07.10.2010: In which we temporarily turn our attention to our uglier cousins in preparation for tonight’s Sensless season launch

Conrad to James, Peter

Ok then. Predicated by a Puck Daddy post about which Canadian team is most likely to bring the Cup home, TheCCFR’s BACKHANDED OPINION ABOUT THE OTHER CANADIAN TEAMS.

Montreal: Incredibly overrated. A podcast I listened to recently put it best: the postseason is such a small sample size that anomalies aren’t given enough time to correct themselves, like, for example, Montreal being outshot in every single playoff game last year and never getting scored on. They were one 7th game away from being The Team That Gave Washington a Scare. It was amazing that they did it again to the ‘Guins, and then Philly solidly handled them. End of story. Great run for the Habs (for a change), but a wonky, weird run too, where everything that could go right did.

This year I see a young, unstable goaltender, two undersized scoring forwards who (somehow) got it done in the postseason but can’t be expected to do it again, an injured PP quarterback, and a market that is still hysterical about 88% of the time and doesn’t seem to understand just how much they’re sabotaging their team by, say, inflating the myth of Louis Leblanc. They’re not a bad team. They’re a bubble team. I predicted earlier in the year that they’ll miss the playoffs, and I stick by it.

Calgary: I want to like them, if only because Kipper is trapped in that funhouse, but I can’t help but think they’re Rangers West: throw a whole lot against the wall and see what sticks. Trading for a third of another (bad) team does not suggest a plan, though I didn’t condemn the Toronto trade last year when it happened (I kinda like Hagman, even, and White is a solid pickup). Anyway, placing those guys in a situation with Iginla and Tanguay is not the same as leaning on them full time like Toronto did.

Some people are dark horsing them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a splash. Sutter is aggressive and stupid enough to make more moves; one of those moves is as likely to work out as, say, Jaroslav Halak catching fire and taking the Habs to the conference final.

Edmonton: This team secretly hates itself. I interpret each of their actions as a not-so-subtle act of self-injurious behavior. Burn a year off the ELC deals of Eberle, Hall and Paajaajajjjajrvi? Sure. Not like you’ll need that cap space in two or three years when you’re ready to compete. Sign an old, oft-injured Khabibulin to a four year deal even though you didn’t re-sign Roloson to two years because he’s old? Makes sense. Bully the city into paying for a half-billion dollar arena? Perfectly reasonable.

Their blueline is a complete mess and their goaltending is literally felonious. Stranger things have happened than Edmonton having a bounceback year, but it’s likely a bounce back to bubble status. I still can’t believe they traded Ryan Smyth.

Toronto: Sigh. What can I say? They’re a collection of completely unlikeable players and agitators (Kessel, Armstrong, Exelby, Orr, Phaneuf, Kadri, Rosehill, several marginal fourth liners) that completely get under the skin of my favorite team. They’ll stink this year, and still beat the Sens at least three or four times on Hockey Night in Canada in front of riotous fans and adulatory media. Normally, I just wouldn’t care; it’s like watching any mediocre team beat your team. Annoying, but not very important in the long run, and you’ll have forgotten all about it come time to buy your playoff tickets. But it’s maddening to watch Burke, AKA the highest paid GM in the history of the sport, drive this rudderless ship around in place. It’s excruciating. It’s like watching Saw or something.

Giguere seems like a nice guy, which is hard to say knowing he won his Cup at our expense.

Vancouver: I don’t expect them to lay an egg this year, but wouldn’t it be interesting if they did? Remember that year Colorado signed Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya and everyone expected them to annihilate the world? A few injuries and some slumps – that’s all it takes. They’ll most likely clean up this year, and should have no problem making it out of the 1st round again, but they’ll need that perfect balance of skill and agitation. (Burrows is, in some ways, sort of the perfect hockey player.)

I like this team (especially now that it doesn’t have any oldies like Demitra or Naslund on it), but speaking as an Ottawa fan this might have some authority: having everyone expect you to win it all is no blessing.

Peter to Conrad, James

Montreal – I hate saying this but its good for the league to have these guys winning games. Not sure why, but I enjoy feel-good Habs stories from Michael Whalen rather than the usual pissing and moaning. One of the reasons I could never live in that city is that I still like to get newsprint on my hands and could not handle the pressure of la press on my le droit (hey-o!)

Can Subban really win rookie of the year? Isn’t he a defenceman? Shit, he’s not Doug Harvey or even Harvey Dent.

Toronto – If it’s good for the league to have Montreal doing well, it’s good for the media to have Toronto struggling. So weird, but there seems to be a self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to the buds: the worse they get, the more the media rants on them, which in turn fuels the negativity. It’s an amazing perpetual motion machine of suck. Alas, thanks to entropy eventually Toronto will not suck again. Newton’s First law be damned, the buds have hit bottom, but the playoffs are still out of the question.

Calgary – I like this team, but I think they’ve got a bad case of the Sutters, time for a fresh injection of energy. I’d love to see them going with the inexperienced but energetic coach from the AHL soon. Mark my words, Cory Clouston will one day coach this team. (P.S. Who the fuck coaches them now? Is it still Sutter or is he only the GM, who is the GM if not?) [Ed’s note: It’s a Sutter in both positions, but not the same one. Darryl Sutter is GM. And his brother, Baron von Hugo Sutter coaches.] Research, I HAZ IT. Sometimes I think about how big a superstar Jarome Iginla would be if he played in Toronto or New York. Then I think about breasts.

Edmonton – All three of their rookies made the club out of camp. My guess is they’ll win a few more games than last year, especially of the 6-5 variety. Wouldn’t it be batshit loco if Khabibulin got hot and regained some of his form? A team that young might not know they’re supposed to suck. (This was part of my reasoning behind picking the Islanders to make the playoffs.) At what point do they look to start adding vets? (Sit down Sheldon!)

Vancouver – The most talented Canadian team by far, I don’t even consider them not making the Cup finals a fold oddly enough. They lost a tough series to the eventual champs and picked up nice pieces this offseason. If they don’t make the finals this year then it’ll be disappointing. They seem like the team that could start off mediocre and the media and fans wouldn’t panic like teams back east (Doood, chill bro its December!). They’ve got a lot of rope… till April.

James to Peter, Conrad

Instead of giving my own opinion on these teams can I just Facebook (the movie) you both virtual stickers that say “Grape Job!” on the stuff you guys wrote?

I want to preface this with a note that I do not automatically root for “the Canadian team” if the Sens are out. We are complicated beings. And the world is a fucking complicated place. It’s team-by-team come playoffs, and I have to like the team. Its also hard to just get behind divisional rivals…you know what? To be honest I never want anyone to win the cup over Ottawa. Fuck everything.

Here goes nuggets!

Montreal: Last year when Montreal (just) made it into the playoffs I thought “Either Montreal owes a big apology to Bob Gainey or a big bronze sculpture to Jaroslav Halak.” A few weeks later it was clear who was owed what. So good was Halak that he has like 95% ownership on Yahoo fantasy this year. Not bad for a guy who a year before could barely get a start because the other dude, despite getting lit up, was getting every chance in the world. (Perhaps not unlike how Elliot might feel this year if Leclaire gets that “real shot” at #1).

I think that Montreal has a lot of really good players. They also have Scott Gomez. Lightly seasoned Caammeelleerrii is a guy you get an A-game from every night – and I really respect an enemy like that, kind of a latter day Sundin your hat has to go off to. Gionta is a proven winner, I loathe when the Sens play a healthy Markov, I just had my second date with PK Subban *OMG!!, oh and they finally traded that Hugo Kostitsyn away…

That flattery aside, if the question is do they “gots it”? Not without the je ne sais quoi (French for bailing them the FUCK OUT constantly) that Halak brought. Prediction: 1. Huge Price meltdown of new heights to follow fans not being able to handle down year 2. Louis LeBlanc is the new Giaumme Latendresse except he might not make the NHL.

Calgary: Bros just went 7-0 in the preseason which at the very least might say something about their up and comers. Some good to great players on this team too, including the Captain – nicest man in Springfield- and the most intense goalie in Shelbyville. Funny how it’s sort of en vogue to discount Iginla’s goodness because he’s getting up there, like he’s old hat. He’s their Alfie…and no one puts Alfie in the corner. This team is a bit of a puzzle to me. Most complicated piece is obviously the resigning of toilet bus admiral Oly Jokinen. This guy was soooo dumpo that when they sent him to the Rangers they basically said it was a mistake to have pressured him into the role of first line scoring centre. Yeah…WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT A FIRST LINE SCORING CENTRE WOULD HAVE TROUBLE ADJUSTING TO BEING A FIRST LINE SCORING CENTREqYUIDS:LFKSJF:SLDFKJSDF.

On the other side of the coin Alex Tanguay is a steal I think. I’d love to see the Island of misfit leafs go far just to stick it to tranna. It can go either way for the Flames (decisive she wrote!). I would definitely be into watching Kipper in the playoffs again. Hooweee.

Edmonton: All the stuff Conrad said…also, I feel happy for Edmonton fans. Now THAT is a glut of exciting young players who look like they are going to work out. Sometimes that’s all a team needs to become respectable again, like Peter was saying. Not conference dominating but respectable. One thing I am interested in seeing this year (like every year) is the team that will just surprise the bullshit out of everyone. Crazy shit can happen. Khabibulin is good. If he’s healthy and not sent to cryostasis “Demolition Man” style playing behind (___________) ah…fuck I don’t know, not worst place?

Poll: Is Taylor Hall ugly or handsome?

Vancouver: Sheeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…these guys have all the potential in the fas;dflksdfjgbfdlgs.afdsd;fdlkfa. Their whatever’s whatever is allllll that whatevers. Seriously Le San Jose de la Nord. They either get deeper in the playoffs or they don’t. I like Conrad’s bizarro world scenario of them doing horribly…what do you do with that? You kind of can’t blow up an amazing team. Our Sens couldn’t when things went south…like castles in the sand it drifted into the seas whatevsually.

Toronto: Alright. So, I just checked out all ten of TSN’s daily Toronto-based stories and video updates and I’m ready to discuss. (Side note: You know what is pretty refreshing about Puck Daddy? They think of Toronto like any other shitty team. They don’t write much about them for no reason. That’s nice.)

Real talk: I hate the shit out of this team. I wish a thousand plagues upon their house. Their stupid fans who fill our pink building and boo our captain can seriously go shit in the ocean.

Analysis corner: I don’t doubt that this team IS in the midst of a legit rebuild. A hateable, hateable rebuild. I think Burke has a plan and he’s sticking to it. We were all pretty scared he was going to sign Kovalchuk for a while. It’s not like the team of yesterday where it was literally Sundin with the entire building on his back. Burke is a better GM than John Fergusson Jr. (REMEMBER THAT EFFING GUY…man I miss that clown show). They have the potential to be NOT worst place…in a while. I also, wholeheartedly agree with what both of you said, overrated, overreported, bunch of dinks in the lineup. Kessel has got to be the Alexei Yashin of Toronto where you’re like “ugh gooooooo…Yashin…seriously can we not have a star player that I can get into like the other teams do?” (Minus Anaheim).

Kay, I’m getting all over the place here. I just want to say they will probably get better under Burke – note: I didn’t say under Wilson – also, I could totally stand for Ottawa to be two steps ahead of them until the end of time (2012).

In the spirit of Canadian brother and sisterhood here is a photo of my aunt Barb hanging with who has to be the most articulate guy in the league.

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