The year was 2008. Through a promotion with The Score I was lucky enough to get sent to the Detroit Red Wings home opener against the Leafs. Not only would I be able to watch my favourite team in their home barn, but I would also witness the raising of their Stanley Cup banner, and I would do it amongst my people.  In my mind there was no way they could lose this hockey game. At home+ Banner raising ceremony + facing the Leafs= sure thing. I was so sure I made a bet with fellow Score employee (and die hard Leaf fan that was also in attendance) Eric Cohen: Loser walks out of Joe Louis arena wearing only the underwear of the other team. I bought some Leafs underwear,  but I knew there was no way they would make an appearance and I prepped myself to take numerous pictures of Eric doing his very own walk of shame. It didn’t turn out the way I planned:

Sorry to subject that to you on a Monday morning, but I used it to prove a point. Pre-game ceremonies do not mean a sure win for the home team. In fact more times than not, it seems to hurt them, and this season is no different.

Bruins Stanley Cup Ceremony

The Bruins raised some eyebrows with their Cup ceremony this season. They played a video montage, took turns carrying the Cup around the ice, and even had retired forward Mark Recchi in full gear. Some hated it and thought it was overkill; others (like myself) didn’t mind it as much.  Maybe the Flyers were upset at having to wait so long for puck drop because they won the game 2-1.

Avs retire Peter Forsberg’s number

When Forsberg decided that his foot couldn’t take any more comeback bids, he officially hung them up. The Avs wasted little time setting up a date to raise his number to the rafter and place it beside Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Ray Bourque. And what better team to do it against than their biggest rival the Detroit Red Wings? Well it was 2 other Swedes that were the story as Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg scored in a 3-0 win.

Keith Tkachuk goes into Ring of Honour

Keith Tkachuk spent most of his career with the Coyotes franchise, but also spent some significant time in St Louis. So it seemed fitting to induct him into the Ring of Honour in Phoenix in a game with the Blues. Final Score: St Louis 3 Phoenix 2

Mats Sundin gets number honoured

Some people would argue that Mats Sundin is the greatest Maple Leaf in franchise history, and his stats certainly help back up that argument. He became the 16th player to have his number honoured (not to be confused with retired) by the Leafs. Great tribute by the team and great speech by the former captain. Too bad the team got hammered 5-0 by Montreal of all teams.

Look, I’m not saying it’s a sure thing, there are always exceptions to the rule (the Devils won on Niedermayer night, Coyotes on Roenick night), I’m just saying it is not as big of a “motivatator” as some would think. If you don’t agree, scroll back up and take one more look at the picture of me in my underwear!

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Let’s head to the links

The Red Wings matched an NHL record with their 20th straight home win, so how does their streak measure to others? (Pro hockey Talk)

I never saw goals like this when i played high school hockey (Puck Daddy)

Only Dirty Dangle can take free agents and turn them into strippers!

Every day that we get closer to the deadline, we get more and more trade rumours, including one involving Stastny and the Kings (The Fourth Period)

Speaking of the Kings, if they want to make some noise in the playoffs they need to actually put the puck in the net (Sporting News)

Katie Baker of Grantland takes a look at some revlons…you know…make-up calls!

You’ve gotta love hearing about locker room pranks, even if its really not that impressive (Detroit Free Press)

I’m no expert, but Andy Sutton is staying in Edmonton (Edmonton Journal)

and finally….KRONWALLED!