Lots of afternoon stuff today, so we’ll get this out early to get you ready for your viewing as you avoid going anywhere that might have any retail shops anywhere near it.
First Screen Viewing
Predators vs. Blues – 7pm
Those who would be king against those who simply won’t vacate the throne at the moment. This would be a good time for a “St. Louis and throne-as-toilet” joke, but I’m still coming down from tryptophan and scotch. So you’re going to have to deal with me at less than full speed today. The Blues are head and shoulders above the Central and West as a whole, and if any team is going to haul them in in the division it’s probably Nashville (and maybe Calgary in the conference overall). The Preds have only lost once since Kyle Turris showed up, and they’ve piled up 23 goals in those six games. Pretty tidy. The Blues can’t seem to lose either, and it’s kind of a wonder there isn’t more play about how Mike Yeo is a better coach than Ken Hitchcock right now as he’s doing this with a worse and more injured roster than the one Hitch got himself fired from last year. Food for thought. With all apologies to the Jets (meaning none), these are the two best teams in the Central right now and if the Preds are going to make a charge, they probably need this one as a seven-point-gap even only a quarter of the way through a season is more than miniscule.
Second Screen Viewing
Oilers vs. Sabres – 6pm
First off, it’s funny because both these teams blow when their entitled fanbases thought they could actually be something this year. But really, this is just another chance to bitch about how the NHL markets itself. Here you have a day that the NHL is actively trying to mark out some territory in, as they’ve surrendered Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day to the NFL and NBA, and when the former encroaches on New Years Day the NHL is all too happy to move it’s signature, regular-season event, too. But Black Friday seems to be something where they see an opportunity. And every year, it’s some combination of Rangers, Flyers, Bruins, Penguins. That’s it. Because they’re all in the East and can be shoehorned into the noon time-slot because the NHL is too chicken-shit to try and put it at a real time and NBC also just has to show… looks up…Ellen’s show? And hey, I love Ellen to an irrational degree but come on here.
So here’s a game between two of the game’s biggest young stars, including the best player in the league right now. What would be more interesting? McDavid and Eichel (with the latter playing for a rabid and large fanbase which is the only thing the NHL cares about when scheduling this) or another game between two teams the hockey world has already gotten bored of? I’ll hang up and listen for my answer.
Penguins vs. Bruins – noon
Jets vs. Ducks – 3pm (Ha, the Hawks were replaced by the Jets for this traditional game)
Avalanche vs. Wild – 3pm
Islanders vs. Flyers – 3pm
Lightning vs. Capitals – 4pm
Sharks vs. Knights – 5pm
Canucks vs. Devils – 6pm
Red Wings vs. Rangers – 6pm
Senators vs. Blue Jackets – 6pm
Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes – 6:30
Kings vs. Coyotes – 8pm
Flames vs. Stars – 8pm