Why our favourite teams will win the Stanley Cup, or not.
SPORTS by Three Dumb Fanboys
We’re not exactly known for our sports coverage here ‘cause it’s just not our thang as a mag, maaaan, and we’re fine with that. But that doesn’t change the fact that a bunch of us remain, however stupidly, huge fans of certain teams — living and dying with each win or loss, and ready to give our HOT TAKE!!! on every move our team makes (or doesn’t).
Below, three of us — ever-hopeful yet eerily realistic — offer up one road that our team could take to glory, and another path that will lead them to Turd Town. Enjoy. /Chris Kirkland
The Boston Bruins
You kids out there, listen here! The Boston Bruins are a beauty. Ya, there’s a bit of re-tooling going on, but you just watch them — the greatest franchise in professional hockey history will take a bit of time but a rocky start does not a season break! Don Sweeney (a good Canadian kid!) is ready to be a great GM, nice hair and all. All his seemingly ridiculous decisions will prove to be brilliant, come spring.
THE BRUINS WILL RULE: After a four-year hiatus (intentionally orchestrated to allow other teams an opportunity, ‘cause the Bruins are mostly good Canadian kids who know how to play the game the right way!) the big bad Bruins return to punch and crunch their way to the Cup. Look out kids! Jimmy Hayes is a 6’5” right winger who exemplifies what Don Sweeney’s rebuilt Bruins will be all about. Tough and full of heart, who needs more skill? They will wear you out, sucker!
Oh, and Brett Connolly will have a career year one-timing Patrice Bergeron’s marvellous passes. That will provide the offensive boost. It won’t hurt either that David Krejci is gonna be healthy and Loui Eriksson will be back on his natural wing, turning on red lights like it’s 2008.
The defence? No worries here. Torey Krug is ready to become a prime-time NHL defender. All 5’9” of him will begin to channel Phil Housley with spectacular results.
The Bruins’ biggest advantage, though? Cocaine is difficult to get in Massachusetts. Also: the Habs suck.
THE BRUINS WILL DROOL: Seriously though, Don Sweeney has no idea what he’s doing. Dougie Hamilton, who should’ve been the face of the franchise for the next decade, traded in the off-season? So now your defence is built around an aging giant who might need a walker by the third period of every game and a dude who’s so tiny he can’t see over me when his skates are on? There will be a price to pay — and that price will be Tuukka Rask considering retirement by the All-Star break. But don’t forget: the Habs suck. /Toon Town Rat
The Columbus Blue Jackets
Outside of White City there aren’t many Columbus Blue Jackets fans in Saskatchewan. Too bad for YOU guys and your precious “name” hockey teams like the Habs, Leafs, Bruins (chortle) and whatevers. MY beloved team is going to annihilate your guys’s guys this year! Here’s why.
THE JACKETS WILL RULE: Ignore the Blue Jackets’ playoff-missing 2014-15. That team was gutted by injuries — 508 man-games lost, highest in the league. An off-season trade for Chicago Blackhawks’ power winger Brandon Saad gives my Jackets one of the scariest, bone-crunchingest bunches of forwards in the league. Expect the number one line of Saad, point-a-game centre Ryan Johansen (a.k.a. the next Joe Thornton) and all-star Nick Foligno to light lamps all year.
This isn’t a one-line hockey club either — after Johansen, centres Brandon Dubinsky, Alexander Wennberg, William Karlsson and Gregory Campbell anchor a supporting cast including Scott Hartnell, Rene Bourque, Boone Jenner (watch him, hockey poolers) and many others.
The B-Js are deep, too — minor-league affiliate Cleveland has NHL-ready players led by Kerby Rychel and Josh Anderson, so if injuries strike again the Jackets will be readahhh.
Top-end talent with maybe the best forward depth in the league and a world top-10 goalie mean the Jackets have a shot to join the NHL’s elite. As long as they can survive playing in a division with the scary Rangers and eeevil Islanders.
THE JACKETS WILL DROOL: If the Jackets shit the bed, blame a mostly unproven defence proving it can’t keep up. The Blue Jacket’s best defenceman is White City’s Ryan Murray (hometown hero, woo!) but he gets injured a lot. Fedor Tyutin is 34. Jack Johnson? All right. The rest? Ummmm, I forget.
Another possible problem? An 0-3 start with, purely hypothetically, two losses to the Rangers and a sad defeat in Buffalo. But obviously that could never happen. /Stephen Whitworth
The New York Islanders
Let’s be serious for a moment, ladies and gentlemen: on Aug. 28, legendary Islanders coach Al “Radar” Arbour died after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s and dementia — about the only fight a guy who won eight Stanley Cups as a player and a coach, who coached 1500 games in the NHL and who led the Islanders to four Stanley Cups and an amazing 19 straight playoff series wins (still an NHL record) ever lost. Cheers, Al.
THE ISLANDERS WILL RULE: This is easy! Two words: John Effin’ Tavares!!! What? That’s three words? Well, the middle one’s kind’ve a nice way to swear without really doing so, so I’m not going to count it. Tavares has been a nominee for the NHL MVP multiple times, and would’ve been the NHL’s leading scorer last year except for the fact that stupid Jamie Benn of the stupid Dallas Stars got four stupid points in the last game of the season — INCLUDING AN ASSIST THAT BASICALLY BOUNCED OF HIS STUPID BODY AT CENTRE ICE AND HOPPED TO ANOTHER STUPID DALLAS PLAYER WHO STUPIDLY SCORED WITH LIKE ONE STUPID SECOND LEFT!
Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Oh, and growth from young guns like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, combined with a (mostly) solid defence core and an actual for-real NHL goaltender (!!!) in Jaroslav Halak, make this a can’t-miss year!
WHY THE ISLANDERS WILL DROOL: Yeah, well, they won’t. Bite it Bruins! And suck it, Jackets. Also: “it” is my wiener. /Chris Kirkland