This was the offseason from hell. There's no way around it. Even with the 2004 offseason, the only thing we lost was hockey. This time, we lost much, much more than that. I hope, and pray, that the family, friends and former teammates of those players we lost can move past the hurt. It's not easy, but I just hope we don't lose any more the way we did this summer.
Now, onto the first X ways of the 2011-12 season.
I - September 7th, 2011. I know it wasn't our league that lost a team, but the NHL should find a way for all 30 teams to honor Lokomotiv for the season. Not just for opening night, but from opening night, until the Cup is awarded in June.
II - Winnipeg or This is Why Geographically Naming Divisions Causes Problems.
III - It feels like we got hit pretty hard with retirements at the end of last season. And I know the Rafalski gap is going to be tough to fill. But it's not like we haven't had kids chomping at the bit waiting for their chance.
IV - Malkin is good. Not quite sure what he has to do to get the recognition he deserves.
V - Well, apparently we lost game 1. Unfortunately, the game was on NHL Network so that VS could carry a USHL game.
VI - As a ref, I always like to have one glaringly obvious penalty to call early in a game to set the tone. It helps me get in the game, and it lets the players know that I am paying attention. So a big X Ways thank you to Jody Shelley for giving Shanny that glaringly obvious penalty to set the tone with.
VII - Hockey's back. The Lions don't suck. And the Tigers are in the playoffs. It's a fall tri-fecta.
VIII - I wonder if anyone in Pittsburgh has tried giving Sidney a bottle of Summer's Eve.
IX - Happy Trails to Mikey Mo. Hate to see your last season go the way it did, but you gave us 20 great ones before that.
X - I really hope that wearing #24 for the preseason helps Datsyuk heal. I can't even imagine what he's going through.