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What's happening in the NHL and why it matters for Oct. 13
That Avalanche hoisted the banner
The Colorado Avalanche completed their 2022 championship celebration on Wednesday, hoisting the Stanley Cup banner to the rafters before demolishing the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2.
The game itself featured little drama, Colorado is still very good and Chicago is doing its part to race to the bottom of the standings as quickly as possible.
For opening night, it was somehow the perfect start for both teams.
Colorado also capitalized on recent popular culture news, Blink-182 is back together, and Mark Hoppus led the crowd in a sing-along version of All the Small Things, which became the viral Avalanche anthem last season.
I did find it a bit odd that Colorado opened on Wednesday and not Tuesday. I like the tradition of the defending Stanley Cup champion getting to formally kick-off the season on opening night.
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ESPN trying to take a page out of Turner’s book
Executives at ESPN won’t admit it publicly, but they were jealous of the success and the acclaim TNT’s studio show received last season from a populous of hockey fans.
And so heading into its second season with NHL rights, ESPN is actively trying to bring more personality and “wackiness” out of Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.
On Tuesday night Chelios and Messier were in the studio with Steve Levy, and there were more attempts at humor, some of which felt overly forced. Messier at one point ended up bundling up in a blanket because it was cold in the studio.
It’s one of the few alterations I noticed about the ESPN broadcast, which seems to be rather happy with other elements of the broadcast and just rolled things over from Year 1.
ESPN will have it’s first ESPN+/Hulu exclusive games tonight, so be ready for that if you are a fan looking for the New Jersey Devils-Philadelphia Flyers game or the Dallas Stars-Nashville Predators contest.
We should still be worried about the Leafs goaltending
The Toronto Maple Leafs boldly went into this season with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov as their goaltending tandem, and it already cost them in a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Murray let up four goals on 23 shots, his rebounds were juicy, and with how Toronto is going to play this season — it’s going to be open, fun hockey — you need a goaltender that bails out mistakes.
Two of the goals came from the sharp hands of Cole Caufield, who is going to be a bright spot in Montreal this season.
The Predators will host their home opener tonight against Dallas, officially playing its third game of the season after starting with back-to-back games in Prague.
And while Nashville will have three games on the ledger, the Detroit Red Wings still won’t open their season until Friday when the host Canadiens.
It’s an odd nuance of the schedule, and Detroit goes from having a week to prep for opening night to playing three games in four nights.
The three-in-four and the back-to-backs are a necessary evil in the NHL, but this feels like a compacted schedule that could have been avoided.
Sabres sign Samuelsson
Buffalo signed Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million contract just 54 games into his career.
It’s a fascinating contract for a couple of reasons:
If Samuelsson lives up to Buffalo’s expectations, the Sabres will be thrilled with this deal.
If Samuelsson lives up to Buffalo’s expectations, he’ll probably be kicking himself for committing to seven years and undercutting his value with the salary cap going up in a couple of seasons.