Volume 95, Issue 22

Thursday, October 11, 2001
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Meatheads and golf with Lucifer in the NHL

Mustangs go down swinging

They're athletes, not angels

Meatheads and golf with Lucifer in the NHL

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
THE GUYS WERE ALL JEALOUS - BRIAN HAD THE MOTHER OF ALL BEER MUGS. Who will take the silver stein of hockey supremacy this year?

Concussions, substance abuse, the captain of Team Canada and a Leaf team with a defence just waiting to implode. The Eastern Conference has it all – except a team that can win the Stanley Cup.

Despite a plethora of blockbuster trades and off-season signings, it seems the Eastern Conference still lacks a power-broking team to take on the likes of either mighty Colorado or the disgustingly, well-stacked Detroit Red Wings of the West.

However, playing for runner-up can still be glorious, delusional fun – and in a long NHL season and playoff run, anything can happen.

In the money

Finally, Philadelphia Flyers fans can rest easy. There is no more "Big E" distraction and no more excuses. Bobby Clarke can go back to playing golf with Lucifer and the team can set their goal on winning the East.

The addition of Jeremy Roenick will add fuel to a roster ready to explode, but Philly goaltending still remains suspect.

The New Jersey Devils lost Alexander Mogiliny in the off-season, but still possess the deepest roster in the East. They should go neck-and-neck with Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title and could easily repeat as conference champions.

The Washington Capitals, despite the addition of Jaromir Jagr, still lack the defensive ingredients to pull-off a long playoff run.

However, they play in the weakest division this side of little league and should rack up the points to take one of the top spots in the conference.

Knockin' on the door

The East has always had much more strength in the middle tier than the West. For starters, you have the Toronto Maple Leafs who re-shuffled their offense with the acquisition of Alexander Mogilny, Robert Reichel and Mikael Renberg.

Cujo still rocks, but unless some improvement is made in their defense, the Leafs may be up-ended in the first round of this years' playoffs.

Either get some D or get Tie Domi to go out and whack everyone – the latter would be more entertaining.

Despite the absence of hold-out Jason Allison – Boston seems poised for a return to the playoffs. Joe Thornton is blooming into one of the brightest young stars in the league and a supporting cast of Sergei Samsonov, Bill Guerin and the highly overpaid Martin Lapointe should allow the Bruins to excel.

Yes, they lost Alexei Yashin and flopped in last years' playoffs, but the Ottawa Senators should still get into Lord Stanley's tournament.

Carolina is still solid, but they're not a real hockey team, so let's not talk about them.

Three teams that will do better you think – the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Thrashers.

There's always next year

I'm sorry Mario – you're a good guy – but you can't carry the Pittsburgh Penguins on your back this year. The Pens will be lucky to squeak into the last playoff spot.

New York, call Aaron Spelling this is a soap opera waiting to happen. It has washed up veterans, substance abusing stars, a spoiled meathead named Eric who is one hit in the head away from la la land. Poor general manger Glen Sather – the hockey gods weep for you.

Tampa Bay, Florida, Buffalo – you suck.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001