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Boston Bruins: The naysayers
The Bruins aren’t just 17-2-0, which is impressive enough on its own. They’re 17-2-0 with a vengeance. They’re crushing opponents, they rarely even trail, and they’re having fun.
Plenty of experts predicted the Bruins would start their descent into irrelevance this season with last season’s first-round exit, Tuukka Rask’s retirement, a slew of injuries, a popular coach fired and an aging core.
But new head coach Jim Montgomery has the younger guys buying in, and Patrice Bergeron refuses to age. And maybe while we were caught up in Bergeron’s return, some of us forgot David Krejci would also be returning. Krejci has been underrated as a key part of the Bruins for his entire career, and he’s posted 14 points in 16 games so far this season—not to mention his veteran influence on his line of all Czechs. Perhaps he, his hater-loving teammate Brad Marchand and the rest of the Bruins used the offseason naysaying as bulletin-board material. Or perhaps they’re just still that good.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Takes are only takes
No matter how dramatic every take is after big wins and losses, just remember that takes are only takes. They cannot hurt us. If we shut our phones off and go outside for some fresh air, the takes will go away for at least a moment. When it comes to the Maple Leafs franchise, this is a very comforting thought.
In all seriousness, the team is actually very good-to-great this season. Once we’ve counted to 10 and benched Mitch Marner, we can calm down and appreciate that.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 30 years strong
The Lightning are 30 years old this season, and they’ve got a lot to be proud of. Three consecutive appearances in the Final and two rings to show for it? Not bad. The Lightning continue to stay relevant despite the inevitable wear-and-tear of the aforementioned playoff runs, and Lightning fans should appreciate that.
Detroit Red Wings: In a playoff spot
We still can’t be completely sure about what these Red Wings are, especially after their recent four-game losing streak against pretty bad teams. They’ve got a bad habit of playing down to bad teams, and they’ve gotta figure that out. But no one’s expecting them to win the Cup this year, and even qualifying for the playoffs would be slightly ahead of schedule on the Yzerplan. With young teams, the bounce back after a three- or four-game losing streak is always interesting, and Detroit responded with a 7-4 and 6-1 wins.
They’re in a playoff spot at American Thanksgiving, and something tells me that might hold up.
Florida Panthers: The best Reverse Retros of all time
If I had a Florida Panthers fan in my life, I’d be beelining it to whatever Black Friday deal is in store for the Panthers’ Reverse Retros. They absolutely nailed it, and somehow it looks even better on the ice.
Montreal Canadiens: Dare I say, Nick Suzuki’s contract?
Habs up-and-comer Nick Suzuki’s eight-year, $63 million contract has been controversial from the jump—it’s a relatively large swing for someone who needs to prove himself as a top center. But the cap is set to rise in the next few years, and Suzuki is leading Montreal with 11 goals and 23 points in 18 games. Patience, folks.
Buffalo Sabres: The Bills
Raise your hand if you were once again bamboozled by the Buffalo Sabres’ start. I told myself I wasn’t going to fall for it this time, but once again I’m a fool.
I tried to stay the course until maybe the sixth game in their eight-game losing streak. And for the record, no team in NHL history has lost eight consecutive games and made the playoffs.
We’ve seen this one before, and yet it still hurts like the first time. Sabres, it’s not me, it’s you. We’re breaking up for good. The guy down the street might not be perfect, but at least he has a future and he would jump through a fiery table for me.
Ottawa Senators: Rumors
The Senators are so bad in such an unexpected way that any rumor that can serve as a distraction is more than welcome. Is The Weeknd going to own the team? Is Ryan Reynolds going to own the team? Who will star in his documentary? Who cares, just keep the speculation coming.