When it comes to the finally-ending NHL lockout, there aren’t many negatives going forward. We just spent three-plus months in the equivalent of the hockey dark ages, where the only things we were missing were pitchforks, public hangings and the plague.
The only small factor that sucks? All of a sudden, the NFL playoffs take a big backseat on the show, as they should. We love talking hockey, and there’s suddenly loads of hockey to talk about.
With that in mind — the following could be the best of both worlds. A little Northwest Division preview with an NFL narrative comparison. Which two franchises match up, and why?
Calgary Flames — The hometown team, maybe unfortunately, are the NHL’s version of the Arizona Cardinals — it’s been three years since the last playoff appearance, and the face of the franchise (Larry Fitzgerald/Jarome Iginla) hasn’t had much to play with — and chances of a title are in question, although they’ll always be remembered for that one memorable trip to the final.
Colorado Avalanche — Are they underrated? Are they overrated? I just… can’t… tell. Oh, hey there Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is some very good young talent here. Doug Martin/Josh Freeman is comparable to Gabriel Landeskog/Matt Duchene. It COULD be a playoff team, but we’re not about to throw them under the bus for not being one. they haven’t burnt it to the ground like some franchises, but aren’t afraid of the lottery either. Ready to take the next step. Or not. Maybe make up your mind guys.
Edmonton Oilers — The upstart Oilers keep getting high picks, they keep taking star players, and most of the hockey world thinks they’ll eventually be great, maybe even this year. But so far, no dice. The same holds true for the Detroit Lions. Wow, look at all these good players! … 4-12.
Minnesota Wild — The Philadelphia Eagles made a massive free-agent splash in the NFL a couple of years ago. It ended in disaster, but boy did they throw themselves out there. The Minnesota Wild hope the end result won’t be the same story, but big money deals to Parise and Suter sure look good before the puck is dropped.
Vancouver Canucks — The Atlanta Falcons come to mind. An elite team, of this there is no doubt, but there’s just something about them that makes you wonder if they’ll be ready to sit on top of the mountain. Prone to the upset, (ok, the disastrous fold) but with as good a chance as anyone as the regular season rolls around.
That’s just the NW Division. Any other comparables come to mind? Who are the KC Chiefs? Who are the champs?