Let's review the headlines on the front, shall we?
- 2014-15: Taylor Hall and Mark Giordano grace the cover with the headline "Will the Oilers & Flames Finally Turn the Corner?"
The Oilers didn't turn the corner. Not even close. The Flames broke out, but that was to be expected with the moves they made in the off-season. They were a long shot for the playoffs, but they made the big dance last season.
- 2013-14: Taylor Hall and Mike Cammalleri appear on the cover with the headline "Flames & Oilers Grow Hope in Alberta".
Who cares about Alberta? The Flames finished 13th in the West while the Oilers finished 14th. Growing hope was all fans could do after that season.
- 2012-13: Jordan Eberle and Jarome Iginla appear on the cover with the headline "The Battle in Alberta to Make the Playoffs".
Iginla finished the season in the playoffs as he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline. Calgary missed the playoffs, and Edmonton wasn't even close. There was no battle. Just a whimper in the dark.
- 2011-12: Jarome Iginla is on the cover with the headline "Will the Flames Catch Fire Again?"
In the first year the Jets returned, the Flames would go on to miss the playoffs by five points in the Western Conference. Catch fire? No, not even close. Taylor Hall is on the front of the cover in a smaller picture as THN comments on the skill and youth of the core of the Oilers. Um, nope.
- 2010-11: Taylor Hall graces the cover with the headline "At Long Last, Hope Comes to Town".
Seriously, THN, are your editors daft? Edmonton finished dead-last in the NHL. What hope were you hoping for? Jarome Iginla is also on the cover in a smaller photo as THN imploring that things have to get better for the Flames. Calgary missed the playoffs by three points. No, things don't have to get better.
- 2009-10: Jarome Iginla appears on the cover with the headline "NHL Beware: It's Redemption Time in Calgary".
Um, no. Calgary once again missed the playoffs by five points. No redemption whatsoever. Iginla didn't even finish in the top-20 in scoring. Shawn Horcoff was shown in a smaller photo with THN asking where the kids will carry them. As we've seen, it ain't the playoffs.
Hey, THN, how about giving the Jets a little love? It isn't that hard.
I always read up on the fan survey that THN does after the season is over as they look forward to the next season. The fans usually have a pretty good feeling on the game, but I have to say that THN's experts are getting better. According to the fans, the Anaheim Ducks will win the Stanley Cup and the President's Trophy next season, Victor Hedman takes the Norris, Carey Price earns another Vezina, Ovechkin grabs the Richard, McDavid takes the Calder, and Crosby will win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies. We'll refer back to these as this as this season progresses.
THN successfully called the Blackhawks over the Lightning in their yearbook last season, but missed in a big way in 2013-14 when they predicted the Blues over the Penguins. 2012-13 had them call the Penguins over the Canucks - another big miss. 2011-12 had the Capitals over the Blackhawks - oh-fer-two again.
Whoever made the prediction last season should have been given the keys to the palace because it's been the only correct prediction for a long, long time. However, the crew at THN is following the fans' lead as they're calling an Anaheim Ducks parade in Orange County. Their opponents? The Washington Capitals. I have a feeling this isn't going to work out quite like THN thinks it will. But I could be wrong.
In a rather bold prediction, the Jets actually do get some love from THN as they are predicted to finish third in the Central Division behind perennial powerhouses in St. Louis and Chicago, respectively. Anyone here in Winnipeg excited about a first-round match-up against the reigning champions? I thought so.
All in all, there are some good articles and I enjoy the team examinations from THN, but I really want to see a new set of images on the front cover. Fourteen straight covers with either the Oilers or Flames in the prairie region is enough. That's a prediction with which we all agree.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!