News From Around the League

Besides notifications of what teams are going to the Playoffs, it has been a rather slow NHL news week. With there not being a specific big story that I could write a whole blog post about, I decided to do things a bit differently and just talk about some of the headlines in hockey this week.

NHL Going to China

As I spoke about last week, the NHL is attempting to grow the game by traveling around the world to play their games. Already announced was the two games next season to be played by the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden. The latest announcement from the league is that they are heading to China. The games, which will be preseason games, will be played between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks in Beijing and Shanghai on September 21 and 23. This latest announcement is made in the hopes of growing the grassroots hockey programs in the country of China. With the 2022 Winter Olympics taking place in Beijing, the urgency and desire for the NHL to create a “long lasting” relationship with the country is strange considering the NHL’s current stance on not allowing their players to compete in the Olympic games. It will be interesting to see how the relationship will change when the league announces their final verdict on the Olympics subject later this season.

Goalie Collapse

In one of the more frightening situations in hockey, Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth collapsed in his net in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. Untouched and standing in his crease waiting for a faceoff to be taken, Neuvirth just collapsed out of nowhere. With other situations like it, with Dallas’ Rich Peverley collapsing on the bench due to a heart situation after a shift, the urgency and concern was evident quickly. Medical teams and personnel luckily were prepared and helped the goalie off the ice on a stretcher quickly. He was rushed to the hospital for testing, which all have come back normal. Luckily Neurirth has been released and is said to be resting at home, but with more and more of these incidents happening in the league, it begs the question, should training camp testing go further in depth. With Peverley, he had a known preexisting heart condition that was diagnosed on his previous team, if he had been checked further in preseason and maybe even periodically during the season, would they have caught the issue before such extreme measures had to be taken to save his life?

Playoffs

With playoffs around the corner, I am really excited to see how they play out. With so many new faces in the picture, it should be really interesting to watch how different teams play against each other. Of course, i am rooting wholeheartedly for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but I am excited to how young teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers fare against the veteran teams like the Blackhawks and Bruins.

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NHL Stadium Series

The promos are airing, tickets are close to sold, the rivalry is building, the Stadium Series is coming. Next Saturday night, NHL fans across the country will be entertained by the 2017 Stadium Series game, or this year known as The Battle of Pennsylvania. After both having experience in an outdoor game, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will square off in what will be a spectacle of a game.

The Penguins and Flyers is a rivalry that was started 50 years ago when both teams were introduced into the league. Like the rivalry of the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, the close proximity and the sharing of state borders intensifies the hatred and need for success of both teams. This particular rivalry has been one that has only gotten more hostile as the years have gone on, with recent years producing some of the most entertaining playoff series the league has seen.

Although i am very much looking forward to the game outside in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, a game I wish i could go to, i can’t help but wonder when the league is going to expand the game to different teams. In recent years the league has consistently put the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers in the game. I understand that the top teams in the league will bring in the most viewers, but the games are getting mundane at this point, there is no variety. The games in California proved that you can have an outdoor game in the heat, so why not include more southern teams. Including teams from all over the league will bring in more of a fan base than the ones that follow the teams that are constantly competing in the games.

Give teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, and Arizona Coyotes a chance to be part of such a league wide celebration of the game.