If you missed it on Wednesday, I compiled my personal list of “5 teams that make me want to flip channels.” That was one was fairly easy to write, but this one’s a little harder – hell, I like watching a lot of teams play. But, I felt like I should write the positive side of things after being such a Negative Nancy.
Lists aren’t fun if you aren’t definitive, so here goes nothing: I shall attempt to order up my top five.
Remember, I’m not listing the five best teams in the NHL – this is the list of five I most like to watch play and why.
You knew it was coming. It had to.
Most hockey fans have “their” team that they stick with through the thin stuff so they can avoid the “bandwagoner” title when things get thick. But on top of that, I feel like the opinion isn’t that hard to defend: John Tavares is an absolute star, the goalie situation is always must-see TV (whether good or bad), the coach is just about the most genial guy on the planet, and we’ve (yup, that’s a “we” bomb) got some good young talent that’s developing, some of whom I had the privilege of playing with.
If you simply overlook the consecutive decades of misery, a poor ownership situation, the potential relocation of the team, Rick DiPietro’s contract, the GMs unwillingness to trade anyone for anything and a total lack of depth, you can see why I’m such a fan of cathing 60 minutes of Islanders hockey.
Somehow, the Hawks were one of my Dad’s favourite teams growing up, and somewhere along the way I picked up an affection for them myself.
But the last few years they’ve just been a treat to watch – Jonathan Toews is one of the 10 best players in the game, Patrick Kane is electricity on-ice, Marian Hossa is in BEAST mode this year (he might protect the puck better than anyone in the NHL), Patrick Sharp is snipeshow, Duncan Keith skates like Bambi runs, and Brent Seabrook has a bomb.
Everytime you turn on the Hawks you know you’re watching a Stanley Cup contender, and to top it off, they’re fourth in the NHL with an average of 3.15 goals-per-game, so they’re doing it with flair.
Plus: Quenneville’s mustache, you guys??
The Boston Bruins really can do it all.
They score more goals than any other team in the NHL, with a goals-per-game average of 3.47 (I like watching goals, btw). They’ve got more PIMS than any other team in the NHL, taking an an average of 15.9 PIMS per game (I like watching physical play, btw). They lead the NHL in fighting majors with 42 (I’m hesitant to admit it, but I like watching fights. ….btw).
They have arguably the best goaltending tandem in the NHL. They have the most beerability in the NHL.
Holy hell, why is this team at number three?
Let’s get to that…
The Canucks are ahead of the Bruins for me personally partly because I’m a BC boy, but mostly because I’m a fan of highlight reel plays, and the Sedins create highlight reels every time they step on the ice. There’s should be a nightly “Top 5 Sedin Plays” after every game.
There’s nobody in the league right now I’d rather watch operate than these two – the poise, the vision, the passing skills…it’s just insanity.
To top it off, they’ve got one of the most polarizing figures in the NHL in Roberto Luongo, a 40-goal Selke winner in Kesler, a couple of pests that guarantee some fireworks now and again, a fast-rising star in Cody Hodgson, and depth that’s only touched by Boston. And, they’re third in the NHL in goals-per-game with 3.16. Not too shabby, Vancouver.
And coming in at number one…
To be clear, I’ve never liked a Flyers team in my life, and it kills me that I do this one.
But 24/7 does that to a guy. Hell, I’m even finding it hard to spit on pictures of the Rangers’ logo these days.
But I now have a man crush on Claude Giroux, who’s the only guy that comes close to providing the entertainment value of the Sedins, for my money. Scott Hartnell ended up being a fantastic guy (more on that “beerability”-wise later on the site today), which I did not see coming. They have Jaromir freaking Jagr on their team this year. I mean, Jaromir Jagr? How the hell did that happen?
It’s been fun watching Ilya Bryzgalov’s story play out there, and it’s mesmerizing watching their two massive trades play out (and they appear to have paid off, assuming Bryz can get his crap together). They score the second most goals in the NHL (notice a trend here?) with an average of 3.32 a game.
There’s just something about them that’s tough to stop watching right now. As Schenn and Courturier develop, they’re starting to look like a team that’s bound for a head-on collision with Boston in the Stanley Cup playoffs….again.
So those are the teams that are most frequently on my TV. Honorable mentions to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Los Angeles, Detroit, Washington, Winnipeg and Edmonton. I have no idea why Winnipeg, outside of the fact that I’m secretly rooting for them. Some things are just beyond explanation.
So, whaddya think? Did I miss anyone? Who’s on your “top 5 to watch” list?