This past week, you may have read so-called "hockey prognosticators'" predictions for the last half of the NHL season on various Web sites. Will Tim Thomas keep up his torrid pace and win the Vezina? Does Joe Thornton have a viable shot to win the Hart Memorial Trophy?
Here are three original storylines that I'm boldly predicting to occur during the final 35 or so NHL regular season games in 2009.
Maple Leafs Sign Sean Avery—Food Fights Ensue
Looking for personality to add to his team, new Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke will trade winger Jamal Mayers to the Dallas Stars for the oft-disciplined Sean Avery on February 5.
While Burke and the rest of the Maple Leafs organization knew they were getting a player with heavy baggage, they never expected the vileness he would bring to the team.
In his first game with Toronto after the trade—against the Canadiens—Avery will skate onto the ice holding a container, and immediately place it at the end of his team's bench.
During the first period, upset over how D-men Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek, in his words, "love to fall in love with my sloppy seconds," Avery runs to the bench to pick up the container and blinds yes, Komisarek, with the contents—Shrimp Fried Rice.
While Avery rubs the cold shrimp and rice over Komisarek's face, Avery yaps, "So you like my leftovers, eh?"
As you might know, Phaneuf and Komisarek have both dated Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert.
Surprisingly, Avery only receives a 12 game suspension and for some reason is allowed to play in the Leafs' game against the Flames a month later. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gives Avery a warning that another messy outburst would blackball him from the league for life.
Afraid over possible copycat acts in the NHL, the league comes up with yet another Avery-induced rule—a 10-minute "food misconduct" penalty, in which the violator is immediately ejected.
In the aforementioned game against the Flames, Avery wastes no time and throws a container filled with meatloaf—later determined to be a day old after a rigorous investgation—at Phaneuf during the pre-game skate.
However, Phaneuf did come prepared—fighting back with lasagna that he hid under his helmet. Phaneuf bowed to the Maple Leaf crowd after being sent off with a food misconduct.
Avery subsequently received a lifetime ban from the NHL after his most recent display of conduct. However, it wouldn't be long 'til Avery found another job—this time as the official spokesman for Rubbermaid products.
Ovechkin and Malkin To Live Happily Ever After?
Much has been said about the Alex Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin rivalry. Once good friends, the relationship has now soured.
The kinship seemed to publicly fall apart on October 16, 2008, where it appeared Ovechkin deliberately hunted Malkin for a good part of the game, attempting to violently run him down.
The two were forced to pose in peace-accord-like photos for two Russian newspapers during this weekend's All-Star festivities, perhaps to show readers that the rivalry is really a figment of people's imaginations.
The following night, the duo pulled off a quick pseudo Carrot Top routine during the NHL SuperSkills competition, setting up Ovechkin's text-vote victory in the Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge.
After hearing the raucous response from the crowd after the competition, the two will start to become obsessed with the rivalry, appearing on numerous talk shows performing well-known Abbott and Costello routines.
In an jaw-dropping event, the two will join hands in an actual civil union performed before the Penguins-Caps game on March 8.
The two, whom at this point are obviously obsessed with their pairing, will leave professional hockey and live together in the first-ever year-round reality show, broadcast on Fox, called "Ovie and the Penguin."
Don't worry Canadian fans. The show will be shown on CBC.
Potvin Sucks! Part Deux
Desperate for national notoriety, the hapless New York Islanders will trade 38-year-old Bill Guerin to the San Jose Sharks for 43-year-old Claude Lemieux on March 4, the day of the NHL trade deadline. On the surface, this seems like a horrible trade for the Isles, but the team has ulterior plans for hockey's resident senior citizen.
The next day, the Islanders will inexplicably sign alums Clark Gillies and Denis Potvin, 54 and 55 years old, respectively, to one day contracts, ironically—or maybe not—for the team's game that night against the New York Rangers.
The duo, along with Lemieux, will start the game on a line against the Rangers' No. 1 grouping.
Ten seconds into the game, the three will simultaneously hip check forwards Markus Naslund, Chris Drury and Nikolai Zherdev, breaking each of their ankles. The injury will knock the trio out for 12 weeks, including the playoffs.
Rangers fans, who are rightfully incensed, will struggle to come up with a new chant announcing the sucking of Claude Lemieux, Clark Gillies and Potvin, to replace the long-running "Potvin Sucks!" chant currently yelled at all home games.
Unable to come up with a chant, Blueshirt fans will loudly drone "Lemieux, Gilles, Potvin Sucks!" at games, leading to many sore throats.
However, Ricola will take advantage of this situation, giving each Rangers fan a free pack of Cherry Honey Herb Throat Drops at home games.
Terms of the deal, which were negotiated by Ricola CEO Adrian Kohler and Rangers superfan "Dancin' Larry," include a mandatory chant of "Riiicccooolllaaa" at the beginning of the first, second and third periods at Madison Square Garden.