... until hockey season begins! The NHL is opening in Europe again this year, with several games being played in Helsinki, Prague, and Stockholm. Opening Day... October 7th... will be marvelous, with three games on teevee for the hockey faithful. I'll be there, of course. But the REAL season for me will begin on October 12th, when the Beloved Wings play the Hated Avalanche in the season's first national telecast. Speaking of the Wings... there's this in today's USA Today hockey column. Excerpt:
When I was at the World Hockey Summit, I was asked by an NHL scout whether I agreed with his assessment that the Detroit Red Wings might finally be on the way down.And you KNOW there's more. Last year was a disappointment for us fans of The Winged Wheel but hope springs eternal. I'm expecting great things out of Detroit this year, assuming they stay healthy. That's prolly a reasonable assumption because last year's rash of injuries was highly unusual. Here's hopin'.
"Actually I think they could be the team to beat in the West," I said.
Per my tradition, I will probably change my mind a couple of times before I make my final predictions before the season launches. But If I had to make my projections today, I would choose Detroit as No. 1 in the West. San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago still round out my top four.
Here are some reasons why I rank Detroit No. 1 in the West:
1. Once the Red Wings worked through their bushel of injuries last season, they were 16-3-2 over the last quarter of the season. Anticipating fewer injuries this season, the Red Wings might score 30 more goals and be among the top-scoring teams again.