- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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The NHL regular season opened last weekend with games between the Senators and Penguins in Sweden and the Rangers and Lightning in the Czech Republic.
But over the next three nights the rest of the league's 26 teams open play for the 2008-'09 season.
With that in mind, here are 26 predictions for the new season:
1. Sean Avery will be very disappointed with the fashion options at Dallas-area malls.
2. Paul Newman will haunt those responsible for this.
3. The four hockey moms in the battleground state of Florida will not be enough to swing the election.
4. Based on his listed weight, Nordy -- the new Minnesota Wild mascot -- will disclose that he/she/it has an eating disorder.
5. Fans hit by the economic crisis will still throw their hats to the ice upon a hat trick, but will then reel them back up to their seat with fishing line.
6. Gillette will upgrade its five-blade razor with Therma Blade technology.
7. The Capitals player in the third row on the right will eventually get hurt or be sent to the minors.
8. Ice girls will continue to be scantily-clad during flu season, yet also continue to rebuff pure-hearted requests to rub Vick's Vapor Rub on their chests.
9. The Stanley Cup will be returned from its offseason adventures and test positive for several communicable diseases.
10. This is the year the number of Sidney Crosby's facial hairs finally eclipses his number of assists.
11. The Yankees will bring in another big name by signing Theo Fleury.
12. Rick Tocchet will hire a skywriting plane to fly over Gary Bettman's house pulling a sign that reads: "Please, can we expand to Vegas?! Call Vinny at 555-2132 if Yes. You'll hear from us if No."
13. Jaromir Jagr will be happy to learn that late-'80s mullets are just now coming into style in Russia.
14. The Lady Byng winner will be determined by a new points system totaling times beaten up and wedgies received.
15. Flyers fans will accuse opposing goaltenders of diving when they make saves.
16. If the Islanders can go 82-0 they will go bankrupt.
17. The 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field will be a flop when the puck keeps getting caught in the ivy along the boards.
18. Don Cherry will continue to believe people should take his word on what makes a hockey player tough and manly.
19. Thanks to a major breakthrough in logo medical science, the Buffalo Sabres logo will finally be fitted with prosthetic limbs.
20. Gary Bettman will have to be talked out of playing a Winter Classic in Phoenix.
21. The Edmonton Oilers will become the Edmonton Fightin' Solar Panels in order to align with the NHL's green initiative.
22. The Islanders will trade Mike Comrie but attempt to keep Hilary Duff.
23. Mats Sundin will take Brett Favre out for lunch for retirement advice, but neither of them will be able to decide what to order and then, after a few hours, they will go their separate ways having barely spoken.
24. Bulgaria's women's team will look to acquire some blue line help before the trade deadline.
25. Sidney Crosby will ask the Lemieuxs if he can get a puppy.
26. Hockey fans debating Crosby-Ovechkin will get in a heated debate with NBA fans debating Kobe-LeBron over which debate is more worthy of debate.
DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.
There is only one writer who can preview an NHL season like DJ Gallo: And that is DJ Gallo.