By now everyone has probably seen the NBC version of the Kings' Stanley Cup celebration, oh, several thousand times off the DVR (or online, or whatever). You've probably also seen the CBC version, which in the opinion of many is even cooler than the one we got over here in the States. But did you know there's another, English-language version of the celebration floating around out there in the proverbial ether?
The NHL International feed was broadcast to dozens of countries, and as anything seen by millions of people these days, recently ended up on Youtube. If you've seen the others a million times already, this is a different yet fun perspective; my only real gripe is they miss Dean Lombardi and a bunch of the players at the end (mostly just the "black aces" but also actual contributors like Nolan & King), but they also get a way better shot of Darryl Sutter and a few of the other players so it kind of all evens out. Plus there's an interview with Anze Kopitar moments after the end of the game, a rare interview with Jewels favorite Slava Voynov, and some other random interviews thrown in as well (Carter & Penner among others). Enjoy!
While I have your attention, I thought I also might pose an incredibly vague question to our highly knowledgeable and thoughtful community-at-large (and also Rudy Kelly). See me after the jump.
Assuming rosters stay close to what they are today (so in another words Alex Semin & Rick Nash both end up in the East, and Shane Doan ends up there as well or just stays with Phoenix; personally I'm of the opinion that Phoenix's run last year was Mike Smith voodoo and even if they keep Doan they won't be a major factor next season), who ARE the contenders in the Western Conference, anyway?
A lot of the traditional contenders have huge question marks (who's playing defense for Detroit, exactly?) or just look like they're on the downswing (hey San Jose what's up?). So when looking forward to next season, who do you put into that nebulous "contender" category? I think most of us would probably agree Los Angeles belongs there, for obvious reasons. But who else?
Personally I go with LA, Vancouver, Chicago, then ??? (if anyone else). Definitely not Minnesota, probably not Nashville. St. Louis could be there again but they've added nothing in the offseason so far to the team that LA dispatched so easily during their Cup run. Maybe someone totally off-the-board like Colorado (assuming they actually resign their many RFAs) takes a step forward, but it still feels too early to call them contenders. Maybe I'm wrong and SJ or Detroit are still up there? SJ's possession numbers were way better than you'd expect for a 7th seed (that sounds familiar...) but at this point that core just has to get it done before I can take them seriously again, at least during an offseason. Detroit I have no clue what to make of, but I don't know how you call a team that lost in the first round, subtracted the best defenseman of all-time and added no one of note "contenders".
As far as my actual picks go: Garrison over Salo is probably an upgrade, so as long as Kesler comes back from surgery okay they've got at least another season to contend. Chicago really had no business finishing 6th given their lineup and on-paper has the best lineup in the Central, question mark in goal or not. And LA....well, you know.
So what do you say, fair readers? Is someone else taking a huge step forward? Am I totally wrong about any of the aforementioned teams? Share your opinions, people who care enough about hockey to read a blog in mid-July! Let's all ignore the CBA crap together.