I admit it, I got bored with the regular season. I’ve been watching, but its really hard to get amped up knowing how little most of the games are going to change the standings. The Boston-Toronto game, I was annoyed to see them lose, but honestly I get more upset about November to February games than late March. By this time of the year you already who your team is and how they stack up against just about everyone. The Bruins tend to play down to the level of their competition, a lot. So here’s a few things Bruins fans, and others can keep track of from now until the start of the most exciting post season in sports.

  1. The Crosby Watch, how many times will he get mentioned per game as even the announcers who normally focus on the games they are calling struggle for something to keep them awake.
  2. Can Patrice Bergeron score again this season?
  3. What team will have the most undisclosed injuries and ailments that only require one or two games of rest?
  4. How many coaches or general managers will be fired between today and the end of the first round of the playoffs?
  5. Do the New York Rangers manage their second regular season choke in a row, or do they make it to the promised land?
  6. With four games left and only one back to back set, how many starts will Tim Thomas get?
  7. Does Zach Parise go into his season having scored since his return?
  8. When does Brayden Schenn get the call to help round out the roster of the injury plagued Los Angeles Kings? Is it before or after the end of the Saskatoon Blades post season push?
  9. How many more stories will we see or hear about improbably candidates for various awards?
  10. Will any of the three Washington Capitals goalies nail down the number one slot?
  11. With a winning record this season against the Red Wings, will the Nashville Predators actually push to move up from their current penciled n date with Motor City’s finest?
  12. How many of the last four games for the Bruins will be played by each of the following: Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly, Tyler Seguin, Shane Hnidy, Adam McQuaid, Steve Kampfer, and Johnny Boychuck?
  13. How many stories will we see on the Bruins being short sighted by not trading the Toronto pick?
  14. Find an explanation for why the Boston Bruins have the second best odds of winning the Stanley Cup this year according to Sports Club Stats.
  15. Visit Youtube and DailyMotion to find some of the best hockey fights ever.
  16. Come up with a sensible rule change to eliminate or reduce the shootout that won’t see players going four or five overtimes during the regular season every fifth game.
  17. Try and figure out what to do with the Calgary roster to turn them into a viable playoff team next year?
  18. Do the same with Toronto, Atlanta, Dallas.
  19. Tweet about how good it is that Super Mario won’t have Matt Cooke on his team next year.
  20. Start writing the eulogy for your team or one you hate in hopes Puck Daddy will use it this year.

I won’t be watching LeBron James. Its not just that I don’t watch basketball and haven’t watched two games in the same season since Sir Charles retired. Its not just that my home town is unlikely to land King James. I just don’t care.

In hockey people are currently all agog that Ilya Kovulchuk has still not decided where he and his family will live the next several years. He’s been undecided since July 1 at least. But he hasn’t addressed the media, he’s let his agent handle that. His agent as talked about what teams may or may not be in the mix. No former teammate has come forward to say he’s landing in this city or that. He certainly hasn’t scheduled a huge, self promoting hour long television special to tell us where he will play. I suspect the first time #17 is televised will be sometime during training camp.

Brett Farve, for all his much talked about decision making inability, has never jerked the media around. He has wrestled with the weighing of will vs. skill, and desire vs. ability, hunger vs. endurance every off season. Its not about money, he comes back with an all consuming hunger. He comes back to win.

The only other person in entertainment who’s ego I can barely compare to LeBron James is Kanye West. And much as I despise, loathe and revile the self-serving, self-centered, attention seeking, media addicted behavior I can’t 1) imagine even that unadulterated fathead scheduling a press conference to announce where he signs his next record deal (even though he will get a bidding war) 2) I can’t imagine MTV, BET or another similar outlet catering to his wish.

The me, me, me limelight and liquor culture of the NBA is all is not for me. This is amazing since I like liquor. But for a team sport to revolve around an individual is a perversion of th highest order. Even back when Jordan returned to the court he got less attention. The NBA has sewn and fertilized the seeds of selfishness and self aggrandizment and have are reaping the whirlwind of falling TV ratings and attendance. Teams have been shuffled across the map as fanbases turn elsewhere for enjoyment, and yet no one in the NBA has figured out why.

Back on June 2, I tossed the gauntlet out at the hockey blogging world.  Create a team off the UFA list, pick the first players to resign, keep it under the cap for next year, and keep the deals realistic. In other words no 65 year deals for a certain Russian winger. And no $200,000,000 payrolls.

So here we go.

1st Domino:

Defenseman:

Anton Volchenkov. I just can’t see him making it long if his demands are at all reasonable with the number of teams that need a strong defensive defenseman.

Forward:

Matthew Lombardi, too many teams from the Flames to the Wild and the Canes need a good center right now.

Goal:

This is the pick i have the least confidence in, but I’m picking Dan Ellis.

Team UFA $57.4m All dollar figures in millions, $.400 would be $400,000

F

I. Kovulchuk $8.8m M. Lombardi $2.75m  B. Guerin $2.5

A. Frolov $4.25    M. Cullen $2.9  R.Torres $2.8

A. Ponikarovsky $2.8  K. Wellwood $1.5m C. Armstrong $2.5

M Satan $1  G. Metropolit $1.5  E. Artyukhin $1m

J Shelley $.800

35,100,000

Defense:

A Volchenkov 4.2m  D. Morris 3.5M

J. Leopold 3.2m   D. Hamuis 3.7m

A. Lilja 1.85m    S. Hnidy .850

T. Conboy .750

18,050,000

G:

D. Ellis 2.5M

M. Biron 1.75

4.25

Part 3 Worst Contract:

Ordinarily one could just flip a coin and insert the Rangers or the Canadiens, but since both are so cash strapped I’m going to go with a team desperate to make the playoffs.

The Panthers.

Part four Where’s Ilya:

Since this is my pick to make the Western Finals this season, with or without him and they have  a good chunk of cap space available too, I’m going with the sexy pick:

The LA Kings.

If you’re gonna take part, remember I need to get a link to your post tweeted or emailed to me by noon ET on June 30.

Follow this conversation on twitter with #nhlufachallenge