Thursday, October 31, 2013
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - True Tales of Central Division Horror
Read on... if you dare!!
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we delved deeply into Dallas' disastrously disturbing debility on the second night of back-to-backs. This week, we're going to take a closer look at the NHL's Central Division -- you know, the division that was roundly considered to be the weakest in all of hockey, and which is currently dominating the sport 1/8th of the season in, with the average team in the Central posting, on average, nearly three more points than the average Eastern Division team and five more than the average Metropolitan team. Only the Pacific has more good-to-great teams.
This presents a bit of a quandary for Dallas, a team composed almost entirely of new pieces that have yet to gel together: while they have enough points to place second in the Metropolitan, they find themselves dead last in the Central. Worse yet, Bettman has informed us that the Metro division is "full," meaning no hope for relocation before Christmas.
So what's a Stars fan/coach/player/owner/Ice Girl to do? Play better hockey!?! I think not!
Rather, they should just sit and wait for their divisional opponents to fall back to reality. To see how, let's visit the Stars locker room during intermission, where Lindy Ruff is inspiring his dead-last crew to loftier heights.
SCENE: The Visitor's Locker Room in the Bell Centre, Second Intermission. The Stars, having played the night before, are dragging and listless, staring down at their skates and crying. Corpses of non-Francophile former Canadiens coaches hang from meathooks in the center of the room. Large, sweaty, shirtless men in Miley Cyrus masks stand at the entrance, staring at the players while revving their chainsaws. Demonic growling can be heard coming up from the floorboards. Somewhere off in the distance, a scream is abruptly cut short.
Cody Eakin: (stops making out with some anonymous scantily-clad chick) "What the heck was that?"
Alex Goligoski: (pushes glasses up his nose, whips out flashlight) "We'd better investigate!"
Suddenly, Lindy Ruff storms into the room and drops two dozen human-skin-bound copies of the Necronomicon into the center of the room. He douses them in holy water, then lights them on fire: demonic voices begin to wail in the flames, something about the Toronto Maple Leafs and Fenwick Close. Ruff motions the team to come in, then stands over the flames to make his face look all scary-like.
Ruff: "Come closer, my friends, and let me tell you some truly terrifying tales!!"
Tyler Seguin: "OMG!"
(Ray Whitney rolls his eyes)
Ruff: "Yes, my friends, this world is often not as it appears to be. Sometimes things can go remarkably well for a team--almost too remarkably well. And when that happens, it's time to get scared."
Goligoski: (stands up with flashlight) "We'd better investigate!"
Ruff: "Sit the eff down, Gogo. There. Now let me tell you about a team... a team not all that different from you, actually... a team with a new head coach, a shakeup in the front office, young players barely out of their teens in leadership roles, discarded goalies and no discernible defensemen to speak of."
(Daley raises an eyebrow)
Ruff: "That team, my friends... let's call them the Bolorado Bavalanche. Eleven games into the season, they were sitting on top of the world. Their overall goal differential was second in the league, and almost twice that of Pittsburgh. Their team save percentage was .955... despite giving up 33 shots a game!"
Stephane Robidas: "Holy living God!!"
Trevor Daley: "Say no more of these foul words!!"
Sergei Gonchar: "What? I don't get it."
Ruff: "Hold on, kids, it gets even worse. One night... a night very much like this one, in fact..."
(A pair of hounds with glowing red eyes lope right through the middle of the room. One slows down and silently stares at Shawn Horcoff, who immediately turns into a skeleton. The hounds disappear as quickly as they came, right through a temporary portal to hell that opens near the used-towel bin.)
Ruff: "Shake it off, Horky. Anyways, where was I? Ah, yes... the strange tale of the Bolorado Bavalanche. Yes, it was a night, much like to-night, when everything seemed to be going good, the team perhaps forgetting that they played the easiest schedule of any Western Conference team, when.... when... their starting goalie got arrested for domestic abuse and kidnapping!!!"
Gonchar: "Awww, HELL naw!!"
Jamie Benn: "Pshh, like THAT would ever happen."
Ruff: "No? You doubt the veracity of my story? Very well, here's another one... true story, by the way..."
Ruff: "That's right. Anyway, it began a lot like the other one: there was another Central Division team, much like, well, much like yourselves, really... a team finally relocated to the central time zone where they belonged, a team that severely underperformed the season before, despite some artificially high expectations... a team, let's just call them the Binnesota Bild."
Brenden Dillon: "Huh. That's a dumb name."
Ruff: "Yeah, well, I'm telling the story here, and there's only a few minutes left before the third period. Anyways, this team, the Bild," (stares at Dillon), "they looked like a lost cause when their starting goaltender, who sucked, went down with injury. But then they were saved by a goalie with MS, who posted a 1.00 GAA over nine games--"
Dan Ellis: "What!? That's not even remotely possible! I call bulls**t!!"
Ruff: "Hey, stranger things have happened! Anyways, let me finish my story!" (clears throat, resumes spooky face) "Yesssss.... things were going very well for the Binnesota Bild, until.... until..... UNTIL...!!"
Robidas: "Aaaaaghh!!! Until what!!?"
Ruff: "UNTIL... they were attacked by a GIANT, SLAVERING, SOUL-DEVOURING.... REGRESSION TO THE MEAN!! Muhahahahhaha!!"
Daley: "Pshh. Heard THAT one before. Next."
(A phone rings. Erik Cole walks over to pick it up. A small girl is on the other line. She giggles, then whispers, "You lose." The line goes dead. The phone drops to the ground: Cole is nowhere to be found.)
Ruff: "Attaboy, Coley. Anyways, if you thought those stories were scary, you haven't heard the scariest one of all! You see, once, not too long ago, there was a team... why, they used to be practically your next door neighbors... with a tight defensive scheme that masked an overall pretty terrible roster construction that was regularly exposed in the playoffs. Anyways, this team, let's call them the Bashville Bedators, they relied entirely too much on a certain goaltender, a goaltender who.... who..... WHO...."
(Kari Lehtonen covers his eyes)
Ruff: "....WHO... got a bacterial infection in his hip and was out for two months!!"
Lehtonen: "AAAAGH!!!" (passes out)
Ruff: "Chin up there, Lehty."
Daley: "Hmmpf. Not even remotely scary."
Ruff: "No, tough guy? Let's hear you tell a scary one, then!"
Ruff: "AAAAAAGHHHH MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP!!!" (runs out of room)
Goligoski: "Hmpf. Lightweight."
That's it for this week's chill-inducing Column of Horrors. Tune in next week when we sit down with GM Jim Nill and ask him how he plans to improve the team next season with Horcoff and Gonchar taking up 1/6th of the salary cap. His relentless weeping may surprise you.