"Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings."
-Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Here we go again.
Back into the boat, back into the river, back into the jungle. Fighting against the current every minute of our journey. Getting as far as we can before our strength fails and we are carried back to where we started. Contemptuous of the predators and the insects and the red-winged demons that stalk the wild. Crushing waterfowl under our boat while black hawks cry in the skies overhead. Cutting through the blue depths and the oil-stained shallows. Killing whales and coyotes for food along the way. Cursing the worthless stars above. Crashing through fire and ice.
Into the jungle to find a madman who calls himself a king. To find him and kill him and take his prize.
Four and a half months, 24,748 miles, and 48 games into the heart of darkness.
This season is the most unpredictable since the last lockout ended and all the rule changes completely revamped the league. This year the rule changes aren't of any real consequence, but it's hard to say how the shortened schedule will shake things up. Will a shorter season benefit older teams or will the wear and tear of a compressed schedule give the edge to younger and healthier squads? What effect will exclusively single-conference play have on the standings? What sorts of roster adjustments will teams make now that the new CBA is in place?
I don't know. Nobody knows.
Prediction:win 3-2, with goals from Marleau, Havlat, and some guy you forgot was on the team.