I may be drunk, and high, but it's also worth noting, that under the influence, I am an excellent typist. This past month or so, I must say, my notice of hockey as been... non-existent. School, boredness, and fantasy literature have kept my interest much more than a sport which is at its nadir. But those familiar feelings, of cold ice beneath the skates, charming accents of the blistery north of Europe, the adulation when a goal long-desired is finally netted, they come back to me now, when seeing the news of lines combinations from Babcock's own mouth. Ansar has them, of course -who else?
Split-up, that's how Babcock sees the Circus come season's start. Me, I would have guessed them together, and supposed Mule-Fil-Mars for the second line. But you can't argue with spreading the two best centers in the Western Conference across two lines, not when such wingers as Holmstrom, Hossa, and Franzen abound. Babs mentions Pavs and Homer will stick together, as they have for two good years straight now, with the God of War adjoined duly to the best playmaker the Wings have to offer. That leaves Z with countryman Mule, and... Huds, yes, the Oompa Loompa on his wing. Not Samuelsson. Glad to hear it from Babcock. God I hope Sammy's traded. I'll say it again: he's a highly competent checker, who can occasionally go on an offensive streak - but this team is heavy on scorers and Sammy's worth is greater in a trade than on the ice.
And not Fil either. It leaves Wally to wallow on the third line, which I was hoping for all along. The Finn is a center, and needs to learn to drive a line, and the Wings have the offensive depth to roll three. Put him with his countryman, Leino, if Ville earns it, if not, with Samuelsson, and Cleary or Kopecky to go to the net and muck things up. Leaves Drapes, Malts, and one of the others for a damn solid fourth line. Papa like. Helm in Grand Rapids, undeservedly, but what can you do when you've got this kind of depth.
Oh, oh yes, and Chelios is back. Unlike many doubters and bitch-asses out there, I am not surprised. I have said it before: Chris Chelios is Highlander; he will never die, only walk off into the sunset with Scotty Bowman one day (all the more likely now that the latter is in Chicago.) You might peg him this season for a benchwarmer and a practice-leader, but my guess is a healthy Cheli regains the sixth slot on the blueline, alongside a young Jonathon Ericsson. Lilja is dealt for obvious reasons. Lebda... young, cheap, fast -yes; but that's why his trade value is so high -he's maxed out on his potential, whereas Ericsson can have an impact right away, starting with pummeling that bitch-ass Pronger and making use of his 100mph slap shot on the point (replacing Sammy) - if not him, Meech, who proved highly competent there. Quincey even could become a Lilja-esque PK workhorse, hopefully not adopting the Swede's propensity for puckhandling slip-ups. Lebda and Lilja, while a serviceable last-pair for a Stanley Cup team, should give way to more exciting, more dynamic talent.
Lilja, Leba, and Samuelsson all traded for middling draft-picks, oh and Conklin too, if my boy, Jimmy Howard, wins the spot in training camp as I predict he will? That a team could trade that much talent at season's start and still win Stanley's sweepstakes? I daresay it would set me up for ever. As for the rambling prose? Been reading too much Jane Austen lately. But my Darcy will always be Datsyuk; hockey season can't come soon enough.