Well faithful readers, we survived the lockout. The 2013 NHL season is officially begun. Training camp is underway. Game day is fast approaching. My Vancouver Canucks and the other 29 teams are all back on the ice!!! Each day brings new surprises for the fans and media alike as each team announces signings, trades and surprises for their home openers. Each day the whispers of anticipation of the first games grow louder. Fans and media are eager to prove their opinion is the one to listen to regarding the upcoming season.
As the first day of regular season games approaches, the hungrier the media becomes with finding the biggest headline. What are some of these interesting headlines making news? Let’s take a moment to ponder those, shall we?:
– Luongo, where will he play? You all know how I feel on this issue. I am disgusted by the media and certain fans who blame him for all things. I would be extremely disappointed to see him playing anywhere else, but wherever he plays [Vancouver included] I hope he has a fantastic season.
-Who will fill in the void left by Ryan Kesler? Kassian, Schroeder, Hansen or perhaps even Raymond? According to Mike Gillis, that spot will not be available for too long. Kesler is competitive and has never enjoyed being on the sidelines.
-Will Chris Higgins and David Booth be able to stay healthy for the majority of the season? If so, how many points will they put up? Will they eventually reunite with Kesler on the All-American Express line?
-Tim Thomas. Oh, the ever controversial Thomas. He has decided to continue his year of solitude in Colorado away from all things Bruins and hockey. His backup Tuukka Rask will assume the #1 starter position in the Bruins net for the 2013 season. Thomas has however told the team that he will be returning for the 2013-2014 season….really? It will be interesting to see how his team will respond if he does come back next season.
-Chris Pronger. Will or won’t he retire? This one is a difficult one for the Flyers to address. Pronger is their team captain, an impeccable leader on and off the ice.If he does retire, it means being forced to leave the game instead of on his own terms. The whispers are definitely getting louder on this issue as more and more reporters speculate Pronger retiring, and Philadelphia has yet to confirm one way or the other.
-The Maple Leafs. So many questions. Now that Burke has been fired, what will Nonis do differently? Will he be able to address their goal-tending issue before the end of the season? Will Kessel and Lupul be the dynamic duo they were last season again and if so, can they both stay healthy? Will the team make the playoffs in 2013?
-Scott Gomez has been officially let go. He was sent home by the Montreal Canadiens prior to the start of training camp. They will buy him out in the off-season. In other Montreal news, they have yet to secure P.K. Subban to a new contract. He cannot officially report to camp until he has signed on the dotted line.
-Will the Staal brothers now united in Carolina, be able to lead the Hurricanes to playoffs for the the first time since 2009?
-Can the LA Kings have the same success they had last year with Coach Sutter and goalie Quick?
-Will Ranger Nash be the missing puzzle that New York has been looking for?
-Will the young guns in Edmonton bring the city back to a ‘city of champions’ era?
-Just how good will a 100% healthy Sidney Crosby be? Will he be league MVP once more?
With all of these questions, time will tell. Many more issues will come to light in the coming days leading up to the opening game of the season. I look forward to all the story lines that are still come as the season begins. As always, until next time, nuck said.
P.S. Bonus reading for the week: Below is a link to one of my favourite Canuck/hockey blogs. A post from today was quite enjoyable. It’s an interesting look at Luongo’s stats…and if you keep up with my posts, you all know how much I love the guy as a Canuck!