It has been exactly four months since the 2015-2016 season ended. Gone are the memories of seeing the Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins hoist the Lord Stanley Cup. It was at that final game 6, where Patrick Hornqvist signed, sealed and delivered the Penguins’ fourth Stanley Cup in team history with an empty-net goal over the San Jose Sharks.
Tonight, we begin the brand new season in anticipation of unreal dangles, chirping among teams, jaw-dropping, leather-flashing goalie saves, and the greatest goals one will ever see. It has been said that the NHL is the best professional league in major sports in North America, and I stand by it. No other professional league has the speed, the intensity, the sense of brotherhood, and the electric feel that each fan comes to their team’s arena with the expectation of winning on a nightly basis.
Tonight, each team starts from scratch and attempts to achieve the impossible…to win the Lord Stanley Cup.
We live in the Metro area, so we begin to look at the upcoming fortunes for the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils.
I expect the Rangers to come out firing with a vengeance. After losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, left every player on AV’s squad with a sour taste in their mouths. And that will show every night among every player, young or old. Look to franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist and team captain and elite defenseman Ryan McDonagh to set the tone early, with the plethora of young talent, starting with last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner in Jimmy Vesey, and KHL standout Pavel Buchnevich, leading the charge.
Across the Long Island Sound, is Islanders’ territory. Look, we all know John Tavares is a proven center that can put up goals on goals…but his line has to come up with a solution to fill the shoes of former line-mate Kyle Okposo, who left for greener pastures with the Buffalo Sabres. Islanders’ brass are hoping Andrew Ladd, former Winnipeg Jets captain, will do exactly that. Isles will take a page out of the Rangers, with their own injection of youth and prove to the NHL they’re not a one-trick pony (cough, cough, John Tavares, cough, cough).
Across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Devils are on a mission to surprise. This past summer, brought goal-scorer Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers to Newark and sent defenseman and team captain Adam Larsson to ride the coat tails of phenom Connor McDavid in Edmonton. Most people said that New Jersey won this trade and I believe it. Adam Larsson is overrated and has been ever since he came to the New Jersey Devils. You could say that I’m a biased Rangers fan, who holds a pure hate for all things New Jersey Devils. The Devils will put on a show, no question. With a proven goaltender in Corey Schneider minding the net, looking better and better each season and a potential top line with Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri, should offer Devils fans a sense of hope and optimism.