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THE METALSUCKS/RELAPSE RECORDS BELATED NHL 2010 SEASON PREVIEW!

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So right now you’re probably thinking 1) “Hey, assholes, the NHL season actually started last night so this can’t really be a ‘preview’ in the traditional sense of the word,” and 2) “Hey, assholes, at least one of these artists isn’t actually signed to Relapse Records.” And, yes, we know we’re a little late, but this is metal, so who the fuck is ever on time? And, yes, we know that at least one of these artists isn’t actually signed to Relapse Records, but most of them are, and the fine people at Relapse really did all the work in putting this together, so ppppfffffttttt.

So. After the jump, you can find previews of how the freshly-begun NHL season is looking for the favorite teams of members of 3 Inches of Blood, -(16)-, Buried Inside, Cephalic Carnage, Cretin, Dekapitator, Exhumed, Fuck the Facts, Gravehill, Hero Destroyed, Indian, Misery Index, Mortuous, Repulsion, and Toxic Holocaust. Enjoy!!!

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

My deepest sympathy goes out to the fans of those two teams who play hockey where it doesn’t snow, our northern neighbors with the cry baby goalie and those other guys in orange. That being said, this Stanley Cup hangover is a motherfucker to shake!  I’m not quite sure it’s really going to sink in until I see that battered punch bowl in person but I can’t think of any better way for Bowman to celebrate his 12th league title than in front of the visiting Dead Wings.

It’s been quite a shaky off-season with all the salary cap issues but the core of this championship team is still intact. Exit G Niemi, C’s Madden, Fraser, RW’s Versteeg, Byfuglien, Burish, LW’s Ladd, Eager and D Sopel. Enter G Turco, LW’s Stalberg, Beach, RW Makarov, C Taffe and D’s Scott, Vishnevskiy.  In my opinion, Ladd and Eager are the two biggest losses but if Beach, Skille and Dowell step up and contribute the 3rd and 4th lines will be right back in there. Here’s some thoughts on how the forwards and d-men should pan out: F1-Brower, Towes, Kane. F2-Stalberg, Sharp, Hossa. F3-Kopecky, Bolland, Skille. F4-Bickell, Dowell, Marakov. Beach will probably be called up early in the season and Taffe could get the healthy scratch. D1-Keith, Seabrook. D2-Hjalmarsson, Campbell. D3-Hendry, Boynton with Scott/Vishnevskiy getting the healthy scratches. Marty Turco in net with Corey Crawford waiting in the wings.

Again, the core of this team is intact and another division title is almost guaranteed. As for a cup repeat… as long as all the new faces can provide the offensive depth that they had last year, Lord Stanley’s punch bowl ain’t going anywhere.  Hell, Sir Bowman brought home 5 with Montreal, 4 with Detroit, 2 with Pittsburgh and last but not least THE 2010 MOTHERFUCKING CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS!

P.S. FUCK YOU PHILLY!

-Ron DeFries of Indian

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Just after finishing first in the NHL last season with the best overall record, the Washington Capitals took an improbable first round playoff exit at the hands of the seemingly weak Habs. The memories of the abrupt end to what was supposed to be “our year” still linger, yet it’s been a very quiet off-season, the only notable pick-up being Saint Louis Blues thug J.D. King, adding some grit. The perspective from management is that the team won the regular season last year, so essentially there really is not much to tinker with. The Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble top line attack is going to be in record shape yet again, and the team that featured seven 20+ goal scorers figures to repeat again in the scoring onslaught. With goalie Jose Theodore gone, the pipes are fully in the hands of the young pair of Semyon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth. However, the best new talent to arrive this year seems to be the rookie duo defensemen John Carlson and Karl Alzner.  They both have a slew of awards between them at the minor level, and their addition to the Caps this year might be the key to going deep and into the finals. The bottom line is the Capitals are well prepared to finish again in the top of the conference, after that, as always, the playoffs are when the real season starts.

-Jason Netherton of Misery Index

OTTAWA SENATORS

The loss of Anton Volchenkov is tough. He has been a loyal soldier for the Ottawa Senators for close to a decade, and his fierce commitment to defense and blocking shots are second to none. But as GM Bryan Murray stated earlier this summer, “We want the other team to block shots.” That’s where the signing of veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar comes in.

In Gonchar, The Sens have added what many believe to be the missing piece. He is an elite offensive-defenseman who can man the point on a power play like no other. He provides a constant threat from the back-end, and with young Erik Karlsson coming off a fantastic rookie season, the hope is that Gonchar can take on the role of mentor as well.

With the emergence of up-and-comers Zach Smith and Peter Regin, there are limited spots open up front. Both had strong showings in the playoffs last season and should be penciled in for full time duties, with the latter expected to play top-six minutes.

If goaltender Pascal LeClaire can build off of his outstanding (albeit brief) playoff appearance, and backup Brian Elliott has another strong season, things should be ok between the pipes; a  position that has absolutely haunted the Senators over the years.

Since reaching the finals in 2007, the Senators have gone through some hard times. But solid drafting, a new coach and a bit of waste management have done the team well. The future is looking very bright in Ottawa.

-Andrew Tweedy of Buried Inside

LA KINGS

Lifelong Kings fans like myself (and newer fans for that matter) have little more than frustration and painful memories when it comes to our team.  In 43 years of existence, we have zero cups, and only one finals appearance.  Worse yet, an Anaheim expansion team (named after a shitty Disney movie) came into the league in 1993, and won the cup in 2007.  Despite all that nonsense, I’m always optimistic when looking ahead to the Kings’ “next season” — year after agonizing year…

Alexander Frolov going to the Rangers is the only significant roster change so far.  Jonathan Bernier should become the full-time backup to overworked goalie Jon Quick, who started 72 games last season.  I’m a HUGE hockey fight fan, and I can’t wait to have Kevin Westgarth replace our underachieving enforcer Raitis Ivanans, who recently signed with Calgary.

The Kings made the playoffs last season for the first time in 8 years.  Unfortunately they were eliminated in the first round by Vancouver.  However, the games were close, and the Kings didn’t look overmatched, even though the majority of the team were playoff virgins.  I went to game 6 (the elimination game) with Chris from Despise You.  While it was a heart-breaking experience for me, it wasn’t necessarily discouraging.  As the final horn sounded, Chris looked at me and said “Fuck it.  They’re not ready yet.”  He was right.  But that was then.

My prediction:  A rematch with Vancouver — only this time, it will take place in the Western Conference Finals.

-Tony Baumeister of -(16)-

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Last year was a pyrrhic victory for San Jose – finally making it past the first round of the playoffs with Marleau stepping up as a post-season leader, but after winning a couple of series, we were trounced by the Blackhawks. Fuck. We’re in the playoffs every year, we have great offense, especially since adding Heatley last year to take some of the pressure off Thornton. However, Nabokov’s playoff goaltending was the single biggest culprit in our annual unraveling. Nabby was outplayed, allowing soft goals all postseason — again. Now he’s gone, but goaltending is the biggest X-factor this season- hopefully Greiss or Nittymaki can step in front of the net and make a difference. Our defense needs to toughen up, but overall the team looks stronger than ever. One great thing about the Sharks is that management is dedicated to winning and has long been building a killer team and coaching staff to address whatever issues have kept the Sharks floundering in the postseason. I think 2010 will finally be the year of the only “Shark Attack” I like better than the first Wehrmacht album — we want the Cup, dude.

-Matt Harvey of Exhumed, Dekapitator, Gravehill and Col Jones of Cretin, Repulsion, Mortuous

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

For years I’ve supported the Vancouver Canucks and they always have the whole city in rapture when they’re doing well, but just when the ultimate goal seems to be reasonably within their grasp, somehow they let the opportunity slip away.  On paper, the Canucks consistently have a high caliber team and this upcoming season will be no different.  General Manager Mike Gillis has already made some key moves towards strengthening the team.  The acquisitions of Keith Ballard, in a trade from Florida, and free-agent Dan Hamhuis will make the team’s strong defensive core even stronger.  It should be much the same as last season as far as the Forwards are concerned.  Vancouver has a healthy mix of veterans, that can put up good numbers, and young talent that already carry an invaluable amount of experience.  Traditionally, the Canucks haven’t been know for having superstar players, but The Sedin twins have emerged into a one-two punch the likes of which the NHL has never seen before.  League MVP and Scoring title winner Henrik and his brother Daniel, lead a well-rounded and capable offensive cast which includes the natural scoring talents of Mikael Sammuelson, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler.  Finally, the backbone of the team, our captain, our 2010 Olympic goal medal winning goalie, Roberto Luongo.  He’s won more than 30 games in each of his four seasons in Vancouver and there’s no reason he can’t do it again this year.  If all goes well, we’ll be looking at a third straight division title and more, but the Canucks can be like a psycho ex-girlfriend.  They can make you feel great before inevitably breaking your heart and for some reason you keep going back for more.

-Cam Pipes of 3 Inches of Blood

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

The Pittsburgh Penguins will kick off the 2010-2011 NHL season by opening the doors to their new barn, the Consol Energy Center.  In addition to the opening of the new arena, Pittsburgh has been chosen to host the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field.  The Pens will take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.  With marquee events like these its no wonder the city is revved up for the franchise’s 43rd season.

The 2009-2010 season ended in a big let down as the Pens lost to the Montreal Canadians in 7 games during the second round of the post season.  Pittsburgh has played 63 playoff games in the past 4 seasons and fatigue may have played a part in their early 2010 finish.

The team will be built again around their core of young talent including Evgeni Malkin, Marc Andre Fluery, Jordan Staal, and of course, Sidney Crosby.  With the departure of long time defenseman Sergei Gonchar, the Pens were forced to make some off season personnel moves.  They bolstered their blue line by signing Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin from Phoenix and New Jersey respectively.  Another acquisition by Pittsburgh was the signing of former Flyer, Arron Asham. Asham should bring some offensive production to the table as well as some decent penalty minutes.

The Pens have put themselves in position to make another deep run into the NHL playoffs, and maybe a 4th Stanley Cup.  Anything less would be a disappointment.

-Jeff Turko for Hero Destroyed

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Like many other Toronto Maple Leafs fans, I’m playoff deprived and desperate to see an improvement in the standings this coming season. The team is going to look drastically different this year than it looked last year with GM Brian Burke cleaning house and bringing in a lot of new, youthful faces. The team this year should be faster, tougher and have a better work ethic. Off-season acquisitions Colby Armstrong and Kris Versteeg will be bringing some scoring and grit along with their recent Stanley Cup rings. With the possible trade of Tomas Kaberle falling apart, there is still a need for more scoring upfront with the acquisition of a power forward to help out Phil Kessel. Kessel should be able to better his 30 goal campaign last season, but with the right player to help him out his potential is limitless. Still not sure who will be #1 in net between Giguere and Gustavsson, but I expect to see Gustavsson taking the lion’s share of games. The naming of Dion Phaneuf as captain means that there should be more leadership and direction this coming season. I expect the team to be tougher and harder working than last season, or there will be a tear in my beer!

-Phil Zeller of Toxic Holocaust

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Halak’s gone, Auld is in! (Wait… what?!) Is Carey Price going to finally show up? Who will be the new captain? Andreï Markov (who has yet to get an offer from the Habs.), Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta or maybe Scott Gomez?  Will the two new prospects in Lars Eller and Ian Schultz bring any new dynamics to the offense? What? Ian Schultz never played in the NHL? What a trade! The Habs are in need of a great center and are hoping that Dustin Boyd fills that hole (That’s right!).  Also joining the Habs is young defenceman Alexandre Picard (I used to play hockey with that dude!). He is a big guy and will definitely bring some roughness back to the blue line.  Just like last year, The Hockey News is predicting an 8th place finish for Le Canadien. With all the changes that occurred in the last few years and especially with a new coach in Jacques Martin and a new GM in Pierre Gauthier, one can only hope that the Habs make the series and go deep. Last year’s post season marked the beginning of a new chemistry within the team, which translated into a great performance in the playoffs. With the proper leadership and the constant help of their veterans, one can only hope for a similar result in 2010-2011. In the end, another great season of hockey is about to begin and my French Canadian genes are starting to boil!  Go Habs Go! Tabarnak!

-Mathieu Vilandré of Fuck the Facts

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Cephalic Carnage are from Denver, Colorado, home of the Colorado Avalanche (formerly The Quebec Nordiques), who are the team I root for when the hockey season in full bloom. It’s a little early to be making predictions on the upcoming season, usually I get to go to rookie camp that starts September 12 through the 18th, that’s when you get to really evaluate the youngsters as to who will playing in Denver or playing in Cleveland (AHL team the Lake Erie Monsters) or their college or junior teams. With the departures of Darcy Tucker, Marek Svatos, Ruslan Selei, and Stephan Yelle, it’s going to be rough. The ‘Aves have opted for a younger line up, so cats like Matt Duchene, Ryan O’ Ryley, TJ Galiardi, and Brandon Yip need to have a strong sophomore year! Hopefully David Jones, Adam Foot, and Milan Hejduk can stay healthy and be the veteran leadership this team needs. We have a new young core of blue liners as well with Kevin Shattenkirk, Cameron Guance, Jonas Holos and Kevin Montgomery trying secure jobs in the NHL. If Craig Anderson, Paul Statsny, Chris Anderson, Peter Budaj and Cody McLeod can do what they did last year It should be a great year for the fast puck moving ‘Aves. Joe Sacco is a great coach for the young talent that might crack the roster like so many rookies did last year to help up get into the playoffs. He knows how to get the best out of his young and veteran players, with discipline, accountability, and hard work. Who knows if we will see another surprise like last year with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Ryley in this year’s first round draft pick Joey Hishon that would be awsome. Going into training camp and preseason the Avalanche needs to resign restricted free agents forwards Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller to make it a smooth transition into the regular season. Its going to be a long year and I think we have the veteranship, youth, talent, speed, grit, and power to skate and beat any team on any night, just like any team can beat the ‘Aves if not prepared or take an opponent lightly. So good luck to all 30 teams congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the cup last year (it’s going to be tough to repeat) but if the Hawks can do it with a young team, the ‘Aves can definitely compete for the cup, or at least be back in playoff contention, battling Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Minnesota for the northwest title… hockey rules, merci to Canada for hockey and Quebec City for Le Nordiques, we will never forget..

-Len Leal of Cephalic Carnage

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