Thrown away to the "middle of nowhere" (Ithaca, NY), it appeared as though I'd be unable to attend Philly's home opener aka banner raising ceremony aka the game against the Avs.
Alas, it dawned on me last night that I would be on Fall Break and that the streak could continue.
With that, I'll be sitting third row in the attacking end next Monday night, rooting for our team to get their (hopefully) second win of the season.
The pre-season is over. Real hockey is upon us again. Some things I'm thinking:
-Avalanche players I'm most excited to watch? Chris Stewart, Ryan O'Reilly, Brandon Yip, David Jones.
-Joe Sacco needs to do something about these last second goals. It happened in the last two games of the pre-season - the Avs losing on goals scored in the final couple minutes - and it haunted the team last year. Tighten up the D.
-Hopefully the defense gets better because it's a really likable group on paper.
-Can Craig Anderson do what he did last season? No, but only because Peter Budaj will get the chance to play at least 20 games.
-The Avs probably won't go to the Cup this season, but a second round appearance is certainly feasible.
-The Vancouver Canucks will not win the Cup, either. They're the trendy pick this season, but it's not happening. Roberto Luongo has proven crap since he's been a Canuck and has shown no indication he can carry a team to the Finals.
-The New York Islanders will make the Playoffs this season, Losing Kyle Okposo hurt, but the Isles improved dramatically at the end of last season, and there's no reason why John Tavares can't pick it up in his sophomore year.
-Who will miss the Playoffs in the East? Every team in the Southeast except the Capitals and Lightning. Also missing will be the Maple Leafs, Senators, Rangers, and the Canadiens.
-And in the West? Deepest apologies to the Blue Jackets, Flames, Wild, Oilers, Coyotes, Stars, Red Wings, and Blues.
-Red Wings and Flames missing the playoffs? Avalanche fan's wet dream. But the Wings almost did the unthinkable last year with that dreadful start. Don't look for such a significant rebound if it happens again in 2010-11. As for the Flames, I'm not worried about Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay part 2.
-The Penguins-Capitals Winter Classic will be the most watched Winter Classic game so far. Some people are pissed at the league for giving the Pens a second bid to the game, but would anybody have passed up on the ratings bonanza that's going to ensue? I'm sick of Ovechkin-Crosby as well, but I still enjoy watching the Penguins-Capitals games every season. Maybe we'll even see Evgeni Malkin vs Ovechkin.
-Hart: Alex Ovechkin
-Richard: Alex Ovechkin
-Art Ross: Evgeni Malkin
-Vezina: Ryan Miller
-Norris: Shea Weber
-Calder: Magnus Svensson
-Jack Adams: Guy Boucher
-Yeah, ok, so I'm boring and going for the obvious picks. Lets be real, though. Crosby and Ovechkin will compete for the Hart until one of them sees significant injury time.
-Some highlight videos for the road:
Four days away from the continuation of the new era in Avalanche hockey.
Are you pumped?