This weekend marks the end of the long, mostly-hockeyless summer. Starting next week, we can look forward to training camps opening, competition for roster spots, and previews for the coming NHL season. So before you head out for a few days of grilling, sunshine, and college football, I wanted to share a few quick thoughts:
- The Vancouver Canucks unveiled their new NHL jerseys earlier this week, and I have to say I like them. At least it doesn't seem like a layout that's been designed to appeal to the 12 year-old skatepunk crowd.
- The Southeast Division, which boasted the smallest gap (27 points) between top & bottom last year, could perhaps get even tighter this fall. Florida has added Tomas Vokoun, and Washington a number of solid additions, while the three teams above them have largely stood still.
- For a flashback to the dawn of the David Poile's days as an NHL general manager, head over to Dump and Chase, where there's a fine piece discussing how he got his job in Washington, where he led the Caps to 14 straight playoff appearances. Thanks to Eric over at Off Wing Opinion for pointing this one out.
- With Steve Sullivan out for three months after a second back surgery, will Poile try and beef up the Predators' roster with one of the many free agents left on the market? Sure, they're not great options, but perhaps giving a guy like Jason Allison or Mike Johnson a shot might help bridge the gap, and provide some trade fodder once Sully returns.
- The fall rec-league season will be starting soon, which means I've got hustle off the pounds I've put back on since last season. Who knows, maybe these guys will let me skate with them to help me get back in shape.
- Has anybody done a better job of improving their roster this summer than the L.A. Kings? If they could acquire a prime-time goaltender, they'd be a real dark horse out West.
- I agree with E.J. Hradek that the Red Wings are going to take a slight step backwards this season. They should still handily win the Central division, but Hasek & Chelios are going to break down eventually, and I think Lang & Calder are going to be missed more than most Detroit fans would admit.
Have a great weekend!