2017-18 POPSICLE BROTHERS REPORT – 2: WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW

By Gary Norris Gray, Columnist and Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief

BASN Newsroom

 

OAKLAND (http://www.basnnewsroom.com): Mr. McClean, Mr. Ingram, and Mr. Gray, “The MIG Line” will take the ice in the Western Conference with the Pacific and Central Divisions. We will take you through the 2017-18 season with our hockey insights. Last week it was the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions, this week we move west.

First, we must address the political and social issues on the ice and in the country.  The hockey season has started with an especially competitive Western Conference facing off with controversy spilling over from the National Football League about the American flag, standing or not, kneeling, and the American National Anthem.

 

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African-Americans and Black Canadians are being swept into this discussion whether they want to be involved or not. This past weekend, Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown raised his fist while the anthem was played in Florida. The American press corps dragged Black Canadians in this conversation, and Joel Ward of the San Jose Sharks stated he would be standing but it was none of their (press) business. New York Islander Josh Ho-Sang gave reporters a very insightful message.

 

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“I think what the NFL players are doing is amazing. It’s good that they’re all sticking together,” Ho-Sang said on Monday. “I mean, I’m Canadian, so I don’t have too much input on the matter itself. It will affect me living in the States, but the biggest thing is it’s unfortunate that the message may have gotten lost a little. Now it’s becoming a battle between the NFL and the president and originally [the protests] started because of police brutality and the mistreatment of different races.”

Georges Laraque, a Montreal native stated he was not happy with the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the White House and Number 45 this winter. He was not surprised the conservative NHL did not take a stand and he was embarrassed with the league’s action or non-action.

 

 

The Nashville Predators’ star defenseman P.K. Subban stated:

“People are allowed to voice their opinion,” Subban said Wednesday of recent activism. “People are allowed to do that. As far as what we’re doing in this locker room, that’s a consensus among our dressing room. If something changes for somebody, then that’s their right. But as a team, that’s what we’re going to do. … You’ve seen other teams do different things, and that’s fine. At the end of the day, we’re all going to stand together as a team.”

 

THE WEST

Hockey fans could be witnessing the changing of the guard or the passing of the torch in the Midwest. The Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues are all getting older and will have to fight off the new powerhouses, the younger Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames.

HISTORY

Thirty years ago Wayne Gretzky from the five-time champion Edmonton Oilers traveled southwest to the struggling Los Angeles Kings. This move saved the league and their new franchises. The National Hockey League with the help of number 99 would expand to Anaheim and San Jose California. Mr. Gretzky put hockey on the west coast map with fans in Phoenix, Arizona and Denver, Colorado with the Coyotes and Avalanche.

Thirty years later another star would help the NHL and bolster the NHL’s southern teams. Defenseman P.K. Subban went from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators. The Preds slip into the playoffs and ended up in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mr. Subban number 76 rejuvenated hockey in the south. People wanted to see hockey in Tennessee, the country music state. The Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lighting, and the Dallas Stars showed an increase in attendance in the 2015-16 season.

P.K. Subban and Wayne Gretzky put hockey on the American sports map.

CENTRAL DIVISION

PREDATORS

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The Nashville Predators will be a contender again this year as the administration retained the team they had a year ago with the addition of defensemen Alexei Emelin and center Nick Bonino. Roman Josi replaces Mike Fisher as team captain with P.K. Subban wearing the “A” alternate captain this year. P.K. will soon wear that coveted “C” if he stays in Nashville long enough. The “C” The Montreal Canadiens would never allow that.

Don’t believe us? Ask yourself this – how the FUCK do the Canadiens vote for anyone other than Subban as their Man of The Year after he donated (cue Dr. Evil horn vamp) $10 Million Dollars – the largest donation ever by a Canadian athlete – to The Childrens’ Hospital? (Max Pacioretty was Montreal’s representative)

Goalie Pekka Renne holds the fort in net for Nashville to make another run for the Cup.

The Nashville Predators will not be a surprise this year.

WILD

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The Minnesota Wild will be breaking hearts this year with their playoff experience the last three seasons; they should be ready in 2017. Goal Brother right wing Chris Stewart will guide them into contention also with cagey veteran right wing- Zach Parise, from the New Jersey Devils. The Devils still miss him and have fallen to the Eastern basement.

Impressed with the maturity of centers Eric Staal, and Mikko Koivu, who need to score more if the Wild want to stay in playoffs.

Goalie Dubnyk tired out at the end of last season so the Wild are going to have to protect him this year. Defensemen Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba should help. 

BLACKHAWKS

The Chicago Blackhawks just backed up the truck and unloaded their veterans. Goaltender Corey Crawford will now be more important than ever with all of his new teammates. Crawford will have help this year with Anton Forsberg in net from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Hawks first line of right wing Patrick Kane, center Jonathan Toews, and left wing Brandon Saad with defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook with having to carry the offense. If this line wears out or injured the Hawks are toast.

BLUES

The St. Louis Blues cannot beat their Big Brother from the north, the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs. They now have a very exciting rookie 19-year-old center Tege Thompson who could turn the team around. They traded Goal Brother Reaves to Pittsburgh over the summer so their defense will look different also the two-headed monster in net is retired as Jake Allen will take full-time duties as the goaltender. The Blues will make the playoffs the question is what will St. Louis does after they get in?

 

JETS

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The Winnipeg Jets cannot get out of their own way and continue the blunder in the Central Division. Their trade of Evander Kane years ago still affects this team.

Defenseman Goal Brother Dustin Byfuglien cannot do it himself. Jets have to find offense as the Maple Leafs showed them in the opening night loss. Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault must have career years for Winnipeg to reach playoffs.

 

PACIFIC DIVISION

The Canadian province of Alberta could be hosting the Western Conference finals with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Both teams have greatly improved in the 2015-16 season.

OILERS

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Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are the new kids on the block. We could be seeing a lot of Goal Brother defenseman – Darnell Nurse on national television who has changed his game with more savvy instead of power. He has become a fine defenseman. Edmonton bolstered their defense with the acquisition of defensemen Yohann Auvitu-New Jersey and, Ryan Stanton-Vancouver.

Center Ryan Strome from the New York Islanders should help this high flying offense. Watch number 56 Kailer Yamamoto, the new right winger from Spokane, Washington.

Goalie Cam Talbot may have found a home in Alberta.

FLAMES

America will get to know the Calgary Flames this year because they are the future of the NHL. On Thursday, October 5th the Flames signe45-year-old Jaromir Jagr to one year deal. This will be Jagr’s 24th season. He will be the 2nd coach on the ice something the young Flames need.

If the high-flying Flames ever acquirer a front line, star goalie they will move one step closer to a Stanley Cup Final. Do not like Mike Smith and Eddie Lack in net. We are looking for Calgary to trade at the deadline to acquire another netminder.

Defensemen T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton will carry the red and gold to playoffs.

KINGS              

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This might be the last chance for the Los Angeles Kings. Forward Goal Brother Jarome Iginla still has not signed a contract with the club at 40 years old. Goal Brother Iginla wants to end his 20-year career with Lord Stanley’s Cup in his hands.

The Kings and San Jose Sharks are the oldest teams in the west so the clock is ticking. The Kings have the best goalie in the West with Jonathan Quick; they will test younger Darcy Kuemper in net this season. The Kings reconstructed the left side with new players.

Centers Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Right winger Dustin Brown will lead this team’s offense. The clock is ticking.

SHARKS

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Could this be the beginning of the end for the San Jose Sharks? Patrick Marleau was sent to Toronto and that broke up the right wing Joe Pavelski, and center Joe Thornton line. Center Logan Couture will have to step it up this year in Marleau absence. Defensemen Marc Edouard Vlasic (a.k.a ‘Pickles’) and Brent Burns will have to help goalie Martin Jones.

Goal Brother forward Joel Ward wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender, just like Goal Brother Iginla in Southern California. The Sharks could be falling into a bucket of ice because of the lack of leadership. Very disappointed in Joe Thornton not being the enforcer/power forward the Boston Bruins promised years ago.

DUCKS

Teams find it very difficult to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks from the playoffs;this team reminds many of their in-laws – can’t get rid of their asses!

Those damn Ducks continue to make the playoffs year after year and will do it again in 2017.  Goalies John Gibson and Ryan Miller took control in net midway through last season and guided Ducks into playoffs last year. The Ducks are big, nasty and they knock the Quack outta you!

The veteran front line of right wing Corey Perry, centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, left wing Patrick Eaves along with defensemen Francois Beauchemin returns to Southern California after two years playing in the Rockies with the Avalanche can now help Miller and Gibson stop opponents’ rushes.

 

Penalties: Ingram (bitch-slapping) 3:50  McClean (bitch-slapping 9:55), Gray (interference) 11:15 

 

END OF PART II

Count on The MIG Line (McClean, Ingram, Gray) to score throughout the 2017 – 18 season for The BASN Assassins!  

 

 

NEXT THE REST OF THE LEAGUE

Thanks:- NBC Sports, Yahoo.com, NHL.com

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com

Garynorrisgray@Wordpress.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

 basneditor@basnnewsroom.com

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