I can't believe that I'm finally writing this - hockey's back. I will be sitting my happy little butt in my season ticketed seat at Philips tonight. It might be 90 degrees outside, but it's a nice 64 degrees inside and I shall have a frosty $8 beer in one hand and a Wetzel Dog in the other. It's like Christmas, but with violence.
I'll be trying to post the line-ups of the teams here so people won't have to go hunting around the internet like I had to last night. Some teams aren't as good about posting line-ups as Ben is at the Blueland Blog.
The Thrashers' line-up's a mix of newbies, familiar faces, and the new young kids - exactly what you'd expect for the first home pre-season game:
Kane- Burmistrov- Stewart
Dawes- Little- Pettersson
Paquette- Holzapfel- Aliu
Eager- Rissmiller- Machacek
I like that top line, but I really, really like the second one. Lots of speed, good playmaking, and grit mixed with scoring from Dawes. The third line isn't a slouch, and the fourth should be a bit rough to play against too. I'm very much interested to see how Valabik and recent signing Zubarev do together, not really for Boris but mostly for Zubarev. He'll probably wind up in Chicago, but that added depth and size at defense isn't anything to scoff at. Kulda's fighting for a roster spot against Valabik, Zubarev, and his line mate Meyer. If Kulda's cut, expect him to be one of the last to go.
There will be camp tomorrow morning for everyone not on this roster, and expect the first cuts to come probably early tomorrow morning.
The Blue Jackets were nice enough to post their line-up on their site as well. As expected, it's mostly rookies with a few vets thrown in for balance. They're throwing David LeNeveu out to the wolves at least the first two periods, but as is customary expect to see Mathieu Garon get some playing time about halfway through, much like Drew MacIntyre will for Atlanta.
If you'd like to further check out the competition, don't forget to head over to Light the Lamp.
After the jump, a look at the Avalanche's first visit to St. Louis this year.