Fan vs Fan

Friday, September 30, 2011

The DGS 2011-12 Season Preview: What you need to know about all 30 Teams, Western Conference Edition

So you've all wanted it. Now you're gonna get it. DGS has his "Internet Famous" NHL Previews. We're gonna look at the Western Conference first, and soon, the Eastern conference. After that, I'll continue with my look at the eastern conference.

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks:
Key Strength: Acquired Ray Emery (on a PTO) and Dan Carcillo which decidedly boosts the Hawks advantage on "players who lost in the Cup Finals" category
Key Weakness: By loaning Cristobal Huet back to Europe, the Hawks lack "goalies who are overpaid and terrible"
What If...: Patrick Sharp is unable to play appendix free hockey?

Detroit Red Wings:

Key Strength: The ability to save money by ordering all team meals off the Senior's menu at every restaurant.
Key Weakness: It's getting harder to keep Lidstrom Bot 5000 running at peak efficiency all the time.
What If...: Todd Bertuzzi wasn't a spineless scumbag? Would people then actually notice Abdelkader, Smith and others were just as dirty?

St. Louis Blues:

Key Strength: Jaroslav Halak has been known to be kind of good at playing goalie in the playoffs.
Key Weakness: The ability to make the playoffs.
What If...: the Blues didn't trade for a bunch of Colorado Avalanche players?

Nashville Predators:

Key Strength: Shea Weber's beard and slapshot.
Key Weakness: After Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback, the Predators have a lack of Scandinavian giant goaltenders in their system.
What If...: David Poile didn't buy out Brett Lebda?

Columbus Blue Jackets:

Key Strength: Between Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, the Jackets have the capability to unleash up to 500 attempted shots per game.
Key Weakness: Due to Jeff Carter always going high and wide, only about 10 of these shots will actually hit the net.
What If...: James Wisniewski gets suspended for telling the world what Jeff Carter gets from women?

Northwest Division

Colorado Avalanche:
Key Strength: The fact that Avalanche fans won't have to debate over who to take first overall in 2012 due to not having a pick
Key Weakness: The Brian Burke technique of dealing lottery picks for RFA's didn't win a Cup for Burke's team.
What If...: the Avalanche find a way to do something other than be a doormat?

Minnesota Sharks Wild:

Key Strength: Acquired a team that's guaranteed to bring offensive punch and make the playoffs.
Key Weakness: Mikko Koivu has yet to show that he has Joe Thornton's "distinct choking" ability in the playoffs.
What If...: Nick Backstrom could score like the other Nick Backstrom?

Calgary Flames:

Key Strength: Have a team with more chemistry than any other team due to this group having been together since 2007
Key Weakness: The Maple Leafs never played the playoffs either.
What If...: the Flames weren't Sutter'd?

Edmonton Oilers:

Key Strength: Picking 1st overall 3 years in a row isn't illegal
Key Weakness: It's still Edmonton.
What If...: Khabi decides jail is better than playing in Edmonton?

Vancouver Canucks:

Key Strength: Have a very capable starting goaltender ready to lead the Canucks to yet another loss in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Key Weakness: Cory Schneider is still stuck behind Roberto LOLongo.
What If...: the Sedins just decided to switch jerseys for the laughs?

Pacific Division

Phoenix Coyotes:
Key Strength: By having a goalie tandem of Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera, the Coyotes won't have to worry about answering the question of "how long can our number 1 goalie play?"
Key Weakness: Kyle Turris's attempt to relocate before the Coyotes has many of hiss teammates confused.
What If...: the Coyotes had a permanent home?

San Jose Wild Sharks:

Key Strength: Acquired a team that's guaranteed to bring something and miss the playoffs.
Key Weakness: Mikko Koivu has yet to show that he has Joe Thornton's "distinct choking" ability in the playoffs.
What If...: Nick Backstrom could score like the other Nick Backstrom?

Dallas Stars:

Key Strength: No longer have to deal with Brad Richards contract drama
Key Weakness: Are still Dallas's best hope of fielding a playoff team in any sport not named baseball.
What If...: Mark Cuban bought the Stars?

Los Angeles Kings:

Key Strength: Acquired a ton of Flyers players who are familiar with Terry Murray and John Stevens as coaches?
Key Weakness: The only thing Michael Richards won while John Stevens coached was a Calder Cup.
What If...: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, Drew Doughty?

Anaheim Ducks:

Key Strength: Have a very strong top line followed by an ageless Finnish God on the second line.
Key Weakness: The U2 Album in goal.
What If...: the Ducks actually kept Vesa Toskala?

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