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We’re only a few days into the 2021 NHL season, but it feels like there’s already so much to talk about.
It’s weird how as soon as the puck drops, all the petty concerns from fans seem to fall to the way side. Ads on helmets? Haven’t heard a peep about it in days. COVID safety? Okay well that one may still be up for debate when it comes to the NHL’s and its team’s protocols, but it’s still early to see. The MLB has trouble to start their season out as well and things turned out relatively okay for them. The NHL does have the benefit of being the last of the four major sports to start their regular season, which means they can learn from the mistakes of the others.
But for now, let’s just be happy that hockey is back baby!
McDavid is still the best player on the planet
I can’t believe I actually saw tweets saying that McDavid isn’t that good after the Oilers’ first game of the season. McDavid could go pointless for the first ten games of the season and the debate that he’s the best hockey player alive still wouldn’t be close.
Luckily, we didn’t have to wait that long as the Edmonton captain put those worries to rest with a four-point night against Vancouver, including a hat-trick.
We all know McDavid’s blazing speed down the wing is the foundation of his offensive success, but he proved (again) that he can score in-which-way. He got one by driving to the net after a face-off, and another by weaving into the slot and tucking on by Thatcher Demko.
He also scored a highlight reel cut-to-the-middle snipe that left Alex Edler questioning his hockey career. But you can never go wrong with the classics!
McDavid is in mid-season form. And the North Division should be worried.
Pierre-Luc Dubois wants out of Columbus
I think I might keep “[Insert star player] wants out of Columbus” on speed dial considering the amount of times the hockey world has to write these types of stories up.
Word of Columbus’ prize former 3rd overall pick’s displeasure has been circulating for a few weeks now. Since then, they’ve signed him to a two-year bridge deal in what felt like an effort just to get him on the ice and playing.
While this will almost certainly end with Dubois being moved this season, doing so won’t be easy.
Dubois’ top choice for a move is apparently Montreal, which should have the Canadiens excited. The downside is that the asking price is Nick Suzuki + more according to Nick Kypreos.
As much as the Habs will salivate over a high-end Quebec-born player any day of this week, it seems unlikely that they’d be willing to sacrifice all of that for Dubois.
Suzuki had a strong rookie season and has looked even better in pre-season scrimmages and in the first game against Toronto.
So until the two teams renegotiate this deal (Kotkaniemi, Mete, +?) Dubois is stuck in Columbus. John Torterella isn’t happy to be in the position of coaching a player who’s not invested in the team’s success, as he publicly announced on Columbus radio this week. And who can blame him?
For all of Torterella’s faults as a coach, the one thing we know for certain is that he cares about his team.
Kaprizov storms onto the scene
Kirill Kaprizov might single-handedly make the Minnesota Wild interesting. His long-awaited NHL debut against the Kings ended with an assist and the overtime game-winner. For Wild fans, this has to be vindication. Five years after drafting the Russian, they’re finally seeing first hand what investing in top-end talent leads to.
Does this mean that the Wild will suddenly start to dominate? Unlikely. Their forward depth still leaves much to be desired, especially at center and goalie. Their defence remains solid with key pieces like Dumba, Brodin, Suter and Spurgeon, but without any help in front or behind them, this 56 game season could be a lot longer for the Wild.
But at least we now know that Kaprizov will be out there doing his best to make them fun to watch!
God, I missed #HockeyTwitter. Only there could we see the chrysalis of years of Tony DeAngelo jokes culminate in such beautiful fashion.
- Sidney Crosby batting the puck out of the air then one-hand stick-slapping into the net is already tough competition for “Goal of the Year” hopefuls.
- The Habs look really strong, despite losing in OT to the Leafs. The line of Suzuki-Drouin-Anderson is already showing chemistry, Tyler Toffoli is fitting in nicely in his secondary scoring role and Alex Romanov is proving to be as good as the hype made him out to be. This is probably the best team Montreal has had on paper in over a decade.
- BASKETBALL ALERT: James Harden joining the Nets is going to be such a strange phenomenon to watch. It’s either going to be the greatest combination of basketball scoring we’ve ever seen, or the literal Titanic. Either way, I’ll be tuning in.