Good morning everyone. 34 days...
After a disappointing end to the shortened 2013 season, Sidney Crosby is ready to start another campaign. This year, his focus will be on burying more of his chances and improving his defensive play. The 2013-14 season will be interrupted for two weeks for the Sochi Olympics, where Sid hopes to have another opportunity for a medal. This time, he appears to be the leading candidate to be captain of the Canadian team. Team Canada will not officially name the captain until after the roster is announced in late December, but coach Mike Babcock said he would offer the job to someone well in advance. What do you guys think? Sid for captain? Toews? Weber?
Also up in the air is who'll captain the Russian team. Kovalchuk has, predictably, been named SKA captain again (as he was last season when he played there during the lockout) and many predict that his grand patriotic gesture of returning home to play in the KHL while still in his prime would get him the C on the Olympic jersey. Others say it's Datsyuk's turn to captain. With all due respect to these guys, Russian team actually has a captain by the name of Ilya Nikulin. Should he not make the team or should they decide to name someone else, I can't see anyone other than NHL's reigning MVP. It's Ovie's team after all and everyone knows it.
American team concluded their camp in Arlington. The big question is can Dan Bylsma match or exceed what Ron Wilson did with the US team in Vancouver? An actual decent article on Puck Daddy looks at the coaching transition from 2010 to 2014 with very little player turnover.
Phil Kessel was the most photographed man in Arlington. This image will stay with me forever. Just kidding. How can you NOT love this guy? While we're on Kessel, his future with the Leafs is still very much up in the air. He doesn't seem too eager to negotiate his extension in Toronto. He sounds very doubtful about the Leafs' prospects of reaching the playoffs out of the Flortheast Division, and there is a more than realistic chance that he will indeed become a free agent next summer. The Toronto off-season is just total and utter misery.
It's the Pittsburgh Penguins day on Pro Hockey Talk. They review our off-season and concerns regarding next season. Like most others, they forgot that Chris Kunitz exists, but other than that we're all good.
Japer's Rink looks at the top 10 players at each position in the Metropolitan Division (it hurts to type this). Next up they look at right wingers. Pascal Dupuis is nowhere to be found in the top 10. I repeat, this is a list of top right wingers in our division. Not in the NHL. Sometimes I honestly wonder what Duper and Kuni need to do to be recognized as top wingers in this league. What I do know is that after years and years of "get the winger for Crosby" no Pens fan has thought about that in a long time. But the rest of the world thinks 'they play with Crosby, OF COURSE they are scoring'. Catch 22.
Have a great day folks. Weather in Philly is pretty bad, thus the song of the day.