7:02 Def Leppard kicks off the night. Yes, Def Leppard. I guess Poison was booked.
7:03 Seriously, Def Leppard is performing. Although it kind of looks like Brooke Hogan is singing.
7:13 The Red Wings raise their 4th banner in 11 seasons with a simple and understated ceremony that includes Detroit legends Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.
7:24 Our first look at Marian Hossa in a Red Wings uni and it's strange. I can't look at him without wondering how he could say no to a guaranteed $50 million. And this seems like the appropriate time to bring up the reported 10 year/$80M offer Marian Gaborik supposedly rejected today. Gaborik has played 65, 65, 48 and 77 games his last four NHL seasons. He must really, really hate Jaques Lemaire.
7:26 Craig Simpson tells us Leaf coach Ron Wilson will 'play Luke Schenn in all situations and try to get him 20 minutes of ice time'. If Toronto keeps Schenn past the 9 game mark and doesn't return him to junior it might be time for Toronto to get a new interim interim General Manager.
7:52 I predict Dominic Moore will be the Leafs first line center at some point this season.
7:56 Chris Osgood feels sorry for an awful Toronto power play and decides to set up Pavel Kubina with a perfect pass that Kubina happily deposits into an empty net.
8:04 During 'Coach's Corner' Grapes questions the Luongo captaincy, refers to the Sedins as the 'bobbsey twins', and gives strong playoff endorsements to every Canadian team outside of Toronto. Of course he and Ron Maclean spend most of their time discussing the dysfunctional Leafs.
8:20 I predict Dominic Moore will be the Leafs first line center sooner rather than later.
8:28 Detroit is playing like it's game one of a near meaningless 82 game regular season. Let's just say a 1-0 second period deficit hasn't exactly lit a fire under Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
8:37 Nik Antropov’s stick-handling covers the first 3 rows of seats in ice chips. Meanwhile Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby take turns passing the puck in each other's skates. Ummm, the preseason is over...right?
8:40 Dominic Moore continues his strong play and bangs away at a rebound before firing it upstairs for the second Leaf goal. I predict Dominic Moore will be the Leafs first line center starting in the third period.
8:42 Tomas Holmstrom answers quickly for the Wings from his office in front of the net, slipping a backhand between Vesa Toskala's legs.
8:49 A one goal lead for Toronto heading to the third can mean only one thing: Detroit has the Leafs right where they want them.
8:58 As George Stroumboulopoulos takes us through the finalists for the new Hockey Night In Canada theme song, I'll pass on what my friend Morgan said to me: Why not just go with Stompin' Tom's the Hockey Song and call it a day?
9:18 Back to the action and the Wings turn it over to rookie Nikolai Kulemin who puts a nice move on Osgood to give Toronto a 3-1 lead with 12 minutes left.
9:21 As the Leafs threaten to take control of the game Holmstrom scores on another rebound, this time a power play goal with Matt Stajan in the penalty box. The Wings have about 9 forwards who would play on Toronto's top power play unit.
9:39 Babcock pulls Osgood for the extra attacker with a minute left in the game. Shortly thereafter Jamal Mayers flips the puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty that sets up a 6-4 man advantage for the Wings, but Toskala weathers the late storm and Toronto hangs on for the win.
9:46 Don Cherry says Kubina is 'playing like a Norris trophy winner right now'. Wow. One game in.
9:48 In one of the strangest entertainment combinations ever, the NHL follows up the Def Leppard set with Alanis Morisette. Because, you know, nothing gets people ready for hockey like Alanis Morissette.
9:58 Remarkably we are being treated to more Def Leppard. Is the NHL trying to alienate their entire fan base, or attempting to corner the 40 year old mullet demographic? Hard to tell at this point.
10:08 Darren McCarty just drove a motorcycle onto the stage with the Stanley Cup in tow and then handed it off to the Brooke Hogan guy who proceeded to put the Cup down on it's head. I am embarrassed for everyone involved in this debacle.
10:22 I'm assuming the entire hockey audience has either flipped to the baseball playoffs or whipped their remote against the wall.
10:46 In Vancouver, for game two of the double header, the Canucks and Tom Cochrane open with a moving tribute to the late Luc Bourdon.
10:57 Three minutes into the nightcap and we’ve already seen more aggression than we got the entire first match.
10:58 As per NHL rules new Canucks Captain Roberto Luongo isn’t wearing the C on his chest, but has a C located below his cage near the bottom of his mask. I thought you needed to know.
11:01 I keep waiting for Marc Crawford, in his new gig as CBC analyst, to subtly bash Todd Bertuzzi with a few backhanded compliments as payback for Bertuzzi dragging Crawford into the Steve Moore lawsuit, but so far he’s resisted and kept it professional.
11:26 The scoring Sedin messed up a partial breakaway but recovered enough to find the passing Sedin for a bang bang goal. By the way, if the twins have a big year, they could command a $100M contract for the pair of ‘em. Every Canuck fan just threw up in their mouth a little bit.
11:38 Did Mike Milbury leave TSN for CBC to take over Coach’s Corner in a year or two? Just a thought.
11:50 The Sedins combine again to set up linemate Steve Bernier’s first goal as a Canuck and Vancouver is ahead 2-0.
11:53 Flames goalie Mika Kiprusoff directs an awful rebound right onto the stick of Alex Burrows who buries it for a 3-0 lead. The old Mike Keenan would’ve yanked Kipper the moment the puck hit the back of the net. The new Keenan doesn’t move a muscle, it looks like he could be a robot. In fact, are we sure that’s really Mike Keenan?
11:57 Crawford finally obliges when he compliments Bertuzzi’s skills and toughness but tacks on ‘Todd hits to hurt’.
12:13 Bertuzzi, who is taking up space and providing almost nothing, takes a penalty that puts Vancouver back on the power play. The speed and power that defined Bertuzzi’s game during his heydays as a Canuck are nowhere to be found.
12:25 Mattias Ohlund hammers Jarome Iginla then whispers ‘Sean Avery was right, we don’t care about you’ (I can read lips), which incenses Iggy who gets the only penalty and his Flames find themselves shorthanded again to end the second period.
12:38 Just saw the preview for ‘The Express’ for the 25th time tonight, and after watching Dennis Quaid in ‘Any Given Sunday’ and ‘The Rookie’ it’s safe to say I will see any sports movie he stars in.
12:43 Burrows scores again early in the third on a one-timer to give Vancouver a four goal cushion. How long till the fisticuffs?
1:02 As the contest continues to get chippier, Ohlund scores on a power play to put this game to bed. I’m ready to do the same but am holding out hope that Calgary will try to send a message with their fists.
1:08 Phaneuf just wallpapered one of the Sedins and Bernier steps in to dance. Good for Bernier. I think the last six minutes will play out fine without me. For Def Leppard, Alanis Morissette and myself, good night.