NHL hockey, baby: The world's best players, sweetest logos, most storied traditions, and worst in-arena music this side of a tractor pull. Warts and all, for my money it's still the best expression of the art form known as hockey that humans have been able to conjure.
The Islanders don't begin until Saturday -- shockingly, they actually open at home, which must be some Tavares/Crosby/Lighthouse promo consolation. But for me the fever sets in tonight. Because tonight there are games. Games that matter. Games that will start some fans off into instant panic while others smoke some of that wacky We're Winning the Cup tobacco. Four games!
The big 30-year lease announcement between Nassau County and Charles Wang is today, which adds more theater to this weekend's proceedings. But now that the games are beginning, there is plenty more hockey to talk about.
From Burke to Bettman to Balsillie to the actual ice (Rob Schremp hockey!), links about those and various sundry after the jump. (Begin calls to "Sign Shanahan!!!1" in comments) ...
- This is old, but it's a good window into Jesse Joensuu's head after a disappointing camp. [Stamford Advocate]
- This is very new, but a shocker: Brendan Shanahan and the Devils are parting. For those who watched: Did he look that slow in preseason? [From The Rink]
- Euro games start tomorrow. Four games tonight: Washington at Boston (Vs.), Montreal at Toronto (CBC), and for the second shift: San Jose at Colorado (Vs.), Vancouver at Calgary FrankenPhaneufs (CBC). Do you have Center Ice? Why not?!?!
- The Schremp files: Accidentally left these out of the Schremp Dossier post, but from earlier
thislast month, some interesting Edmonton Journal pieces on his saga trying to make the Pat Quinn-led Oilers: [Nilsson outshines Schremp] [Schremp grinds away] But there are a lot of Oilers growing pains: [Gagner, Nilsson demoted under Quinn's rule]
- It's not that Brian Burke rumor-mongered to his own scouting staff -- that's his right in preparing for the draft. It's that he or (Maple Leafs PR) opened their excellent Behind the Draft film with said rumor-mongering. [Vancouver Province]
Lighthouse project/Islanders Nassau lease announcement: Newsday's advance story. Check the invaluable Let There Be Light(house) and his twitter for Nick's running commentary. Wang and Rechler are taking questions, so it's not just a pomp and circumstance announcement. [Update: Doug has a thorough preview of the lease stipulations -- all subject to approval, of course; Katie Strang has a wrap-up after the official announcement.]
- Speaking of emotional off-ice drama: Much debate rehashing over the Coyotes bankruptcy ruling that puts Balsillie back to square negative-1. [From The Rink]
- Do you like "power rankings" and predictions and such? Torqued by ESPN nonsense, the SBN hockey blogs decided to do a weekly poll, as voted by several writers here, on where teams rank. The first one, a preseason poll, is up here.
Will you be watching any games tonight? Somehow, I've got to try to squeeze in five hours of NHL games tonight amid domestic commitments and packing for the home opener weekend. Wish me luck.