Essential Hockey: The NHL and Its Fans are Back!
You know what? God damn you NHL. God damn you to hell….Awww, well FINE! Since you are going to make that face… I can’t stay mad at you!
That is the truth ladies and gentleman, fans of all ages. We, the people, of this great nation that is called Hockey World, simply cannot stay away from our game. We are addicted and we love it, no matter how much of an abusive relationship this is. We are that dumb girl in a Lifetime movie where the boyfriend cheats and abuses her, but she still loves him. Stupid.
Yeah, you locked us out for half the season and we threatened you with walk-outs, protests videos, and even wrote songs about how much we will hate you forever and ever. But guess what?! All is forgiven. Show us some fights, some hits, some goals, and just some hockey in general and we will set the record TV rating numbers and help arenas all across the league sell out for the start of the season.
Do fans appreciate all the “Thank-yous” and the buy one, get one free tickets, and some discounts on beer? Hell yeah, we do! It was also really cool to see the Blue Jackets have “Thank You Fans” on the backs of their jerseys.
Look, we both know this relationship is one-sided, even though you do “put out” for almost 9 months out of the entire season NHL. After this weekend, I can safely say that nothing, NOTHING, will stop me from loving you. I know it’s not healthy, but at this point I don’t care. I love hockey, and it just isn’t going to stop.
The NHL is back better than ever, and we already have very interesting stories developing in the NHL:
The Detroit Red Wings are looking rather weak right now in the tough Central Division where even the Blue Jackets (tend to always be the butt-end of a joke) are far from a push-over. We all expected their defense to struggle a bit due to departure of the perfect human being, Nicklas Lidstrom, but the injury bug has spread quickly on the slightly-aging Wings. The injury list for the last game included Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (Groin), Jonathan Ericsson (hip), Jan Mursak (collar bone), Todd Bertuzzi (flu), Jakub Kindl (lower body), Joey MacDonald (back), and Darren Helm (Back).
Added to the list above is Ian White who got cut by Jimmy Howard’s skate on Tuesday night. The injury problem has forced the Red Wings go out and sign Kent Huskins, 6’4″ 205 lbs, who has tons of playoff experience, who could work out rather well as the bottom pairing D. The Wings had two call-ups in Gustav Nyquist and Brian Lashoff. Nyquists first game turned out without a point, but he was able to get two shots on goal and play almost 12 minutes. He is a speedy guy who is probably not going to develop much more in the AHL and needs some NHL games under his belt. Lashoff is a seasoned AHL vet as well and already had a goal in his first game. He averaged around 18 minutes a game for Babs and has played rather well.
The Red Wings really need some help on the back end and maybe a big trade is due. Knowing Holland, he wont be pushing the panick button just yet. Last season Detroit started the season 5-5-1 and ended up 32-15-1 after 48 games. The thing is that they did have Lidstrom and had a healthier and deeper D-group than they do now, but Red Wings fans will really need to dig deep and find a way to stay calm.
The Philadelphia Flyers are without a victory to start this season. Surprisingly, this team is seeming to struggle to find ways to both score and stop goals. The Flyers are 0 and 3, so there is a bit more pressure here since two of these losses came to Atlantic division rivals the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins. What is the deal here? In three games Philly only managed 3 goals and Bryzgalov has not played as bad as the stat sheet would have you believe. An injury depleted defence is looking porous and the pressure is on to find some scoring. Perhaps getting Danny Briere back will help with the latter.
In the West we have the defending Champion Los Angeles Kings still trying to find a way to win a game. While most predicted LA to skip the hangover part due to the lockout and a very late season start. It looks like this did not help or make things worse? The Kings lost to Chicago and Colorado by a combined score of 8-3 and this is after looking like the most dominant team in recent history during the playoffs. Maybe some rust and maybe some players who need to get back in game shape, specificially Jonathan Quick, who is might still be rusty after having back surgery.
Elsewhere, Carolina is struggling to find the net with just two goals in two games, while the Washington Capitals have zero points after two games, and Vancouver has yet to record a regulation win this season in three games, and continue to face questions on Roberto Luongo’s future. Ottawa, New Jersey, Chicago, Anaheim, and San Jose have been absolutely shot out of a cannon to start the season. Sadly I only see Ottawa, Chicago, and San Jose coming close to continuing with this success. New Jersey and Anaheim will slow down, sooner rather then later. I could be wrong, but Jersey is in a very tough Atlantic division, and Anaheim can’t rely on Daniel Winnik to average 2 goals per game down the road.
The rookies are scoring everywhere! Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz got their first goals on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks, while some Habs fans reported seeing Alex Galchenyuk walking on water the morning of his first against Florida. Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues is torching up the league with five points in three games, and Cory Conacher has continued his AHL success grabbing five points in three games. Jonathan Huberdeau started with 3 points in his first game but hasn’t scored in his last two. Dougie Hamilton scored his first point for the Bruins on Wednesday. Its absolutely incredible the amount of young talent entering the league this year.
From the NHL’s head office Brendan Shanahan has issued his first discipline of the season to Brayden Schenn as he was suspended for one game for a hit on Devils Anton Volchenkov. Below is the video.