NHL: Ten Things to Watch in the Second Half
All the beers in the mini fridge are gone, the bags are packed, and the boys are headed back to work.
I love watching hockey after the All-Star break, it's as if everyone realized that it's time to get down to the business of making the playoffs.
Unless, of course, you play for Tampa Bay Lightning or Toronto and are already booking some premium tee times for April.
Here is a list of what I'm anticipating during the second half of the season...
10. The Daniel Alfredsson Show
Daniel Alfredsson is picking up speed and will probably stay in high gear for the rest of the season. Even though I can't say his name without tasting bile, this could be his biggest season yet, especially with Zetterberg and Crosby down and out.
9. Detroit Rock City
The Red Wings are rolling once again, on pace for another record worthy season. Who knew? But Red Wings fans would do well to learn from Senators fans; a record-breaking season means diddly come playoff time.
8. Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens kicking butt, demonstrating how patience, drafts, and exemplary management build a successful hockey team. Taking notes, Peddie?
7. Bryan McCabe
The return of Bryan McCabe to Toronto. Maybe all this time out of the limelight will have improved his game. Hey, I'm the eternal optimist.
6. Jerome Iginla
Calgary Flames' Jerome Iginla is lighting matches under his teammates and making Mike proud. Though, I must admit, I much prefer the yelling, rip-snorting mad Mike.
5. Nasville Predators
Nashville is a town known for its stars and entertainment. These boys may not play a lot of defense, but they sure are entertaining to watch. Let's see how far they go.
Roberto Luongo has rekindled Vancouver's thirst for the Cup. Perhaps their captain will get his act together. Perhaps they will make a move for a consistent offensive player. Perhaps, as always, fans will wait in vain, staking their hopes on a goaltender. Perhaps Rock 101 will come up with another twisted tune, as this one gets stuck in my head for days.
3. The Cliff Fletcher saga
It is a brand-new soap opera eerily reminiscent of earlier Leaf eras. Got something new for us, Cliffie? And just who will fill your orthopedic shoes in the season finale?
At least two weeks of Crosby-free highlight reels. C'mon, you get sick of it too.
1. The trade deadline
It could provide interesting entertainment this year. Obviously Toronto might make a move, but I'd also keep an eye on Vancouver, Nashville, and Buffalo.
One thing is certain: No matter how hungover I may be, hockey always makes me feel better.
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