Good morning Pittsburgh,
Well done Buccos, well done Buccos. Playoff baseball is taking center stage in Pittsburgh and have those fans ever earned it. PNC Park was rocking last night. On to the division series they go.
Lost in that hoopla was the fact that the long-awaited season is finally upon us. Three games were on tap on opening night, and we started in Montreal, where Bell Centre was rocking. The CBC opening montage was awesome and we were all ready for the puck to drop but, no, there were pregame festivities more elaborate than the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, torch and all. Not kidding. Starting with the equipment guys, every person in the building was announced in two languages, Eurovision-style ("The Netherlands, ten points; Pays-Bas, dix points). There was a brief glimpse of Douglas Murray that had me nostalgic, Danny Briere looks as awful in red as he does in orange, I laughed at George Parros's 'stache but he was stretchered off and hospitalized later on because he decided he'd fight Colton Orr not once but twice. So that game sizzled, then fizzled. The Leafs won 4-3.
I happily missed the Blackhawks' Cup gloating festivities, though I hear it was a good game. A hattie for Grabovski and this guy Ovechkin also scored although he didn't know what time zone he was in. Then the game between Edmonton and Winnipeg started but was interrupted by a fire alarm. One common theme prevailed throughout: lots of goals scored, and given that five of six starting goalies were Canadian Olympic hopefuls, our neighbors to the north are already wringing their hands because all their goalies suck.
Now that the 2013-14 NHL season, known in the rest of the world as the Teemu Selanne Farewell Tour, has started, the question is how we're going to part from arguably the most beloved player in the league. Due to realignment and some lucky scheduling, Anaheim will visit each of the 29 remaining NHL cities so everyone will have a chance to say good-bye to the Finnish Flash. Down Goes Brown lists catchy slogans for all these teams to market the last opportunity to see the retiring legend. They don't need to market it to me. Got my ticket for the 29th.
With the departure of Jason Pominville who wore the "C" from 2011-2013, there was a vacant captaincy on the Buffalo Sabres. There were several worthy candidates to choose from, but the Sabres couldn't just pick one guy and stick with him. Instead, they'll have two co-captains: Thomas Vanek will be captain for home games, while Steve Ott will wear the C for road games. That sounds like a plan. Also, Edmonton Oilers have no less than 6 (six) alternate captains. This is like when Tito died and these guys couldn't decide who should run the country so they appointed six co-presidents and two adjuncts (each of six republics proper had a guy and each of two autonomous provinces had an adjunct guy), after which the whole country promptly went to hell in a handbasket.
Ooohh, here's my favorite kind of prediction: who's the first coach to be fired in 2013-14? Bovada says Peter Laviolette. Mind you, he's now the longest tenured coach in Philadelphia (everyone else has been around for less than a year). Also, ProHockeyTalk previews the season with an interesting lineup of 30 questions and 180 answers. Lots of interesting guesswork out there. The season is young.
Happy second day of Buctober!