Cautious optimism is starting to return to the NHL. While Bettman’s latest offering wasn’t an easy sell for the players, the foundations of an agreement could be forthcoming. So, let’s say for the sake of argument that Fehr and the NHLPA come up with something close as their next offer and the two sides can agree in theory to a working CBA. We could actually have a season start on time. Wouldn’t that be nice. So, I’m looking at the package deals and if I time it just right, don’t burn the house down and eat ramen like I used to in college, I could actually make this work.
Here are the 2012 home games I most want to see:
1.) Montreal Canadiens, October 18
The rivalry. The history and tradition. The calling of the Olympic judges to test the diving skills of PK Subban. The possibility of a rematch between the ‘Little Ball of Hate’ and the aforementioned Subban. Boston feels like a team that’s in the first tier and has no intention of leaving it. The Habs remind me of one of those old families that used to have a great deal of power and influence, but after a few years of neglect have been removed from all the trappings of power. A hungry(possibly desperate) Montreal team could make foe one interesting confrontation on the ice.
2.) Dallas Stars, October 20,
I lived in Dallas for nearly a decade. The first people in my life that tried to get me into hockey offered me the Dallas Stars. Now the Dallas team looks like they’ve lost a little bit of their thunder with Ott heading to Buffalo, but (in my opinion) it doesn’t look like it will be a cake walk for the B’s. We’ll see Tuukka in the crease, and we’ll be getting a feel if the flying Finn is ready to be our #1 goalie.
3.) Buffalo Sabres, October 30
The Sabres fans are the nicest bunch of people you could ever want to disagree about hockey with. Last year was odd for our match ups. Both sides have a phenomenal blow-out of each other. While the Bruins went 4-1-1 against them last year. Buffalo management has been ‘channeling Charelli’ to make some trades that suddenly makes the Sabres a larger and more physical team. Then there is the Ott factor. I can think a good number of the team (Ference, Lucic, McQuaid, Thornton, etc..) that would have absolutely NO problem going round-n-round with Ott. With two strong physical teams. It’s likely going to be the ‘trick or treat’ game of the 2012.
4.) Colorado Avalanche, November 15
This may be the odd-man out game. I have a sinking feeling that we will see the return of Tim Thomas to the NHL in this game. The other sinking feeling is he’ll be wearing an Avalanche jersey. The Quebec Nordiques 2.0 will be looking to show that they can be a strong team outside of the conference. We lost in only match up against them last year, and I’m sure the Black and Gold will want to return the favor. I expect to see either a 1-0 overtime win for the Bruins, or a horrific 8+ shellacking. Let’s face it, we love close games, and we love total blow-outs.
5.) Ottawa Senators, December 26
When the local hockey fanatics made me a member of Bruins Nation, they tried to pass on their loves and hates. For the most part, I have my own. My co-workers had an instinctive loathing of all things Senator and Hab. As for me, Timmy flattening a Sedin, and watching Salo earn a gold for Canada with his dive on the clip that got Marchand suspended for five games…..Well, my loathing is pretty obvious. The Senators seem like a good team. They might not be Stanley Cup contenders, but they play solid hockey. For those who you like a good technical game, this will probably be your Christmas present. While I don’t believe the Senators will beat the Bruins, they may surprise them.
Well, those are my picks for the opening half of the 2012-2013 season. Opinions, comments, scathing remarks, and psychoanalysis are always welcome. You can find me at @Godwentwhoops on Twitter.