Puck Paddy Series – Picking your Team – Part 2

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The “Picking your Team” series is the uneducated views of Mr. Puck Paddy helping you, the uncommitted/new hockey fan, find the new love of your life. It’s like tinder, except with less pictures and more terrible analysis….

The North-East

Euro-centric readers may be more attracted to the North-East of the US and Canada due to lessened burden of the time zone issue, coupled with the fact that these markets have been considered more “Traditional Hockey” areas. While they may not ever be able to break in to the elite club of originals, the North-East has many viable options to follow as your team.

7) New York Islanders

The Islanders are not one of the aforementioned viable options. They make the Leaf’s look like a well-oiled machine. They’ve struggled for a long time to really establish themselves, and besides their glory days in the 80’s have had fairly limited success, particularly recently. Their move to Brooklyn may offer some hope for the future, and they have league stand-out John Tavares leading them, but they’ll always be playing second fiddle in that area.

Likeability Grade: D plus

8) New Jersey Devils

A team with more recent success than their Islander Neighbours, but generally now seems to be a place where players on their last legs go to ply their trade. Iconic hall of fame goaltender now off their books, there isn’t much to get the casual/new fan excited about the Devils, but they’ll probably be a tough out for the team you do end up picking.

Likeability Grade: D

9) Ottawa Senators

What was recently a potential up-and-comer in Canadian and North American hockey, the Sens have lost a few key pieces and big names to their line-up, and are now faced with play-off wilderness if things continue. Financially lightweight, this team could begin to reflect the blandness of the city itself, save for the majestic defenseman Eric Karlson.

Likeability Grade: C minus

10) Pittsburgh Penguins

Recent perennial under-achievers, the Penguins probably should be more popular than they are around the NHL. No shortage of star-power lead by hockey’s golden boy Crosby, what you’re likely to get as a Penguins fan is many months of glorious regular-season action followed by frustration and disappointment from April onwards. And let’s face it, choking when it matters is not a turn on. Now might be the time to get on-board the bandwagon and not be seen as a glory-hunter.

Likeability Grade: B

11) Philadelphia Flyers

“Toronto South” might be a harsh way to characterize the Flyers, but when you factor in their millions of dollars, irritable fanbase and penchant for irrational hockey moves that lack foresight then maybe that’s the best way to describe these guys. The Flyers could be heading for a rough year this year, but they’re not long removed from being genuine contenders for the East and do have some nice pieces. You’re likely to be more entertained as a fan by watching Philadelphia than most other teams, but not all entertainment is enjoyable…

Likeability Grade: D plus

12) Washington Capitals

While there’s something admirable about the Caps fans feverishly following their team (see “Rock the Red” campaign) there’s something less admirable about hitching your entire franchise to a mercurial talent like Alex Ovechkin. While he possesses undeniable star power, and they do have some nice pieces around that team, you can’t help but feel like you’re watching a hollow experience when these guys play. If you like Ovi’s style, then this is your team, because he is the team.

Likeability Grade: C

13) Buffalo Sabres

This one really depends on your perspective as a sports fan. One things for sure – start following Buffalo this season and you will be starting from the ground floor. Heck, start following them next season and you’ll be starting from the ground floor. The team is currently within it’s first twelve months of full-on tank mode, and have their eyes all over the prizes in the upcoming NHL 2015 draft. It might be a rough watch this year, but take it from me, the people and the city of Buffalo has a lot going for it. The team….remains to be seen.

Likeability Grade: C minus

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