Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How are NHL teams preparing for the playoffs?

Pictured: Patrick Kane and sunglasses.  Not pictured: Patrick Kane's playoff beard.  Also not pictured: Peggy.

Now that the NHL All-Star break is behind us, many teams begin their push towards the playoffs.  For many teams, they'll look to add a player or two at the deadline that they hope will push them towards a long playoff run.  For some other teams, they'll look to make a big splash to move up the standings.  For others, they'll try to convince their fan base that they're still in the playoff picture, even though they're not.  Here's a guide I put together regarding how teams are preparing for the playoffs.

Boston Bruins - Claude Julien spends most of practice these days reminding his team that all goaltenders are awful and that they can beat anyone.  Of course, he only does this on days Tim Thomas is boycotting the team's events.

Detroit Red Wings - Ken Holland is spending the next few months trying to convince Gary Bettman that making the Joe Louis Arena the exclusive home for all playoff games this year is a good idea.

New York Rangers - MSG officials have begun playoff preparations by reluctantly cancelling "Stage 2" renovation plans for the arena during the middle of May.

Chicago Blackhawks - The Blackhawks have informed Patrick Kane that every game for the rest of the season will now be referred to as the "All-Star Game," in the hopes of increasing his goal totals.

Vancouver Canucks - Alain Vigneault has told his players that swimming pools are off limits until after the season, because his team has already mastered diving.

Philadelphia Flyers - Ilya Bryzgalov has already begun his pre-playoff ritual, which mainly consists of saying "please don't let us play Detroit in the first round."

St. Louis Blues - Blues management is doing everything they can to make the Scottrade Center look just like the Bell Centre come playoff time.

New Jersey Devils - Lou Lamoriello says everything is "status quo," as far as making sure the Prudential Center boards are in perfect shape for the playoffs.

Ottawa Senators - The Sens are doing very well this season, assuming they get to play 5 games more than every other team all season.  They're working on that right now.

Washington Capitals - The Caps' annual playoff preparations are already complete.  The circus has already been booked at Verizon Center during the second round of the playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Brian Burke has already met with Toronto officials regarding the Leafs' Stanley Cup parade route in June.  The problem is, the city council lost it five years ago.

Florida Panthers - While filling the arena with plastic rats was a big hit last time the Panthers made a playoff run, management has a better idea this time around: filling the arena with fans.

Pittsburgh Penguins - The Penguins are preparing a Sidney Crosby press conference for the night before the Stanley Cup Finals start to keep him in the news.

Nashville Predators - Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are preparing for the playoffs by blocking Paul Holmgren's phone number after receiving dozens of calls per day.

Buffalo Sabres - Ryan Miller is preparing for by saving his best play for the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers - Steve Tambellini started his team's annual draft party the day after last summer's draft.