It's late July, which naturally means it's time to bang out a hockey magazine.
Every year I do some of the heavy lifting on McKeen's Hockey's annual yearbook, and it's a process that gets started about now. Someone higher up the food chain than me decides when these things hit the shelves (late August, generally) and the turnaround time means a deadline likely within the next two weeks.
Only 15,000 words to go.
It's a fun project to do every summer, but as you can imagine, it's also incredibly challenging given you need to write something that's going to be worthy of $7.99 a month from now. (I know there are complaints every year about books being out of date, but the entire magazine industry runs on a similar cycle.)
ESPN's running a survey right now where you can rank all 30 NHL teams, and that's much the same process I've been going through lately. There are obviously still some big pieces to come into play — Mats Sundin, Teemu Selanne, Joe Sakic, teams over the cap, etc. — but I think everyone would agree on a few basic things:
- Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Jose will make the playoffs
- Los Angeles, Atlanta and the Islanders won't
- There are a lot of wild cards, with at least a dozen teams that are very difficult to place
- Given the level of parity in the league, injuries will be a major factor
- Moving away from a division-heavy schedule changes things for a lot of teams, making it more likely we see four teams from a particularly strong division make the postseason
Everyone loves the Blackhawks. :-)
As for the magazine: I'll try and post some more information on a release date and maybe even an early look at the cover in the near future.
And feel free to offer suggestions for this year's issue.