and the Wings elevate another banner that says ‘2009 Stanley Cup Champions.’
Commissioner Gary Bettman comes screaming down the red carpet, waiving his hands frantically and exclaims: “No, No! We’re still going to go through with the season!”
7:18 p.m. Chris Osgood lets in a goal half the league’s goalies would have saved. Questions about his ability to lead a team to a championship start immediately.
9:17 p.m. With Detroit having stormed back to nab a 2-1 lead, Leafs coach Ron Wilson calls a timeout in the game’s dying moments. He gathers his troops around the bench and says, “Listen, has anyone here at least played with a top-six forward? If so, get out there.”
10:23 p.m. With the visiting Boston Bruins having already beaten Andrew Raycroft and Peter Budaj on softies, Colorado coach Tony Granato decides to get creative. During the first intermission he goes into the Pepsi Center basement where the Avs keep their old merchandise. He digs up the biggest Patrick Roy poster he can find and tapes it to the crossbar to start the second period.
12:07 a.m. As the Ducks come out for the third period in San Jose, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer are nowhere to be found. When asked about their absence after the game, they both state that if they’re expected to play the entire season, it’s unrealistic to think they’re going to play all three periods of every game.
12:42 a.m. Upon losing a 1-0 shootout game to Calgary in which his team had only 14 shots, Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo goes berserk. He threatens to leave the team if management doesn’t grant his request to be traded to the 1984 Edmonton Oilers. A furious Alain Vigneault decides to strip Luongo of the ‘C,’ except there’s no ‘C’ to strip. Bent on retribution, Vigneault sneaks into his goalie’s equipment bag, takes out a big black Sharpie and draws a giant X through the ‘C’ on Luongo’s mask.
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every Wednesday.
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