Golden Gophers hockey.
They'll have #1 overall pick Eric Johnson (St. Louis) and #5 overall pick Phil Kessel (Boston Bruins) both returning to play for the University of Minnesota. Johnson is old news, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a story about Kessel's decision yesterday, and the Boston Globe picked it up today. Scroll down, it's in there.
Christ, if there was ever a time to get into college hockey, this is it.
UPDATE: It seems that Kessel's situation is still unclear - the Star Tribune jumped the gun. Click the link for the full story from the Globe. I'll tell you, if you're in doubt about a hockey rumor, go with DuPont's version. I get the sense he's a bit of a prick, but the real deal, certainly.
Hey "Versus" network- (I still can't get used to that name, and wrote about it here.) are you listening?
Cause if you really "believe in hockey," you should know that any respectable hockey fan would LOVE to see Kessel and Johnson playing together. And you think the opposition won't be up for it? Anybody know how to get tickets? Drop me a line, cause I wanna go.
Oh, and if there are people from "Versus" watching this, do us all a favor and check out this . It's Sportsnet Canada's list of games to watch for this season. Now, I know that your ratings get a little boost when you show big market games like the Rangers playing Philly, but real hockey fans would much rather see a game like the 'Canes home opener against Buffalo on October 4th. The rematch of game seven of the Eastern Conference final is the game everybody wants to see, and there's sure to be a surly contingent of Sabres fans making the trip. Remember, Sabres fans hate Hurricanes more than the entire city of New Orleans.
On the other side of things, you might never see a more effusive lovefest for a returning/visiting player than on January 7th when Todd Bertuzzi returns to Vancouver as a member of the Florida Panthers. It will be a wonderful display of affection marred only by an incident in which, and you heard it here first, Bertuzzi will break Markus Naslund's neck.
Talk about awkward.
While the crowd reaction will be anybody's guess on December 9th when Zdeno Chara returns to Ottawa in a Bruins sweater, The Edmonton crowd reaction will be a bit easier to predict on November 28th when Chris Pronger comes back. I'll go ahead and assume Lauren will be staying in Anaheim for that one. The mightiest ducks of all will be shown off by Pronger, who'll be ducking questions like crazy at the post-game press conference. And yes, please show us the press conference.
A few others that aren't on the list:
Nov 2: NY Rangers at San Jose Sharks
Jagr and Thornton, who battled over the scoring lead and the Hart trophy all season face off for the only time next season, in a battle of the big men. Yes, they both choke in the playoffs, but THIS ISN'T THE PLAYOFFS.
Should be a good one.
October 18th: Canadiens at Blackhawks:
OK- I know, but c'mon! Original six! Plus, the Hawks added Havlat and Smolinski, you never see the Blackhawks on TV anymore, and if the Hawks were good this year, it'd be fun to see it early. Plus, Mike Ribeiro is back with the Canadiens, and I love to root for somebody to punch that guy in the mouth. Seriously, what a little weasel. I hate the Canadiens. I even wrote about it once. Thank God my prediction was wrong.
Multiple dates: Colorado Avalanche at (anywhere)
These will not be as interesting for the games themselves, but just to see if while the Avs are on the road, goalie Jose Theodore stays at the Hilton.
Am I missing anything?
Oh, but seriously, I want Golden Gopher tickets.
Tell me how.