At this very moment, the ice of the outdoor rink is glimmering in the sunlight in anticipation of its annual Winter Classic that will take place this evening. Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League may have canceled the NHL Winter Classic that was to be played between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, but that's not stopping a talented group of hockey players from getting together for the annual Danglers Winter Classic.
The Danglers are a men's league hockey team that I started years ago in order to keep my friends and I together on the ice. High school was over, and many of us were going away to college or starting to work full-time. Every summer, the Danglers were put together through the Midnight Hockey League on Long Island and have continued to go strong for five years.
The NHL season, at least, if there is one, is right around the corner. Much like the NBA a season ago, there could be quite a few surprises if teams are denied a preseason or even if a shortened season is used. With a lot of teams staying competitive throughout the season in 2011-2012, it looks as though there are even more talented teams looking to make a splash in 2012-2013. Here are three teams many are sleeping on, but they could make some serious noise.
Detroit Red Wings
It almost seems silly to include a team like the Detroit Red Wings as underrated going into a NHL season, but expectations are relatively low right now. Losing Nicklas Lidstrom, Jiri Hudle...
Andrew MacDonald might be considered a player that flew under the radar for many teams. After all, he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Entry draft primarily because Ted Nolan was currently the head coach and had worked with him previously with the Moncton Wild Cats of the QMJHL. Had MacDonald been without a connection to the New York Islanders organization, the team very well might not have drafted him.
Since joining the Islanders organization, A-Mac has become one of the top-four blue liners on this young team for a number of reasons. Although he would like to improve his offensive input from the back end, something he did very well while with the Wild Cats (he score 58 points in 2007), his shot blocking has been an invaluable asset.
Former New York Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald had to make a difficult career decision. At 31 years old, should he continue in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Detroit Red Wings as, essentially a career backup to Jimmy Howard, or take an offer to play in Russia?
On July 11, 2011, MacDonald chose to re-sign with the Red Wings and was assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
On September 7, 2011 a plane carrying the Russian hockey team; Lokomtiv Yaroslavi crashed just after take-off. The crash killed nearly the entire roster (only four players survived, all not on the plane) and the entire coaching staff.
The second half for the Flames kicks-off tonight and it doesn’t start easy as they host the Detroit Red Wings, who are 1st place in the Western Conference and lead the league with 67 points. Tonight’s match-up will be the 4th and final one between the teams as the Flames have won 2 of 3 thus far.