The Good ... and the Not So Much

THN's Rory Boylen wrote down a list of teams he can't wait to see this season. They included Chicago, Detroit, LA and Tampa. I agree with him on Chicago, but 1) we know Detroit is going to be good again; 2) LA will probably continue to suck; 3) Tampa is going to continue being weird and sign 2.5 guys every week.

So here are my picks for teams I'm interested to see:

1) Chicago - The winds are changing in the Windy City (no pun originally intended, but then I noticed it and amusingly decided to keep it). The kids (Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Barker) are growing up. A new goalie is in town. And Brian Campbell can do no harm. They're sort of like the Barack Obama of the NHL right now: everyone's excited about them, but they're still young and might not pull it off.

2) Phoenix Coyotes - They'll be far from spectacular, but I think we're going to see some big improvements in Phoenix. Gretzky nabbed a big timer when he signed Olli Jokinen. Kyle Turris and Pete Mueller will continue to develop. At the least, Danny Carcillo (a personal fave) and Brian McGrattan will keep things entertaining. While I'm not sure the Coyotes will make the playoffs, they'll be interesting to watch.

3) Washington Capitals - Ovechkin!!!!! Oh, and some other guys like Niklas Backstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Jose Theodore. The Caps are also coming off a big playoff run. Sure, it was only one round, but that was a step for the DC organization who hadn't seen post-season action since '03. It just carried a good feeling with it. They're a fun team to watch. I got to see Bruce Boudreau coach in Hershey for a while, and he's great at what he does.

And here are three teams I could care less to see:

1) Atlanta Thrashers - I don't hate the Thrashers. They almost reached the post-season last year until Hossa was traded off to almost win a cup. Barring some big signings and trades, I don't see ATL being too successful in the near future. They certainly haven't been developing guys like they should. I watched the Chicago Wolves play in the Calder Cup Finals, and they were a very talented team, but that was because of guys like Darren Haydar, Brett Sterling, Joel Kwiatkowski and Jason Krog -- all of which cannot crack the Atlanta roster for some CRAZY reason. They have Boris Valabik and Arturs Kulda developing down there for them, but I'm not sure either are ready for a full time spot in the show. Their strongest asset is going to be goaltending. They secured Lehtonen, and Ondrej Pavalec is going to be phenomenal someday. In the meantime, see ya later Thrashers.

2) New York Rangers - Wow, so New York signed two big name guys in Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev to go along with their other big name guys like Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Henrik Lundqvist and possibly Brendan Shanahan if Glen Sather ever decides to make up his mind. Same old story. We know what they're going to bring to the table: a good hockey club. And just like another fellow New York team who loads up on all-stars (starts with a 'Y' and ends in 'kees') they'll probably choke again in the playoffs. Yawn.

3) Edmonton Oilers - Come onnnnn Edmonton. You've got so much potential in guys like Dustin Penner, Robert Nilsson, JF Jacques, Marc Pouliot, Sam Gagner, Tom Gilbert ... I could list about 80% of the team. You've got Sheldon Souray and Dwayne Roloson. You gotta do something with this! Unfortunately, I don't know that they will. Make it work Craig. Until then I'll be here not paying attention to your team.



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