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What's happening in the NHL and why it matters for Oct. 4
Swiss royalty, pad mishaps, and earlier starts
You may have heard the phrase, “The NHL is a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday league.”
If you haven’t, it’s a simple explanation of the NHL schedule. For most NHL teams the bulk of their schedule is played on those three nights.
That’s the thought behind this new twice-weekly feature I’m launching at Shap Shots. Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, the day before some of the busiest nights of the week, we’ll be talking about what’s been happening in the NHL and why it matters (or frankly is interesting to me).
I’m still tweaking the format and figuring out the ins and outs of substack, so any reader feedback would be greatly appreciated. It’s preseason for everyone, right?
Roman Josi wasn’t just the star of the Nashville Predators’ 4-3 preseason win against SC Bern in Switzerland, he was also effectively the director and producer of the Hollywood moment in his hometown.
Josi had personally pushed for the Predators to take part in the NHL Global Series, dating back to pre-COVID-19 times. When the NHL started making Nashville a fixture in key events (Winter Classic, Stadium Series, the draft next year), team executives would often remind NHL decision makers about their desire to play a game in Switzerland for their captain.
The Predators will still play two regular season games on their Euro trip, in Prague aginst the San Jose Sharks, but the highlight for Josi will undoubtedly be a two-goal night, and first-star honors back in his hometown against his old club.
Josi, in my view, should have gotten more love for the Hart Trophy last season. Not saying he should have won it, but with how he carried Nashville into the playoffs I thought he would have finished higher than sixth in the final tally.
Josi theatrics aside, I’m a big fan of the exhibition games between NHL clubs and European opponents like this. The Sharks play a similar game tomorrow against Eisbaren Berlin, that game starts at 2 pm ET.
Hellberg of a pad situation
Unless you are an Ottawa Senators fan, probably don’t care much about Magnus Hellberg, but his waiver claim on Monday, moving from the Seattle Kraken to the Ottawa, was notable for this reason.
Because of the turnaround time, Hellberg will be practicing, and potentially even playing preseason games for Ottawa, with a billboard for Seattle on his legs.
Brian’s, the pad manufacturer Hellberg uses, is a custom boutique shop in the world of goalie equipment, so it’s not as simple as taking a pair of blank pads off the shelf for use in Ottawa. Any new pads, which will be rushed into production, but still could take weeks for an NHL goalie, also have to go to the NHL for official approval before they can even be delivered to a goalie.
Hellberg could bring out his pads from his cameo with Detroit last season, one game after the KHL season ended, but that would likely cause even more of a mixed message for Ottawa, a Detroit divisional rival.
7 pm starts
The Red Wings became the most recent NHL team to move their weeknight regular season games to 7 pm, shifting from their prior 7:30 pm puck drops.
Twenty-seven of the 32 NHL teams now typically start weeknight games at 7 pm, with the five holdouts still starting their typical weeknight game at 7:30 pm locally.
The 7 pm start is more rooted in television viewership, an attempt to better capture the primetime window. Teams have also typically gotten feedback from season ticket holders with young families that a 7 pm start is more doable with children.
The game I’m likely watching tonight/today
San Jose Sharks at Eisbaren Berlin — As noted before, I like the games between NHL clubs and European opponents. It’s fun, it’s unique, and I love the atmosphere of European sporting events.
I was serious about looking for reader feedback on this concept. For transparency, with these Tuesday/Thursday posts I want them to be digestible in length, on a free subscriber level, and open to evolving to what fits readers.