2017-18 NHL season: A hater's guide to the Pacific Division

  What they call hockey. (Photo courtesy of  Flickr )

What they call hockey. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

NHL back, baby!

While our main goal in these here parts is not to celebrate the return of the eternal fifth wheel of the sports landscape that is the NHL, we must acknowledge that yep, NHL back...baby! (It just sounds better with it.)

Quick tangent: remember that old joke about the tree falling in the forest that doesn't make a noise? The NHL is the tree in that metaphor.

Because as usual, they sure as hell can't see the forest.

Over the past year, you may have noticed that Gary Bettman, little Garry, was involved in the dumbest dick-measuring contest with the International Olympic Committee over the NHL players' participation in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. We will not go in 2018, said Gary and the minions. We want/need more money, though they sure as hell weren't saying so. No, Gary is never this blunt and brazen, instead he insisted that he had concerns over stopping his beloved regular season right in the thick of things in... February. Right. Because February is the height of the NHL calendar, always. (Here's a thought, Gary: fix your schedule and go to the Olympics if that's what it's about!)

Say what you will about the IOC but these SOBs always have the biggest pecker on the block. And thus, little Gary said no to 2018, the IOC told him to wise up, little Gary said fuck you, so did the IOC and then Gary said the NHL wouldn't go and now they aren't going to South Korea.

BUT THEY'RE GOING TO CHINA FOR PRESEASON GAMES OF COURSE!

NBC, one of the TV networks with an ounce of empathy in their little hearts for accepting to carry NHL games in the US, well NBC has now told Gary that it wouldn't air any NHL games for the duration of the 2018 Olympics. Dumb, you say?

You'll get your February break after all, little Gary, even if you don't want it. You pissed in the wind, that's why your hands are all wet. You're the tree and someone's bound to chop you down any minute now. No one will hear a thing.

Pacific Division

1. San Jose Sharks

The #hottake version of this section would say that the San Jose Sharks will never win anything worth anything in the world, because they're led by Joe Thornton, and Thornton is a boob who falls apart the minute games start to matter in the playoffs. Our version will only mention that Thornton, while a damn stud, looks destined to go down in history as one of the sport's biggest what-ifs. Like so: what if Brent Burns were on a different team? Then perhaps we could say that Thornton is first somewhere.

2. Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers rode off an unfathomable decade of sucking and two years ago were so clear in their intent of being butt that you almost have to cap your hat off to them, to respect them. But you don't because sheer incompetency, especially the kind that's been the norm for too long in Oiler-land, should never be rewarded and that's exactly what happened when Edmonton won the rights to draft Connor McDavid, a player so talented that even the Oilers' stain and stench couldn't break him.

McDavid is our Lord and Savior and the Oilers don't deserve him. If there's any justice in this world, Cam Talbot will remember he's Cam Talbot, average NHL goaltender, and the Oilers will suck while McDice rules the world. Fuck you, Oilers.

3. Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are sort of like the Nas of the NHL. You know: Nas, prolific (ish, in 2017) rapper who first came to the forefront of our collective consciousness in the 90s and who's spent the time since trying to recapture this fleeting moment in time. You know: Nas, rapper you used to absolutely love as a teen but whom you sort of grew out of love with when, like, he kept repeating over and over and over the same mistake of picking terrible beats for his songs. You know: Nas, undeniable cornball, technically talented and who can't ever seem to put it all together anymore.

The Ducks were the shit a while back, in the days of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, and they've spent their time since trying to live up to this standard. They seem to always be done in by one fatal flaw, namely their inability to win a goddamn game 7 at home in the playoffs (nevermind what 2017 taught you). The Ducks are good, great even at times. But they're never good enough. Hi, Nas.

4. Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings peaked like five years ago. Okay, fine, it was three years ago after their 2014 Stanley Cup win. Whatever. You couldn't win a ring with the greatest player ever on your roster in the 90s, so you don't deserve Anze Kopitar.

5. Arizona Coyotes

Now that Vegas has its own NHL franchise, that's one fewer boogeyman that little Gary can use in order to... Well just hold on a minute, what's the end game here with the Coyotes? Does anyone want them? Even homeboy who just bought them, does he? Would you want them?

You know, there's a reason why I didn't say anything about the Coyotes roster specifically. I know about the players about as much as I remember Latin from high school. Adam Ekman-Larsson is a guy, whatever.

Hey look, here's the Coyotes' first forward line.

6. Calgary Flames

Life ain't fair, and this is exhibit (approximately) 834,293 of that when worldwide treasure Jaromir Jagr decided to sign with the despicable Calgary Flames. Oh, we have nothing specific against the team's fans, not necessarily at least (don't tempt us!), it's the team's owners we've got a bone to pick with. The rich assholes want a new arena, maybe you've heard, and they don't want to pay for it, so they've played the oldest trick in the billionaire playbook: casually insert themselves in an upcoming mayoral election and float the threat of "You know, maybe we'll need to explore all options, i.e. relocation" if we can't get the fans to pay for the new arena, and all with the blessing of little ole Gary. Fuck you, Calgary Flames owners.

Here's to hoping that Flames fans decide to explore their options this season and decide to flush this turd they see in the toilet. It kind of looks a lot like little Gary's face, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

7. Vancouver Canucks

At least before, like five years ago, you needed to specify and explain that you just didn't like the Vancouver Canucks and their players, you never had, and so you weren't going to jump on the bandwagon for the Stanley Cup finals and #CanadasTeam or whatever. But in 2017, you can just mention that you prefer teams that are #goodatbasketball at hockey. Of course, it's not as fun to hate the Canucks as it used to be when Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows were on the roster. But somehow in 2017, the Sedin twins, aged like 98 years old, are still the team's two best forwards. And somehow, the Canucks still don't have a NHL-caliber winger to put on their line. Never change, Canucks.

8. Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, will be absolute butt, just utter, desperate trash. We'd say that this will be through no fault of their own but the thing is: this is very much through fault of their own doing, as the Vegas powers that be understand that a few seasons in the sewers is the easiest road toward competency and maybe even excellence. Everybody's shit passes through the sewers, whether you're rich, famous, sucky, etc. Maybe they'll get there, maybe they won't, but in either case they'll likely be drunk. This is Vegas.

Still, let's marvel at the nonsense that is the fact that in the race to the bottom that are professional sports, it is Gary, little Gary, who first put a team in Sin City. WTF, right?