Hopefully Columbus being in the title of this has caught some attention. Clearly everyone enjoys ripping on the not so lovable losers of the NHL. I must say as a disclaimer I do enjoy Columbus, and for reasons other than the fact that tickets are incredibly cheap to see what ever more exciting team is visiting central Ohio. Its a damn shame those rumors about Columbus switching conferences with Winnipeg this season weren't true. It would be fantastic seeing our favorite team play here this season. Thats enough of a rambling introduction, hope I haven't lost anyone. Here's how I got through the lockout in Columbus.
1. Not ashamed to brownose a bit here, BSH certainly helped.
2. A little unsure of the rules on posting other websites here, but www.hockeybuzz.com , "Ecklund"'s rumor website absolutely kept things interesting during the roller coaster ride which was the 119 or so day lockout. I'd suggest checking it out occasionally if you haven't seen it before.
3. World Junior Hockey. USA baby. (While very unlikely, how great would Seth Jones look in a Flyers jersey?)
6. And this. Damn it we're gonna miss you Jags.
7. Occasionally chirping the surprising amount of Penguins fans here. Nothing worse than someone claiming to love the Penguins/hate the Flyers because their grandparents live in a suburb of Pittsburgh and drove past the igloo once or something like that. Really you love the Pens? Tell me anything that happened before Sid. Reminding them of last years playoffs is a not so guilty pleasure.
And how I plan to get through this season
1. National Television. Obviously the Flyers are a team of (inter)national interest, and they will be on the NBC networks quite often. And who doesn't enjoy Doc Emrick calling any game?
2. NHL Center Ice. Would've been great if Gary could have somehow made this TV package deal free or a lot cheaper, but for 50 or so dollars I will gladly watch the Flyers home broadcast and enjoy Jim Jackson, Keith Jones, and of course Coatsey. -side note: maybe Bob has learned more English since coming to Columbus. For those who don't catch the reference, see here.
3. US air direct flights.
4. Road trips to Pittsburgh.
5. And if all else fails, on February 5th or about 30 bucks I can sit right up on the glass to watch the LA Kings. Maybe even show up to watch Nashville's Shea Weber here or there.
..In all seriousness, it is just great to be talking about hockey and not the lockout. Thanks Scott Beckenbaugh. Now down to business.
It's not a particularly bold statement to say the defense is a question mark for this year. An aging Timonen and a few guys who would be 3rd pair players on other teams will possibly contribute to more of a challenge in front of Bryz. Puck movement from the blue liners will be critical in my opinion. I would expect teams to try and forecheck as aggressively as the Devils did in the playoffs last year, which caused quite a few problems. While our pricy, inconsistent goaltender will certainly be under the microscope all year, I do believe he will bounce back. He knows the media and city now, seemed to work his way out of a KHL slump, and if nothing else, "G" said last year he thinks Bryz would be one of the league's best this year.
This teams strengths clearly lye with the forwards. However, as fans we need to understand that Simmonds, Talbot, Hartnell and Read had outstanding seasons that will be hard to replicate. Personally I'm excited to see the Talbot-Couturier-Voracek line, although I'd expect things to be shuffled when Danny B returns, in addition to whatever decision is made after Laughton plays his 5th game. The top line production should be paid close attention to as well. Losing Jagr will have an impact-hopefully Schenn takes comes up big in his sophomore season.
Looking forward to seeing what the
2012 - 2013 season brings. Go Flyers.