Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NHL 2011-12 Preview - Players to Watch

With a new season approaching, it's time to take a look at some notable players to watch.  Whether they changed teams, had a bad year or were injured or just happen to be fun to watch in general, you won't want to miss what these guys may have to offer.  And here's why.

Brad Richards - The word on the streets of New York City is that Richards is a skilled playmaker, which should come in handy since Broadway Theater has been in a bit of a slump.

Sidney Crosby - Crosby is always one to keep an eye on, but if you do this year, you'll probably miss the game, since you'll be looking into the press box.

James van Riemsdyk - Yes, JvR is an exciting player, but Flyers fans should especially keep an eye on him because he recently signed a big contract.  Watch him now, or he'll be traded before you realize it.

Michael Ryder - It's not Ryder you should be watching, but the Stanley Cup right before Ryder picks it up, because that might be the last chance you have to see it in one piece.

Michael Grabner - Grabner is exciting to watch, but know this: a) you'll need a magnifying glass to find him and b) you'll need to practice your horizontal neck moving, because not even your friend's Corvette could keep up with him.

Rick DiPietro - Watch DiPietro closely while you still can, and you might even be able to predict where he'll get hurt.  In fact, I can almost guarantee you that you'll be right about his injury...eventually.

Phil Kessel - You'll want to watch Kessel...in your fantasy hockey league's draft, but don't pick him right away.  He's used to being picked last.

Nicklas Lidstrom - Watch Lidstrom while you still can, because he's bound to retire someday.  Either that or the world will end, but one of the two events will happen at some point.

Dustin Byfuglien - I'd be keeping an eye on Byfuglien, especially during pre-game.  You never know, he just might get charged with a ZUI (Zamboni-ing Under the Influence).

Dany Heatley - Here's a guy that you won't necessarily want to watch on the ice, but come March and trade deadline season, 29 28 27 a few other General Managers should be watching him after Heatley requests his annual trade.

Taylor Hall - He's no longer the "first overall pick by the Oilers" anymore.  Those honors go to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (for a year at least).  Next year, we'll be saying the same about Nugent-Hopkins not being the most recent Oilers' first overall pick...in all liklihood anyway.

Brian Rolston - Islander fans will enjoy watching Rolston, because in the time it takes him to load up his slapshot, you could cook a turkey for Thanksgiving and do your Christmas shopping without pressing pause, and you wouldn't miss a thing.

Patrick Kane - Rumor has it that Kane's shooting has become so precise that he could shoot a puck through the net, between the panels of glass and into a fan's beer...in the upper deck.

Alex Burrows - Some say that Kyle Wellwood tutored Burrows during the summer.  He was giving Burrows biting lessons.

Martin Brodeur - Just two losses away from the NHL's all-time record, Brodeur and NBC are negotiating naming rights to a potential TV show.  "The Biggest Loser" has been tossed around.

Jeff Skinner - Skinner reportedly looks even younger than he did last year, so presumably he looks like a fetus.  He's no longer a rookie, however, which means he'll have to grow a playoff beard...by the time the Hurricanes reach the playoffs again.