As we hockey fans gear up for the start of yet another National Hockey League season, let’s take a look at the more interesting headlines from the off-season to get you all caught up for the 2018-19 NHL season.
This off-season hockey fans were blessed with not one but two #PlayerWatch. The first belonged solely to John Tavares that took his sweet time interviewing his next team and decided he wanted to head home and become the newest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Which in my opinion Tavares and Matthews together just made the Leafs a lot more interesting to watch this season.
But the best #PlayerWatch that happened belonged to Erik Karlsson. Karlsson won the off-season because his watch came in waves, first as a rumor than as a legit thing when he was traded from the Calgary Flames to the San Jose Sharks. Now I think all hockey fans knew that there was some drama building between Karlsson and the Flames because of some locker issues with his wife and a fellow teammate. But again like Tavares, Karlsson greatly increased his odds of winning Lord Stanley now that he’s on a team with Brent Burns.
The next headline that caught my attention was when Max Pacioretty announced that he was taking his talents to Las Vegas and joining the Golden Knights. If you haven’t read his fantastic article in the Player’s Tribune, I’ve linked it here and I can’t suggest enough reading it. This move was surprising because Pacioretty has been with the Canadiens his whole career and it didn’t seem like he was looking for a new team, but I mean given the success that the Golden Knights had last season it doesn’t surprise me that Pacioretty would want to join the talented expansion team.
Since we’re on the subject of the Golden Knights, is anyone surprised that James Neal is now with the Calgary Flames? I thought for sure that Neal would do everything he could to make sure that he stayed in Vegas to see if he could help the team get back to the Finals and win Lord Stanley.
My beloved Chicago Blackhawks caught my attention when during training camp they started a policy of actually announcing player’s injuries, including Corey Crawford’s concussion. It caught my attention because hockey fans have just gotten so used to hearing lower body injury or upper body injury that could mean a ton of different things in the human body. It brings with it the fresh air of transparency which could help fans know exactly how long their favorite player is out for when they get hurt. The Hawks made the change this season falling in-line with several other teams from what I’ve gathered.
Scott Hartnell announced the other day that he was hanging up his skates after 17 seasons and I’m so sad to see him go. Hartnell played with such intensity and passion that it was hard not to appreciate his playing style (no matter what team he played for). The game will surely miss him, but knowing Hartnell he’s going to enjoy his retirement.
And I’ve saved the best news for last. In a shocking move the Philadelphia Flyers announced recently that they had a new mascot and to say he is terrifying is an understatement. But, after awhile he’s started to grow on me and really the Flyers knew exactly what they were doing because they controlled the media cycle for a full 24 hours and every single time Gritty is mentioned it blows up. I will admit that I have watched his first night on the ice several times because him falling is the funniest thing I’ve seen.
So Gritty and I would like to wish all you hockey fans a happy opening season, here’s hoping that this season is filled with excitement and great highlights.
Flyers introduce Gritty the most terrifying mascot I’ve ever seen (But he’s growing on me)