The season starts now

10Oct07

We’re one week into the regular season, but I’ve always considered the first week kind of throwaway. Not because the points don’t matter, but because the first week does what the preseason is supposed to do (but doesn’t really) — work out the kinks and figure out the flaws.

Everyone says they skate hard during the preseason but here in the real world, we all know that the goal from the veterans is to not get hurt. That’s why the first week is really the best time to assess what’s working and what’s not. With real points on the line, you can see how the rookies react under pressure (in the case of Patrick Kane, remarkably well; in the case of Bobby Ryan, not so well) and you can see how the veterans are meshing with the new rosters.

So now that everything’s getting settled, we’ve learned that Chicago can be competitive, Anaheim is depleted, San Jose’s still wishy-washy, and Washington can win. Does that predict the season? No, but it sets a precedant for what’s to come.

If your team’s been winning, you know you have potential. If your team’s been losing, you know you have flaws. As St. Louis and Colorado showed us last year, bad starts and early games can bite you in the ass during the stretch run; this is the time when bad starts can become mere bumps in the road or a precursor to disaster. This is also a time when good starts can be a pipe dream or a real sense of things to come.

Here’s some of the stories that will make or break a team early on. We’ll know the answers to them in a few weeks, and those answers could very well determine what happens in February and March:

-Will Viktor Kozlov continue his chemistry with Alex Ovechkin?
-Can Tomas Vokoun rediscover his game?
-Will Vesa Toskala actually get some defensive help in front of him?
-Will Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, and Ruslan Fedotenko be a flash in the pan or an actual effective front line for an extended period of time?
-Will Chris Drury continue to mesh with Jaromir Jagr? Will Scott Gomez continue to look lost?
-Will Jason Arnott continue to carry the flag for a Kariya/Forsberg/Hartnell-less Nashville?
-Will Edmonton’s young guns make a lasting impact?
-Will Paul Stastny keep up at least a point-per-game pace?
-Will Mike Keenan manage to get the Flames playing with fire (no pun intended)?

With a full slate of games starting tonight, I’m guessing the kinks are starting to be worked out and we’ll get a true sense of where teams are going starting tonight.

And on a completely unrelated note, I’m glad to see that the mainstream media has started to notice just how god-awful the Sharks’ away jerseys are. I’m reserving judgment on the dark home jerseys until I see them in person Saturday night, but there’s no way in Hades that I’m buying one of those white ones.

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4 Responses to “The season starts now”

  1. 1 The Puck Stops Here

    That’s a very good insight. Its one of those things that has me almost embarrassed to say I never thought of it first – because in hindsight its obviously a good interpretation.

  2. 2 andrew

    Amen dude, those white jerseys straight up blow nuts.

    I don’t think the dark ones are going to be great, but at least they’ll be an improvement.

    You gonna be at the game on Saturday?

  3. 3 Mike Chen

    I will be there, rockin’ my now-vintage jersey.

  4. 4 andrew

    Cool…Tracie and I will be there too. We should get a beer or something. Look for me, I’ll be the only person wearing a Curtis Brown jersey.

    Well, aside from Curtis Brown, I guess.


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