So in case you didn’t notice, the 2013/14 National Hockey League season gets underway tonight, and I’m sure everyone associated with the sport (you know the commissioner, players, coaches, owners etc.) will be hoping that the enormous amount of interest drawn from the average to mostly absent fans in latest edition of the playoffs, will carry over into athe new non-lockout season.
There are quite a few intriguing storylines in the upcoming season that may help ignite your passion for some hockey. So let’s look at a few.
- The NHL decided to get rid of a few of its divisions due to a league-wide realignment, now combining eight teams to form the Metropolitan Division (I kid you not).
- Can the defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks, replicate the magical ride that was last season? The Blackhawks got off to a torrid start last season, skating through the competition while setting all kinds of franchise and league records for consecutive games won and points earned to start a season. The team has lost a few key role players including finals hero Dave Bolland, but it won’t stop them from trying to win their third Stanley Cup in five years.
- Will the coaching exchange between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers, be beneficial for both teams? John Tortorella’s fiery, somewhat belligerent act, began to grow mold after four years in the Big Apple, and he was promptly fired after another disappointing end to the season. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, head coach Alain Vigneault, was relieved of his duties after the Canucks got swept in the first round. Before you know it, both men took each other’s places with both organizations hoping their newly installed coaches will provide what they were previously lacking.
- Will Jerome Iginla and Daniel Alfredsson, two great players who are on the last laps of their respective careers, finally get to the promise land with their new Stanley Cup-contending teams, after failing to do so with the franchises they served for the majority of their playing days? Iginla is now a Boston Bruin (so weird) and Alfredsson has joined the Detroit Red Wings (even weirder). It’s going to be fun to see if they have anything left in the tank, that will enable them to make a substantial contribution to their new teams.
- What affect will the deployment of the NHL’s elite hockey players, to the Sochi Winter Olympics in February, have on the contending teams? While the rest of the players enjoy a two-week vacation, the best of the best will be battling it out in Russia for their respective countries. Talk about inconvenience.
- Can the new rules the NHL has enforced to heighten scoring numbers in effort to attract more viewers, actually work or is this just another desperate attempt by the league? Goalies will now have to trim their pads and operate in shallower nets, also hybrid icing and visors have now been instituted in an effort to protect the skilled players. Let’s hope this works!
- Will the Bruins regret trading the young and talented Tyler Seguin, when it’s all said and done? The seven-player trade between Boston and the Dallas Stars, sent shock waves throughout the NHL world. Boston traded for a talented piece in Loui Eriksson, after allegedly growing tired of dealing with Seguin’s partying ways. Seguin should be fostering some extra motivation to prove the Bruins made a mistake and for tarnishing his reputation.
- And last but not least, will the Toronto Maple Leafs get over the Game 7 debacle in the playoffs, and finally, finally, put these fans out of their misery? I personally wouldn’t hold my breath but this has to be the year doesn’t it? They’ve shored up their offense and goaltending in the offseason, so we’ll see what happens.
Enjoy the hockey folks!