Saturday, September 27, 2008


Okay, here we go. The NHL pre-season is in full swing; teams are feeling their way through it with the hopes that their newly adjusted rosters will bring them rich rewards. Timing, chemistry and learning systems are only a few of the bugs being ironed out feverishly as they gear up for October 4th.

While everyone is busy speculating how well (or poor) their team will do and predictions are already running rampant, I can’t seem to take my focus off the fact that once this season is done we will have another dream lottery by way of the “Tavares Sweepstakes”. I know what you’re thinking, “Gregsky, the season hasn’t even started and you want to talk about the next draft? Just what are you putting in your coffee man?” I know, I know, but I just can’t get away from it when I look at some of the rosters that teams are icing this year. I’m already convinced that no matter how much I try to focus on the teams that will be leading the league this year, keeping an eye on the bottom dwellers will divert my attention all season. It’s going to happen and I won’t be able to do a thing to stop it.

For some reason I have a feeling that we will have more teams with sub-par records making the playoffs this year. The last 3 playoff spots in each conference could very well be noticed earlier this year than in years past as there just might be fewer teams fighting for them. However, the race for the worst record (and best lottery chance) will be jam packed with teams in a battle to become the league’s ultimate loser. Which, in the end, will make them the ultimate winner.

We have seen what being a loser has done for some teams lately when impact players come through the draft that are clearly above the rest of the pack. If there were a year to become the biggest loser, this is the year. How hard will the bottom dwellers work in March and April when the light at the end of the tunnel is John Tavares? My guess is not very. I can’t help but imagine the Leafs, Thrashers, Panthers, Islanders, Canucks, Kings, Blues, Oilers, Sabres and Blue Jackets all fighting to be the worst they can be in the hopes of landing a player that could turn their fortunes around. And you might even be able to throw in the Canes, Preds, Bolts and Yotes to that mix just to make things interesting. Any of the aforementioned teams stands a good chance of “earning” the dubious yet attractive title of becoming the worst of the worst.

So while everyone is focused on who the best teams are going to be I will be keeping an eye on the other side of the coin. Call me crazy (it’s okay I know you want to) but I think it will be a bigger dogfight to suck than to succeed this year. Now that I have spread some sunshine, my work here is done. Enjoy!

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