Let Me Be Right

If you stay in the boat long enough, it’ll start to turn
The dark room you hide in will be filled with light
The frame on the floor and the picture by the door
They will shine brighter than ever before

This optimism can be a bit unnerving
Feel the shivers explore every inch of your body
Hold tight when you can’t stop shaking
I bet it feels like your heart has gotten used to the aching

Stretch your fingers to touch everything within reach
No one is there, go back to sleep
The slow songs find a way into your life
They speak to you like a future wife

You took all your time and purchased a life you’re still looking for it
The coins fell from your pockets as you cut the tags
Everything had been used, the smell was fresh
How in the world would you find a way to mesh

The collision is grand, you know
Not like the opening of a new store, bigger than that
But if you just hold on and stay within reach
One day this will make a heck of a speech

I think I’m right, please let me be right
Everything I do can’t always be an apology
Let my truth be real, no surprise
Good things can be found beneath a disguise.

The Adventure – Angels & Airwaves

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50 Thoughts XV

1. People get so excited for “Patio Szn” and “Wedding Szn”. I’m thinking of creating a new “Szn” called “Bedding Szn”. Basically, we just nap. Who’s in?

2. The uppercase letter “G” is my least favourite letter to write.

3. I draw the number 6 starting from inside the loop. Apparently this is abnormal?

4. Riverdale is getting a bit hokey, isn’t it?

5. Italy didn’t qualify for the World Cup which means I don’t have to pretend to like soccer next year. Phew.

6. Carol from The Walking Dead is the best. I want to be her friend. Don’t know what we’d talk about, but I won’t be bitten by a zombie under her watch, so that’s good.

7. Imagine the plural of “Goose” was “Gaase”.

8. Is Santa Claus related to Santa Barbara?

9. To the non-Canadians reading this who have never been introduced to All Dressed chips, you are missing out.

10. Can we go just one Wednesday without someone mentioning that it’s “Hump Day”? You don’t think we know by now?

11. Onion rings are the worst.

12. Scalloped potatoes are also the worst.

13. I hope the wrestling business gets to a point where talent can roam freely from company to company.

14. I’ve had six matchups so far in my fantasy hockey season. Of which, I have three ties. THREE. It’s killing me slowly.

15. In the song, “Stroke Me” by The Squire, I always thought the lyrics were, “Something’s cooking” but they are actually, “Stroke me, stroke me.”

15.5 I’ve been meaning to mention this one since August 2016 but never knew how to just throw it in a blog post without it being weird.

16. Advertisements on YouTube videos are a waste of time and money, let’s be honest.

17. Shout-out to Catherine at One Big Stressball. She can read my mind. And you should read her blog.

18. If you haven’t watched Last Chance U on Netflix, you probably should. Unless you don’t like football, or documentaries, or football documentaries. But it’s a good show! Watch it. Tell them Paul sent you.

18.5 They have no clue who I am.

18.75 Who would you even tell? It’s Netflix.

19. I don’t know who invented the couch, but they’re a genius.

20. People who wear their socks to sleep are probably the same people who are okay with sleeping with the door open.

20.5 Please leave a comment below telling me you wear your socks to bed, but would never leave the door open. I’m hoping to get at least 7 comments like this.

21. Ever since I wrote a rant complaining about my iPhone battery, it’s been lasting longer. A few weeks ago, it went 40 hours between charges. That is a modern day record in my age bracket.

22. Eenie meenie miney mo (is this english?), catch a tiger by the toe (hell no), if he hollers let him go (no kidding), eenie meenie miney mo (french?). Not because you’re dirty (phew), not because you’re clean (sniffs armpits), just because you kissed a girl behind a magazine (but the magazine was blocking…). So out you go come back tomorrow (see ya then). Repeat x10

22.5 And that’s how we decided who was “it” for tag back in elementary school.

23. When we say numbers out loud, most of them are just a combination of two numbers. “Twenty” and “three” is known as twenty-three. Why didn’t they get a couples name, like people do? Like, “Twenree”.

24. Twour.

25. Twive.

26. TWIX (are for kids).

27. That last thought was a pun, a chocolate, a joke, and a Halloween reference. I only needed four words to do it. Bow down in awe.

28. I’ve never been in a hammock. I don’t think I’d ever get off if I were to ever get on.

29. Clearest Blue by Chvrches is really good.

30. I want a new hobby. Something small and simple and beneficial. Last year my “new hobby” was solving Sudoku puzzles. The year before that, it was donuts.

31. Shouldn’t there be another “n” on the end of “banana” just to make it even with the letter “a”? Let’s start a petition.

31.5 Pronounced: “Buh-nan-nan”.

31.75 Try getting that out of your head.

32. I’m just here to make the world a more observant place. And if no one notices me, I’ll have proven that my cause is worthy.

33. The people I follow on Twitter aren’t as funny with 280 characters. Someone tell them.

34. When I picture animals on a farm arranging a social event, I picture a planning committee with one of each animal. And when they go around suggesting events, the cow always says “Moooovie Night” and everyone else rolls their eyes because it’s like, “Really Bessy, movie night again?” And then there is just a lot of resentment and anger and they reluctantly settle on board games night, which no one really wants, but everyone agrees on because it’s simple.

35. What if shadows didn’t exist?

36. I was honoured and humbled to have my post about Roy Halladay featured on WordPress Discover last week.

37. I was going to say that nothing rhymes with “country” but then I realized that “one tree” rhymes with country, so this thought is now moooooot.

37.5 Sorry. Bessy got loose.

38. Why can’t we all agree to not drive like maniacs?

39. If fish live in a fish tank, does that mean humans live in a human house?

40. I’ve been trying to find the right time to start season two of Stranger Things, but haven’t found it yet.

41. I have a tendency to overplay the same song for a week and then scramble to find a new song to fill the void. There is nothing worse than not being able to find that new song.

42. None of my favourite celebrities have been outed as disgusting human beings. Then again, Jimmy Kimmel, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kristen Bell are the only three I care about.

43. I’m about to watch Part 2 of the Elizabeth Smart documentary on A&E. Kudos to her for telling her story. Part 1 was startling, to say the least. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google her name.

44. In 5-10 years, we’ll probably have to use our eyes to unlock our iPhone. That’ll be a heck of a marketing campaign. They’ll probably rename it the iiPhone.

44.5 Get it? Because we have two eyes? I’m sorry. So, so sorry.

45. Why be Cookie Monster for Halloween when you can be Cookie Monster every day?

46. Who here watches Survivor? I tried to do viewing notes for the show like I do with The Bachelor, but I realized I enjoy the show too much to be distracted by a computer screen (and the witty comments in my head) the whole time.

47. Woodchucks are only famous because of a long, drawn out, hypothetical question. What a life.

48. The phrase “bear with me” is so strange. “Pig with me” I could understand. It means you want someone to eat with you. But, “bear”?

48.5 And if you use “bare” by accident, then you’re in trouble.

49. Things I Don’t Like #476: When Person X asks Person Y a question and Person Y doesn’t give an answer, but instead, belittles Person X for not already knowing the answer. Can we cut that nonsense out of our daily life? If someone asks you a question, answer it. I don’t care if it’s a stupid question.

50. We can dance if we want to. We can leave your friends behind. Cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, well they’re no friends of mine. We can dance, we can dance, everybody look at your hands.

That song has been the first thing in my head each morning for the last two weeks. Why?

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San Jose Sharks 2017-18 Season Preview

When the San Jose Sharks get a power play during a home game, they play the Jaws theme over the loudspeakers and the fans use their arms to mimic a shark chomp. It’s all very cute.

The Sharks have been a really good team lately. I thought they were at their best during the 2013-14 season and didn’t think anyone could beat them. Then they lost in the first round and missed the playoffs completely the following year. What do I know?

But in 2016, they made it to the Stanley Cup Final, before ultimately losing to Pittsburgh.

Now, it feels like their window of opportunity is closing.

FORWARDS

Joe Thornton – His beard might be bigger than his face. He is a legend. He is a future hall of famer. He is one of the best passers to ever play in the NHL. He is starting to slow down so don’t expect any more 70 point seasons from him, but he could still put up a respectable 50-60 point campaign.

Joe Pavelski – After Patrick Marleau and Thornton had their run as Captain, Pavelski took the torch. I don’t think people talk about him enough. At his best, he can reach 30 goals/40 assists. I don’t know if he’s at his best anymore, though.

Logan Couture – He’s been a solid second line centre for the Sharks for his entire career. More of the same this season.

Notable: Tomas Hertl, Joonas Donskoi, Kevin Labanc

DEFENSE

Brent Burns – His beard might be bigger than his face, too. He’s one of the best defenseman in the NHL. He had 76 points last season and 75 points the year before. I don’t think he’ll reach 70 for a third straight season, though.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – They call him, “Pickles”. He’s been an Olympian. He’s been a steady defensive, and sometimes offensive presence for the Sharks since 2006.

Tim Heed – He’s a 26-year-old rookie from Sweden who has found time on the first power play unit. The Sharks normally went with 4 forwards and 1 defenseman on the top PP unit, but Marleau left and Heed came in. Hey, when opportunity knocks…

Notable: Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon

GOALIES

Martin Jones – After being a backup in Los Angeles for a couple of seasons, he was traded to Boston. Boston then traded him to San Jose because LA would never do that. That was in 2015. Since then, he’s been one of the best goalies in the league. I’m just surprised Boston still does business with San Jose after trading them Thornton and getting (pretty much) nothing back.

Aaron Dell – He got a shutout last night and has a 1.94 Goals Against Average this season. Solid backup.

FUN FACTS

1. Their mascot is named SJ Sharkie, which I’ve always felt has been a cheap nickname. You don’t see the Leafs naming their mascot, TM Leafie. Or the Devils naming theirs, NJ Devil. Just seems like a cop out.

2. The Sharks have missed the playoffs only 6 times since they entered the league in 1991.

3. They play out of the SAP Center. There is a food place called Armadillo Willy’s inside, where you can get beef brisket, pork spareribs, BBQ chicken thighs, and spicy peanut slaw. Hungry?

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

The Sharks are a mess. Their fowards are too old and not skilled enough, and they spend too much money on defense. Even worse, the Sharks have already parted with their second and third round picks for this upcoming draft.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

I think the Sharks are just barely holding on to what they’ve got, it doesn’t make a difference if they make it or not, they’ve got each other and that’s enough for love, they’ll give it a shot.

Seriously though, their best players are getting older and I know they’re bringing in young talent like Donskoi, Hertl, and Labanc, to help ease the transition, but I don’t see any of them becoming superstars.

I think they’ll make the playoffs, but I don’t expect them to do much.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

Armadillo Willy’s will run out of food during one home game.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins
Next Preview: St. Louis Blues

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Pittsburgh Penguins 2017-18 Season Preview

It’s not fair that Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Edmonton has Connor McDavid, when a few decades ago, both teams had Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, respectively.

Is there some rule that says only those two cities can have the once in a generation players?

I’m calling shenanigans. No more cahoots!

FORWARDS

Sidney Crosby – He’s alright. He’s scored over 100 points in a season, five times. He’s 30 years old and could be in the Hall of Fame yesterday if he wanted. He’s won everything. People say I look like him.

Evgeni Malkin – That 04/05 lockout really transformed the Penguins. They were able to take Malkin in ’04 and Crosby in ’05. If there were no lockout, I don’t think Pittsburgh would’ve owned the 1st pick and had the chance to take Crosby. See, I told you there were cahoots. Malkin is great – injury prone, but who isn’t?

Phil Kessel – The Best.

Jake Guentzel – The Future.

Notable: Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist

DEFENSE

Kris Letang – Hard to believe he was a 3rd round pick in 2005. He has 399 career points, which is 8th most for his draft class – 1st is Crosby; 9th is Hornqvist. CAHOOTS, I say. Yeah, Letang is great too.

Justin Schultz – He left the Oilers and the Penguins turned him into the player everyone thought he could be. He’s an offensive threat and a weapon on the power=play, as if they needed more.

Olli Maatta – He’s 23-years-old and is apart of the younger generation of Penguins that inhabits this team. He’s also a good hockey player. Surprising, huh?

GOALIES

Matt Murray – He’s been in the NHL for two years and has won two Stanley Cups. He’s only 23-years-old. So yeah, he’s better than you, me, and almost every 23-year-old ever.

Tristan Jerry – This was supposed to be Antti Niemi but he stunk and is now in Florida. Jarry is 22 and is getting thrown into the fire here. Methinks the Penguins will look for a veteran backup before the trade deadline.

FUN FACTS

1. The Penguins scored 282 goals last season – most in the NHL.

2. They were 31-6-4 at home and 50-21-11 overall.

3. They play out of PPG Paints Arena. You can get a pizza from Fox’s Pizza and then wash it down with some Dunkin’ Donuts because America runs on Dunkin’, or something.

4. The Penguins have won 5 Stanley Cups: 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016, 2017.

5. The Penguins former arena was nicknamed, “The Igloo”. I liked that.

6. Phil Kessel loves hot dogs.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

Penguins the Penguins. It’s hard to have Crosby and Malkin and not be competitive. Hard to believe Crosby, Malkin, and Letang are all over 30 now. It will be interesting to see if this team ages like a fine wine, or a stinky cheese.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

They’ll make the playoffs. Yada yada yada. They’re great. So many weapons. Etc.

They need to be careful, though. If Matt Murray gets injured, or struggles, they have no one else to go to. Well, they do. But no one that has proven to be reliable.

If penguins can hold their breath, they better be holding it right now.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

Evgeni Malkin will play at least 70 games – something he’s only done 4 times in 11 seasons.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: Philadelphia Flyers
Next Preview: San Jose Sharks

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Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 Season Preview

The Philadelphia Flyers are a far cry from their Broad Street Bully days. Heck, they’re a far cry from the early 2000s when they had guys like LeClair, Recchi, Roenick, and Brashear patrolling the ice.

The NHL has changed and so have the Flyers.

FORWARDS

Claude Giroux – He’s coming off a down year in which he recorded 58 points. He’s better than that. Perhaps the players around him had gotten a bit stale, or maybe not. Maybe his stats will continue to slide. That being said, I think he’s capable of 70+ points this season.

Jakub Voracek – I get the sense that no one really talks about him outside of people in Philadelphia and his fantasy hockey owners. He’s normally a lock for 20+ goals and 40+ assists.

Wayne Simmonds – He would’ve fit perfectly on the Flyers in the early 2000s. He’s a throwback to the power forward days. He’s big, strong, and will score 30 goals.

Notable: Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick

DEFENSE

Shayne Gostisbehere – “Ghost Be Here” is not how you pronounce his last name, unfortunately. He came out of nowhere two seasons ago and has been an offensive bright spot ever since.

Ivan Provorov – He’s 20. It’s his 2nd NHL season. And he’s already logging 25 minutes/game. He’s going to be really good, both offensively and defensively. Look out in a few years.

Radko Gudas – He has a reputation around the NHL of being dangerous. Gudas is the epitome of Team Iceland in the Mighty Duck movies. Simple as that.

GOALIES

The Flyers needed a good goalie yesterday. Nope. Scratch that. They needed a good goalie about 20 years ago.

Brian Elliott – He’s only started more than 50 games, once in his career. For a 9th round pick in 2003, he’s carved out a nice career. I just don’t think he’s the answer the Flyers have been looking for.

Michal Neuvirth – He’s shown small glimpses of being good, but ultimately, he’s a backup goalie in the NHL.

FUN FACTS

1. The Flyers play their home games at Wells Fargo Center, which is also the home of the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the Philadelphia Soul (AFL).

2. They lost in the Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, when Patrick Kane scored in overtime and no one saw the puck go in the net but him.

3. Ron Hextall is the General Manager. Dave Hakstol is the Head Coach. Names are fun.

4. They finished last season with a record of 39-33-10. They had a 2.4% chance of ending up with the 2nd pick in the NHL Draft. Well, they ended up getting it. They selected Nolan Patrick.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

The Flyers seem to have had the same team for the last 5 years, but evidently that is not true. Curious to see how Brian Elliott survives the team Ilya Bryzgalov described as, “goalie hell.”

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

Goaltending will hold this team out of a playoff spot. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. I don’t know how, where, or when they’ll get a real number one goalie, but until they do, they won’t win anything.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

Claude Giroux scores at least 30 goals for the first time in his career.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: Ottawa Senators
Next Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

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Roy Halladay

When I was a kid, I wanted to be like Roy Halladay.

Yesterday, Roy “Doc” Halladay died in a plane crash. It was his plane. He was the only one on board. Halladay was only 40-years-old, and leaves behind a wife and two boys.

I didn’t know how to react when I heard the news. It didn’t seem real and it still doesn’t.

Halladay was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 and pitched for them from 1998 – 2009. That is my childhood right there.

When he requested a trade and the Blue Jays obliged by sending him to the Philadelphia Phillies (2010-2013), it was bittersweet. I was happy that he would finally get the chance to play in the playoffs, but deep down, I wished he could’ve done that here.

I grew up watching Halladay, who was oftentimes the only bright spot on an otherwise poor Blue Jays team. Every fifth day he pitched felt like “guaranteed win day”. He was that good. He was that dominant.

I’ve learned not to idolize athletes because, most of the time, they’ll end up disappointing you. However, I idolized Halladay. He never disappointed me.

Unlike most professional athletes, he never made the game about him.

My favourite thing about him was his disposition on the mound. It never changed. He was locked in and serious the entire way through. No moment was bigger than another.

If he got a big strikeout or his team made a big play, he didn’t stand there celebrating. He would just turn around and walk to the dugout, knowing it was only one play and the job was not done.

That’s why I wanted to be like Roy Halladay.

As a kid playing softball, I found myself pitching more often than not.

When my teammates made a big play behind me or I made a big strikeout, I didn’t stand there celebrating. I didn’t scream. I didn’t wave my hands in the air. I didn’t jump around.

Halladay didn’t, so I wouldn’t.

One of the only times I remember Halladay being over-expressive on the field was in a game the Blue Jays played in Tampa Bay. One of Tampa’s hitters hit a slow roller up the first base line.

Halladay picked it up thinking it was a foul ball. Unbeknownst to him, the umpire call it a fair ball. The batter reached first base safely. And then Halladay got mad. He was yelling at the umpire. He was animated. He was fighting for what he thought was right.

I even remember the broadcaster saying at the time, something along the lines of, “If Halladay is arguing, you know he must be right.”

That moment stuck with me for some reason.

When the coach told us to run off the field after an inning, I’d walk off from the mound because that’s what Halladay did. Granted, most major league pitchers walk to the dugout to conserve their energy, so this wasn’t unique to Halladay. But I pretended that it was.

Halladay was better than you, but wouldn’t rub it in your face. He’d make you look silly, and then quietly walk off the field. I loved that.

We’re in an era where starting pitchers throw six innings and are happy. Halladay wanted to go nine innings every single game. In his career, he had 67 complete games. That is unheard of nowadays.

He was in a class of his own, both on the field and off it. He donated $100,000 of his contract each year he was in Toronto to the Jays Care Foundation.

No one cared more. No one worked harder.

I feel terrible for his family. I feel terrible for his friends. I feel terrible for his former teammates. I just feel terrible, in general.

A quick glance at his Twitter feed tells you that he loved flying and his family.

You’ll hear stories from his old teammates who will say that Halladay would be finished his workout and dripping in sweat before anyone else even arrived.

You’ll hear stories about him going in before 5AM and staying late after games, just to get his work in.

You’ll hear stories about how on game day, everyone knew not to say a word to him because he wouldn’t reply. He was locked in.

In his second career game in the majors, he was one out away from a no-hitter. I remember watching that game back in 1998 as a 7-year-old boy.

All of a sudden, Bobby Higginson of the Detroit Tigers hit a home run over the left field fence. The no-hitter was gone.

After that, things got worse before they got better for Halladay. He was sent back down to the lowest level of the minor leagues to re-invent himself with pitching coach, Mel Queen.

All of that feels like just yesterday to me because I still remember it.

When he made it back to the Blue Jays, he established himself as one of the best pitchers of his generation. Maybe he didn’t get the recognition he deserved because he was playing in Canada, but the fans here knew he was great. And the players around the league knew it too.

Derek Jeter said Halladay was the toughest pitcher he’s ever faced. That says a lot.

Halladay is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019. It saddens me that he won’t be there to make a speech and go in as a Blue Jay.

Roy Halladay was one of the best, and not just because he was a great baseball player.

Thanks for the memories, Doc. You were one of a kind.

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But If

Take me to
a place where
I don’t know
your name there
this is it
I do declare
find a place
we can share

but if

I start to
care now
you will take
your final bow, wow
and still expect
me to care, how
that was three
we’re out now.

Forget Me Not – Brian Fallon

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Ottawa Senators 2017-18 Season Preview

Ugh, the Ottawa Senators. Do I have to?

Alright. As someone who recently went to an Ottawa Senators “home game”, I have to say that I was both impressed and unimpressed.

I was impressed by the aesthetics of the arena – both the outside and main concourse.

I was unimpressed by how little their fans seem to care about the Senators. Seats were covered with tarps because they can’t sell them. Leafs fans took up 70% of the arena (which is why home game was put in quotes earlier). And Sens fans looked like strangers in their own home.

It was sad to see. I thought Ottawa was a hockey market. Hey, maybe it is. Maybe it’s just the location of the arena, which is out in the middle of nowhere. I’ll accept that excuse.

FORWARDS

Mark Stone – The 25-year-old has stepped up as one of the Senators best forwards over the last few seasons. If he hadn’t missed 11 games last year, he was in line for his 3rd consecutive 60-point season. More of the same should be expected this year.

Mike Hoffman – He’s a goal scorer, who has flirted with 30 goals the last 3 years, but hasn’t quite gotten there. Yet.

Kyle Turris – I’ve never really understood the hype. He’s been regarded as their number one centre for a few seasons, but to me, that’s just because they had no one else. In a perfect world, he’s a second or third line centre. Maybe I’m wrong. (I’m never wrong).

DEFENSE

Erik Karlsson – He is the straw that stirs the drink. The brick that builds the house. The paperclip that holds paper together. He’s the Captain and one of the best players in the NHL. 70 points in a season looks effortless for him.

Dion Phaneuf – Thank you, Ottawa, for taking him off our hands. Signed, Leafs fans. Honestly though, he’s not a bad #2 guy to have on the blue line. He’ll eat up a lot of ice time.

Notable: Cody Ceci

GOALIES

Craig Anderson – Anderson has been really good for the Senators since coming over from Colorado during the 2010-11 season. He’s getting up there in age, so the Sens will need a replacement eventually, but for now, he continues to be reliable in net.

Mike Condon – He’s a solid backup goalie. No complaints here.

FUN FACTS

1. The Ottawa Senators took Alexandre Daigle 1st overall in the 1993 Draft – their second as a franchise. Daigle was a bust. Who went #2 in the draft? Hall of Famer, Chris Pronger. Oh nooo. *Insert The Price is Right fail horn here*

2. The first Leafs game I ever went to was in 2003, I believe. They faced the Ottawa Senators.

3. The Leafs beating the Senators in the playoffs felt like an annual thing when I was a kid.

4. Last season, Auston Matthews scored 4 goals against Ottawa in the first game of his career. He signed his stick and gave it to their goalie after the game.

5. Ottawa won only 33 games in their first 3 season in the NHL.

6. For $13, you can buy a cheeseburger at their arena. THIRTEEN DOLLARS. Or maybe it was $12.50 and I’m misremembering…

7. Go Leafs Go.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

The Sens have been mystifying to me the last couple of years. They do not have a name brand talent, but always manage to compete. They have strong goaltending and defense but their first line LW is currently listed as Ryan Dzingel. Who or what is a Ryan Dzingel?

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

The Senators are a well coached team, lead by Guy Boucher. They play a good system and have elevated the play of guys you wouldn’t expect to be major contributors.

I think they’ll make the playoffs this season and I hope they face the Leafs at some point. It’s a rivalry that needs to be properly renewed.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

Mark Stone will score 35 goals.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: New York Rangers
Next Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

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New York Rangers 2017-18 Season Preview

The New York Rangers have made the playoffs in 12 of the last 13 years, yet I’ve never taken them seriously as a Stanley Cup contender.

Even when they made it to the Finals in 2014, I didn’t take them seriously.

I’m not entirely sure why this is. Maybe it’s because I look at their roster and never see an obvious superstar, outside of Henrik Lundqvist in net (though he’s past his prime). It’s a collection of good players, but not necessarily “great” players.

FORWARDS

The Rangers don’t seem to have that “top” forward.

Mats Zuccarello – I didn’t know he was 30-years-old until right now. He’s been a solid point producer for the team over the last four seasons. He seems to plateau around the 60-point mark which isn’t too shabby.

Mika Zibanejad – The 6th overall pick from the 2011 Draft has 13 points in 13 games this season. I thought Ottawa gave up on him too quickly when they traded him away two years ago. It looks like he’s in for a career year. My guess is somewhere between 60-70 points if he stays healthy.

J.T. Miller/Chris Kreider/Kevin Hayes – They feel like the same player. Physical, gritty guys who will max out around 45-50 points. One of, if not all of them, could be used as trade bait, if you ask me.

Rick Nash – His career is on the decline. Did he ever live up to the hype of a #1 overall pick? His best days were about 7 years ago.

Notable: Pavel Buchnevich

DEFENSE

Kevin Shattenkirk – He was a highly sought after free agent this past off-season and signed with the Rangers for 4 years. Every team needs an offensive defenseman, Shattenkirk is that. I’m not sure he’s worth $6.65 Million, but hey, it’s not my money.

Marc Staal – His brothers, Jordan and Eric, have each won a Stanley Cup. Marc has not.

Brady Skjei – A good, young defenseman who put up 39 points in his rookie season last year.

Ryan McDonagh – Should I feel bad for waiting this long to mention the Captain of the team?

GOALIES

Henrik Lundqvist – He is a Hall of Fame calibre goaltender who isn’t what he used to be. That being said, just because he’s off to a slow start this season, doesn’t mean I’m writing him off just yet.

Ondrej Pavelec – The Winnipeg Jets tried to make him their #1 goalie for so many years, but it never quite worked. He’s a solid backup and who knows, maybe he finds success with a team in a different conference.

FUN FACTS

1. The Rangers have eclipsed 100 points in each of the last three seasons.

2. My sister thinks I look like their Head Coach, Alain Vigneault.

3. One of my earliest hockey memories is watching Wayne Gretzky’s final NHL game when he was with the New York Rangers in 1999. A bunch of 90s rock songs were played as he circled the ice one last time.

4. They play their home games at Madison Square Garden – the world’s most famous arena. What a coincidence. I’m the world’s most famous blogger.

5. I’m noticing a trend among NHL teams where they don’t actually list ticket prices on their website. You don’t know how much tickets are, until you’re ready to purchase them. Sneaky.

6. The Rangers don’t have a mascot. If they did, it would probably be named Bill NY. Get it? Ah, no one even reads these previews. It’s fine.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

The New York Rangers are the calzone of hockey teams.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

The Rangers are close to firing Head Coach Alain Vigneault, depending on which rumours you read. If they do, expect Lindy Ruff to step in.

I guess it makes sense. Despite their winning ways, their young players haven’t really stepped up.

I really don’t know what this team is going to do this season. I don’t think they’re a playoff team, but they have been in 12 of the last 13 years, so who knows.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

The Rangers miss the playoffs and are sellers at the trade deadline.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: New York Islanders
Next Preview: Ottawa Senators

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New York Islanders 2017-18 Season Preview

In 2007, the Islanders needed to win the final game of the season in order to make the playoffs. If they lost, the Leafs would make the playoffs.

The game went to a shootout and their goaltender, Wade Dubielewicz, was one save away from winning the game. So what did he do? He poke-checked the puck away from the player coming in on goal – not even allowing them to get a shot off.

The Islanders won. The Leafs missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.

I’m 100% certain this happened on Easter Sunday.

All of this is from memory. I have a good one.

FORWARDS

John Tavares – This is the final year of his contract. I’m not optimistic that he stays, but what do I know? I do know that if he is surrounded by good players, he’s capable of a point-per-game pace. Unsurprisingly, he’s off to a hot start. Each game is his opportunity to increase his salary for next season.

Jordan Eberle – He came over from Edmonton in the Strome trade. He played with Tavares on Canada’s World Junior team in 2009. He’s a 5-time 20-goal scorer and this season could be a career rebirth for him.

Joshua Bailey – He’s been hovering around the “secondary scoring depth” portion of the Islanders roster for the last few seasons and I’ve always thought he could do more. He’s on the top line with Tavares now, time to step up.

Notable: Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Josh Ho-Sang

DEFENSE

Nick Leddy – He is an offensive bright spot on a blue line that could use more offensive bright spots. 40+ points this season should be a given.

Thomas Hickey/Dennis Seidenberg/Calvin de Haan/Johnny Boychuk – All quality defensemen.

Notable: Ryan Pulock

GOALIES

Jaroslav Halak – He wasn’t very good last season and just about sunk my fantasy team, as a result. Fortunately, I pulled out a 1st place finish; Halak was sent to the minors. He’s worked his way back to the NHL and could regain the starter’s role once again.

Thomas Greiss – He’s gotten off to a poor start, which is a shame because the Islanders turned to him last season in their time of need and he helped them claw back into a playoff race when all hope seemed to be lost.

FUN FACTS

1. They missed the playoffs by one point last season, but had the same record as the Nashville Predators, who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

2. Garth Snow is the GM and Doug Weight is the Head Coach. These guys were still playing when I was a kid. I guess I’m old. Darn.

3. They’ve made the playoffs 8 times since 1994; they were knocked out in the first round, 7 times. They get knocked down, but they get back up again, you’re never gonna keep them down.

4. The Islanders play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was not meant to house a hockey team, which is why there are so many obstructed view seats. It’s also why there is a car parked in the front row at one end of the arena. Seriously. Beep beep, I’m a jeep.

5. Their mascot is named Sparky the Dragon because of course he is.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

Can anyone believe Garth Snow is still the GM? He has been the GM since 2006 and was preceded by a man who lasted just 41 days, seems like a bit of an over-correction keeping him around this long.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

The Islanders could be in play for a Wild Card spot in the East, but so will 3-4 other teams. I’m not convinced they have enough talent to make the playoffs, but if they get their players playing up to their potential, it’ll be close.

They need more consistent goaltending this season than last. Tavares needs some running mates. And kids like Barzal and Ho-Sang need to step up.

If so, maybe they make the playoffs. Maybe. I’m not counting my chickens.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

John Tavares will finish the season with 90 points.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: New Jersey Devils
Next Preview: New York Rangers

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