Monday, 30 September 2013

Brought To You By The Number Eight

We made it! The NHL season opens tomorrow, and it looks like this season will be very interesting. Established players have been sent to the AHL. Up-and-comers are taking roster spots. Once dominant teams are now being challenged by teams who have drafted and developed players well. Chicago will look to defend the Stanley Cup. There will be a plethora of outdoor games. There is no shortage of intrigue as new rivalries are formed, old grudges are rehashed, and old wounds reopened as new divisions take flight. Hybrid icing will be part of the game (finally!) in order to reduce player injuries, and the no-tuck rule will probably get a lot of chatter if teams begin losing games because of it. This season will be one to watch, so let's run through some final housekeeping before the drop of the puck tomorrow.
  • Eight is the number of respondents I got for the HBIC survey. Eight. Seriously. I get that you come here to read what I have to say and occasionally debate me on it, but eight? That's all? I can't use that as feedback. Heck, I can't even use that as a focus group. C'mon, people, you're here anyway - go fill out the survey to help HBIC be better!
  • If you're a fan of the Jets, you know that Jacob Trouba had a solid preseason campaign. But hold your horses if you want to get your very own Trouba jersey. Trouba wore #3 throughout the preseason, but has opted for #8 for the regular season. Note that in your programs, kids!
  • Major faux-pas by a former Jet as the $20-million-man is now on the shelf. Ilya Kovalchuk will miss a month of time in the KHL after SKA teammate Alexei Ponikarovsky collided with the superstar at the Vityaz Chekhov blueline. Kovalchuk sustained a shoulder injury on the play, and immediately went to the dressing room and did not return. All I can say is Ponikarovsky better have a monster season with St. Petersburg now.
  • The QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads got a big boost when it was announced that the Tampa Bay Lightning would return Jonathan Drouin to the team for his final year of junior hockey. The Mooseheads were in a rebuilding phase after loading up for last season's successful Memorial Cup run, and getting Drouin back will help. As a Canadian, I'll be selfish and say we just got one of the best players for our World Junior team back. Game on!
  • In a rather surprising move, the Winnipeg Jets announced on Sunday that they were suspending Ivan Telegin for not reporting to St. John's as assigned. The suspension wasn't surprising, but rather why it was imposed. Telegin decided that another year in the AHL wasn't his cup of tea and went back home to Russia instead. It isn't known if Telegin will seek a roster spot on his hometown Metallurg Novokuznetsk, but this is the second Russian to bolt from the Jets. For a team loaded with Russians in the mid-1990s, this isn't a good sign.
  • Rumor has it that the Maple Leafs and forward Phil Kessel are close to signing a long-term extension. The number? $8 million per season! I'm not sure Kessel is worth that kind of money. He's a great player, but he has nothing to show for the effort. No major trophies, no Stanley Cups, no playoff series wins in Toronto. If he's worth that much money to the Leafs, Toronto might see that Stanley Cup drought extended into the next decade.
  • Starting tomorrow, you can catch a pile of NHL action on your big screen TV as NHL Center Ice is offering a free preview from October 1 to October 19! This offer is dependent upon your TV provider (obviously), but how cool is that? Contact your service provider to see if you can get NHL Center Ice for free for nearly three weeks!
  • Gearing up for some CIS action, the University of Manitoba Bisons men's team plays their home-opener and season-opener this weekend, and they'll be hosting the Alberta Golden Bears! The Bisons dropped a 4-0 decision to the powerful Bears at the University of Regina Men's Hockey Summer Challenge on September 14, so there will be a chance at vengeance this weekend with divisional points on the line. If you're a student at the UofM, you get free admission! And who doesn't love free tickets? To sweeten the deal even further, the Student Servives guys will be on-hand to give out free Bisons t-shirts! Free tickets and free gear? I'm in. If you're near Max Bell Arena on October 4 and 5, grab some tickets, get a t-shirt, and cheer on the Herd!
That's all for today, kids. Give that survey a go, and speak your mind on HBIC. It's completely anonymous, takes all of three minutes, and will go a long way in helping this blog be better.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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