It’s time to do some season previewing, and this year IPB’s going at it all Bucci-style. That’s right, Gentle Reader — Just like Bucci does, we wrote down 30 song lyrics we thought were awesome and cool, then randomly assigned them to teams in the hopes that they would add a depth of meaning and emotional resonance to our predictions. Yeah, you heard us: we literally drew song lyrics out of a hat to assign to each team, exactly the way we assume Bucci does. We would be remiss not to mention that we are hockey savants, super-geniuses who correctly predicted who would win the Cup last year, so you can definitely take everything we say here to the bank. Today we’re starting with the Western Conference, listed from worst to first (click here for our Eastern Conference preview).
15. Phoenix Coyotes
Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g’noop dock fling oh ah.
Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g’noop dock fling oh ah
Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
allay loo ta nuv
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa.
Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa
allay loo tu nuv.
-Yub nub, traditional Ewok song
We couldn’t have summed up the Coyotes season prospects better. Thanks, Wicket! (Oh, and no way Wayne’s still behind the bench by Christmas.)
14. Edmonton Oilers
Diff’rent types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes
And cutaway coat, perfect fits
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Dressed up like a million dollar trouper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper
Come let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
Or “um-ber-ellas” in their mitts
Puttin’ on the Ritz
-Puttin’ on the Ritz, Irving Berlin
Oh sure, certain succubus wives of certain skankhole players might think Edmonton is a repulsive backwater (not to be confused with said succubus’s glamorous, world-capital hometown of St. Louis), but it’s not true! Look no further than Sheldon Souray — bright-light, big-city free agent that he am — choosing Edmonton over the clamoring hordes in New York and Los Angeles who were dying to get a piece of him in their lineups. Or so the rumors went as days turned to weeks after the free-agent deadline and he remained unsigned. Maybe it was just that the Rangers, Devils, Kings and Ducks wanted nothing to do with him and he was stuck with the Oilers. But whatever the reason, the Oil is going to be crazy ritzy with Shelly in the fold! Sure to see his numbers plummet now that he’s not in a contract year, and already sporting a catastrophic plus/minus, and with a lengthy history of chronic injuries, Souray is a great building-block for this reeling franchise. Other players Kevin Lowe hopes you will think look figuratively like Gary Cooper if you squint hard enough are RFA pick-up Dustin Penner and… well… um… yeah. Dustin Penner. It’s going to be a long year for the Oilers, and the ensuing draft pick is just going to Anaheim. Godspeed, Oilers fans. Godspeed.
13. Chicago Blackhawks
Come all you bold young thoughtless men a warning take by me
And never leave your happy homes to sail the raging sea.
-Traditional Sea Chanty
The Blackhawks are entering a new era – a new era Wirtz-less era with young stars in the making. But will this new era be smooth sailing, or will the choppy waves of the New NHL be uncharted territory for an organization that’s been all but embalmed in sucktitude for the last 60 years? There be monsters, Blackhawks, there be monsters. Regardless of how much Havlat, Kane and Toewes excel at filling the ‘Hawks’ sails with the gusty winds of fame and glory, their goaltending is still very much a remora*.
* Remora: a fish believed by ancient sailors to slow ships down by attaching their sucker-like jaws to the bows of boats
12. Columbus Blue Jackets
Ohh I know who you are
It wasn’t that hard
Just to figure you out
(Now and then, you wonder why)
And now I know who you are
It wasn’t that hard
just to figure you out
(Now and then, you wonder why)
-Favorite Damn Disease, Nickelback
We have no idea what this song lyric means. We have, in fact, never heard this song before. We just googled “Nickelback lyrics” and found it. But really, what NHL preview is complete without a little Nickelback? Of course, we have to admit it’s pretty hard for us to figure out who the Blue Jackets are, because we don’t think we’ve ever, in their entire history, seen them play a game. We know they’re out from under the Doug MacLean reign of terror, but it seems there should be a bit of a lag between the toppling of the statues in Blue Jackets Square and a marked improvement in drafting and free agent signings. There might be a glimmer of hope for the future in Columbus, but that doesn’t mean they’re making the playoffs this year.
11. Nashville Predators
Gummi Bears, bouncing here
and there and everywhere!
High adventure that’s beyond compare.
They are the Gummi Bears!
-“Gummi Bears” Theme Song
The Gummi Bears was a cartoon that never rose above the fact that it was a 22-minute commercial for those poor-quality gummi bears that came in the gold box at the crappy movie theater in the run-down strip mall off Route 1 (as opposed to the ritzier shopping centre a little further up the highway that sold fine cinema treats like Junior Mints and Milk Duds). They were a candy you never saw anyone buying, and a cartoon you never saw anyone else watching. The Nashville Preds are more like the Sno-Caps of hockey — a good movie theater candy you could understand someone wanting to buy, and one that you yourself went on a bit of a spree for, buying them four or five movies in a row, before you dropped one or two in your seat without realizing and then ended up with big chocolate blobs on your jeans when you got up, but then you realized that it was stupid to be buying old person candy like non-pareils when such delicacies like Sweet Tarts were available. However, as much as the quality of play on the ice might be Sno-Cap-worthy, the off-ice distactions facing the team in terms of ownership cast a distinctly Gummi Bear cartoon pall over the start of the season. As far as non-Nashville fans are concerned, the orgnization is serving as the team that can’t rise about the fact that it’s the poster child for stories of NHL business wheeling and dealing. Also, giving Arnott the C is about as smart as buying a box of Jujubees. Sure, you can remember the flavor of Jujubees being good, just the way Nashville can look at Arnie’s days as the hard-working center of the league’s top line back in 2001 and expect greatness, but the minute you get one of those stupid candies stuck on your molar, you remember why you never buy those things.
10. St. Louis Blues
Non piu andrai, farfallone amoroso
Notte e giorno d’intorno girando,
Delle belle turbando il riposo,
Narcisetto, Adoncino d’amor.
-Non piu andrai, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Mozart
Thanks to a long string of playoff appearances, the Blues were getting by fluttering around the mediocrity of the NHL like amorous little butterflies. Last year, JD had the fine feathers, light and jaunty hat and womanish red color of a new good-guy GM whom everyone wanted to see succeed. Those honeymoonish days are over! Now the chorus is “alla gloria militar”, “to military glory” indeed. However, the Blues might as well trade Kariya and Tkchuck in for a Cherubino or two considering how effective they’ll be. Here’s hoping Erik Johnson can sing those prima donnas off the stage, leading the Blues into competitiveness again (if for no other reason than to quit making life so easy for Detroit).
9. Calgary Flames
There she is, Miss America
There she is, your ideal
The dreams of a million girls
Who are more than pretty
May come true in Atlantic City
Oh she may turn out to be
The queen of femininity
-There She Is, Miss America, Bernie Wayne
Ah yes. We remember being among those million girls who were more than pretty. We dreamt such dreams! Dreams of backyard rinks, and golf games, and name-dropping Z-list hockey celebrities like Shjon Podein and Darren Pang. And then we discovered our schtick had already been taken by someone on TV, so now we’re reduced to blogging and living our workaday existences, only an hour’s drive from Atlantic City, a place we’ve never actually been. We’re sure this all ties in to the Flames’ chances this season somehow. Perhaps what we mean to say is that Mike Keenan gives us as much confidence behind the bench as Miss America might. When we got down to deciding which team would nail down the 8-seed in the West — LA or Calgary — we asked ourselves which mediocre squad is more likely to be fucked over by its lousy coach. As much as Marc Crawford has always struck us as a complete hack, we had to give the nod to Keenan.
Oh, and also: with the multitude of jingoistic flags all over their new unis, the Flames might as well be wearing little beauty pageant sashes that say “Miss Alberta” on them, too.
8. Los Angeles Kings
Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
well, I got down on my knees
and I pretend to pray
you know the preacher likes the cold
he knows I’m gonna stay
on such a winter’s day
-California Dreamin’, The Mamas And The Papas
We think it’s pretty cool that the Kings ended up getting “California Dreamin’” as their randomly-drawn song lyric. It’s almost kind of creepy!
We defer in all things Kings to our favorite blogger, RudyKelly. He says they’re going to make the playoffs, so we believe him.
7. Colorado Avalanche
Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts
Mutilated monkey meat, little baby birdie feet
Great green gobs of greasey, grimy gopher guts
That you eat without a spoon.
-Anonymous Folk Song
Based on how Avs fans have lapped up the Ryan Smyth signing, we’d believe they’d eat this menu in a heartbeat. Slag-faced whores like Scott Gomez and Chris Drury have been getting a lot of ink here this summer, but Smyth makes them look like amateurs, having pulled the slag-faced 2-step on two franchises last year. Look for him to be a significant, though overrated, player in getting this franchise back to the playoffs, but at what price for the league? At what price?
6. Vancouver Canucks
If I’ve got a hammer
And I’ve got a bell
And I’ve got a song to sing … all over this land,
It’s a hammer of justice
It’s a bell of freedom
It’s a song about love between all of my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.
-If I Had a Hammer, L. Hays and P. Seeger
If we’ve got a Naslund, and we’ve got a Sedin and we’ve got another Sedin — we’re thinking the team should be better than it’s been, particularly if we’ve also got a Luongo. They’ve proven they can make the playoffs, but at some point they’ve got to prove they can win more than one round. And until then, we’ll continue to not care enough about them to write more than a cheap dig at their uni re-design: By “this land” we mean Vancouver. Wait, let us spell that out for you. On the front of our sweaters.
5. Dallas Stars
Yippee yeah, there’ll be no wedding bells for today!
I got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle
As I go ridin’ merrily along
And they sing, ‘Away, too glad, you’re single’
And that song ain’t so very far from wrong.
-I Got Spurs, Tex Ritter
Kind of like the Kings getting “California Dreamin’”, we were tickled with how literal our random draw ended up for the Stars. It’s a cowboy song! For the Dallas Stars! Get it? Get it? We’ve been to Dallas once. We stayed there while driving cross-country on our move back east, and suffered the single worst highway death-merge we’ve ever seen in our lives. We ended up having to essentially drive perpendicular to four lanes of oncoming traffic to get from an on-ramp to the off-ramp directly across from it for our hotel. Stupid AAA and their idiot driving directions. Anyway, that death-merge is probably a lot like what the Pacific Division is going to be this year, and the Stars are the team we see having the steepest uphill battle to get across those four lanes of oncoming traffic. (No, the Coyotes don’t count. They’re going to figuratively crash their car into a Jersey barrier at the base of the on-ramp, so they won’t even get a crack at the serious part of their traffic-metaphor season.) We like the way they stood pat on the free-agency market, although the standing pat was less a Glenn Ford, stoic hero kind of standing pat with the knowledge that they’ve got all the pieces they need to beat the bad guys, and more a standing pat because they have the wisdom to realize that the free-agent market this past summer was vastly, vastly overrated. So they come into this season a year older than they were last season, and without any obvious answers about where the scoring is going to come from, but they’re still a much better team than a lot of other squads out west.
4. Anaheim Ducks
Batti, batti, o bel Massetto,
La tua povera Zerlina;
Staro qui come agnellina
Le tue botte ad aspettar.
-Batti, batti, o bel Massetto, Don Giovanni, Mozart
Brian Burke and the Ducks would love to think the rest of the Pacific is sweetly singing, “beat us, beat us, o beautiful Ducks, beat your poor Pacific. We’ll stand here as meek as little lambs and bear the blows you lay on us.” But what the rest of the division is hearing is the constant tweeting of whistles writing a symphony of undisciplined penalties for the rough and tough and mentally unstable Ducks. With Captain Pronger leading by example, what else can happen? Seriously, we know the team can rebound from losing Selanne (we’re assuming Getzlaf takes the responsibility of being a star and handles it with grace and aplomb, eschewing his ego-problems from his Junior days) and are confident that their Schneidermayer’ed up D is solid enough to handle the loss of The Good Neidermayer. But can they find a way to keep Bertuzzi from not getting suspended for 20 games? That we’re not so sure about.
3. Minnesota Wild
You’re the top
You’re Miss Pinkham’s tonic
You’re the top
You’re a high colonic.
You’re the burning heat of a bridal suite in use
You’re the breasts of Venus
You’re King Kong’s penis,
You’re an arch
In the Rome collection
You’re the starch
In a groom’s erection
I’m an enuch who
Has just been through an op,
But if, Baby, I’m the bottom
You’re the top
-You’re The Top (Parody Lyrics), Cole Porter (or alleg. Irving Berlin)
We like Minnesota because they’re the Devils of the West, right down to the “often flaming out early in the playoffs” thing the Devils do so well. And while we’re not sure we’d go so far as to call them the breasts of Venus or King Kong’s penis, there is certainly some self-abuse involved in watching a team that’s the Devils of the West. But really, when you get down to it, parody lyrics probably aren’t the best way to go for the Wild, since Jacques Lemaire doesn’t believe in things that are fun.
2. San Jose Sharks
The farmer and the cowman should be friends
Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends
One man likes to push a plough
The other likes to chase a cow
But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends
Territory folks should stick together
Territory folks should all be pals
Cowboys dance with farmer’s daughters
Farmers dance with the ranchers’ gals
-The Cowman and the Farmer Should Be Friends, Rogers and Hammerstein
For many, many years we stood fast on a strict policy of hating all things musical theater. To us there was no such thing as a good musical. Sure “Guys and Dolls” might be good for a chortle or two, and maybe it was tough to resist belting out “Everything’s Coming up Roses” on particularly good days, but 99.9% of the time, musical=bad. Then one summer night, flipping channels on our cable box revealed we had two choices for television viewing — John Basedow infomercials or Oklahoma! on TCM. After seriously considering how awful seeing John Basedow’s commerical for the zillionth time would be, we settled on TCM. And something very strange happened. We discovered Oklahoma! was wonderful. From top to bottom, wonderful. (Or at least, that’s what we thought until we both ended up getting “territory folk should stick together” so firmly stuck in our heads that it was weeks before we could stop spontaneously blurting it out and incurring the extreme wrath of the other who had maybe gotten a hair closer to getting the ditty to recede just a hair in her brain.) In any event, we were forced to reconsider the strict “musical=bad” policy.
In a related story, for many, many years we have stood fast on a strict policy of believing “this is the year the Sharks are gonna make some noise”. To us there was no team out West more suited to making the Finals. Since this is the year we’ve finally had to admit there might be a flaw in this policy as well, there is no doubt in our hearts the Sharks will prove us wrong.
1. Detroit Red Wings
And the rivers flow backwards
And my tears are dry
Swans hate the water
And eagles can’t fly
But I’m alright now
Now that I’m over you
And the sky is green
And the grass is blue
And I don’t love you
And the grass is blue
-The Grass is Blue, Dolly Parton
“The Grass is Blue” is one of our very favorite sad, sad songs, and is thus appropriate for the Wings’ inevitable march through the West because that’s a sad, sad song in and of itself. We don’t think this team is really that great, and obviously their entire season really hinges on the questionable health — mental and otherwise — of Dominik Hasek, but it would be impossible for a team of their pedigree not to finish first overall considering they get 32 of their 82 games this season against the minor-league franchises populating their division. We don’t doubt they’re going to be their typical paper (division) champions, and will fall way short in the playoffs when they have to play a best-of-seven against a real team, but until then we’ll be stuck hearing more of the same old lauds being shoveled on this team just because they’re racking up points in the standings in a division we think our cats might stand a chance against. Basically what we’re saying here is that “The Grass is Blue” is a song wherein the narrator convinces herself that she’s over her broken heart because she’s saying the opposite of everything is true. But in the Wings’ case, we’re going to say it’s literal. The grass outside is blue, the sky above it is green, and we don’t love the Wings. Really. We don’t.