Hockey fans, rejoice! A new regular season in the NHL is here. The players have rested and trained, the preseason has been played, and the rosters have been set. From now on, the games are real.
The regular season begins!
Hope for the north
Four of Canada's seven NHL teams are playing on opening night. The Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Winnipeg Jets, while the Edmonton Oilers host their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames.
Canada doesn't need much reason to get excited about hockey. But for the first time in many years, there's a lot of real hope for many of the country's teams...
The Edmonton Oilers have the league's best young player, Connor McDavid.
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The Montreal Canadiens have the league's best goalie, Carey Price.
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The Ottawa Senators arguably have the league's best defenseman, Erik Karlsson.
And then there are teams like the Jets, Flames, and Leafs.
All three of them are loaded with incredible young players. Winnipeg's Patrick Laine, Mark Scheifele, and Jacob Trouba. Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, Dougie Hamilton, and Matthew Tkachuk. Toronto's Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner... and on and on...
Two years ago, zero Canadian teams reached the playoffs (yikes!). Meanwhile, the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. That was 24 years ago (double yikes!).
Will that all change this year?
The Knight life
And of course, there's also the not-so-small matter of the league welcoming a brand new team. The Vegas Golden Knights. They will open their season on Friday, October 6, with a game in Dallas.
The first year of an expansion team is rarely a great one (especially in a league as competitive as the NHL), but this team still has some first-rate talent on it, including goal scorers James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault, and legendary ex-Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. As the first-ever major pro sports team to play in Las Vegas, expect the Golden Knights to be entertaining at the very least.
Will Sid three-peat?
Finally, we'll leave you with this! Even if Connor McDavid looks ready to take over his title as the NHL's best player, Sidney Crosby is still an unbelievable talent on a very good team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens won their second Cup in a row last season, and Sidney's third overall.
The last team to win three Cups in a row was the 1980–83 New York Islanders (who actually won four in a row).
Can Sid and the Pens add their names to that list? You can bet he wants to!
Okay, enough talk. Drop that puck! May your favourite team have a great season!