Surprise, surprise…

Today I share with you my loyal readers, a hockey experience that took me completely by surprise in the best possible way.

I never win contests…ever. I have entered many contests for the chance to win hockey tickets. Did I mention I NEVER win contests [especially never when it comes to contests that involve social media]? Have you ever entered a contest through social media (Facebook/Twitter) where the winner is randomly selected? I am never so lucky to be that randomly selected person…Ever. Surprise, surprise. That is until Monday March 17, 2014 when I received a notification on my twitter account announcing that I had won the Canucks for Kids Telethon panel contest. Winning the contest meant I would be allowed the privilege of participating on the telethon panel pre-game and two tickets to watch the game from the press box on Wednesday March 19! Great news to receive on a Monday afternoon, I’d say wouldn’t you?

Every year the Vancouver Canucks host the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon. The money raised through the Canucks for Kids Fund goes to helping many BC children’s lives better every day:

“The Canucks for Kids Fund dedicates resources to assist charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in British Columbia. Thanks to the generosity of our fans, donors, players, employees and sponsor partners, the Canucks for Kids Fund (CFKF) has granted more than $41 million to charities in British Columbia over the last 27 years. The Canucks for Kids Fund raises awareness and funds through several charitable initiatives including: Canucks for Kids Fund 50/50, Canucks for Kids Fund Dice & Ice Benefit presented by HSBC, Canucks for Kids Fund Superskills powered by Rogers and the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon presented by Chevrolet. The Canucks for Kids Fund also raises funds through partnerships with Special Olympics BC’s Sports Celebrities Festival and the Vancouver Sun’s Raise a Reader Day. Our core beneficiaries, Canucks Autism Network (CAN), Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation are providing vital resources and life-saving care to families all across this province.” [The Official Canucks For Kids Fund description from the Vancouver Canucks website].

Every year the #CFKFtelethon is usually around my birthday-(March 14) and every year I make a donation and this year was no different in that regard. The only difference this year was thanks to the aforementioned contest, I got to be a part of the telethon panel prior to the game.

First things first…I had to choose someone to take with me to the game. Let me tell you, there are A LOT of contenders for such a moment. In the end it became a simple task…bring the one person who loves hockey and the Canucks as much as or possibly even more than I do….my mom. No one quite understands how much I love this crazy game of hockey or how this game can completely captivate a person quite like my mother.

Hockey is more than just game, it is a bonding experience between: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters & everyone in between.

Hockey is more than just game, it is a bonding experience between: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters & everyone in between. This particular evening would be a mother/daughter experience.

First things first we had to enter through Gate 9 (which is more tricky than it sounds with all of the construction around the arena!) to pick up our VIP passes that would give us access to level 500. Next up we made our way to the Telethon set so I could get my final instructions as to what being a part of the panel meant.

Welcome to the 2014 Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon!

Welcome to the 2014 Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon!

Walking onto the set was a very wow moment, the experience was suddenly very real. The set was just outside of section 121 on the 100 level concourse of Rogers Arena. Fans were coming and going all taking in the set and those who were on the set as they made their way to their respective seats. The phones, surveys, and donation forms were all lined up along the table with each volunteer’s name card in place. All panelists were to be there seats by 6:40 PM (PT) as the Telethon was set to go live at 6:45 PM (PT). Let me just say it was quite something to see the all-star line-up for the Telethon take their places on the set. Canucks from the past, present and future all took their places…and then there was me somehow also a part of the mix!

All I could think of as I took my seat on set was, how did I get so lucky as to get to be a part of this amazing moment?!

Look at that...my very own SPOT on the panel! Right between #Captain Kirk & Victor De Bonis!

Look at that…my very own SPOT on the panel! Right between #Captain Kirk & Victor De Bonis. No words.

Forever a Canuck himself, Trevor Linden was our host. Notable Canuck names on the panel included: Kirk McLean, Daniel Sedin and his wife Marinette, Hunter Shinkaruk, Sarah Hamhuis, Stan Smyl and more. Did I mention I had the privilege of sitting NEXT to Kirk McLean?! How often can one Canuck fan say they are in the presence of so many Canuck personnel?! To say I was slightly star struck and completely in awe of everyone and the scope of the moment, is more than fair. There I was suddenly surrounded by so many amazing people gathered together for an amazing cause.

Deep breaths, this was real. This was happening and this was my reality during the telethon. Star power everywhere you turned. The countdown began and suddenly we were live, phones started ringing, calls and pledges were made. Donors around the globe made a difference for BC kids. My shift on the panel went by both very quickly and slowly. There were moments when it felt like it was speeding by and others when it felt like each moment was slowed frame by frame. Did I mention how amazingly welcoming and kind Kirk McLean [and everyone else] was?! I am still taking in the fact that all of these moments from being part of the panel to meeting Kirk McLean really happened. It was a pretty big deal for this Canucklehead! As much I wish I had the time to take a picture or two to capture the reality that I met all of these people…once the Telethon went LIVE, there was ZERO time to stop for picture taking.

Following a moment that I will never forget...I tweeted my thanks to those involved & received this more than kind response from #CaptainKirk himself!

Following an experience on the panel that I will never forget…I tweeted my thanks to those involved & received this more than kind response from #CaptainKirk himself!

Calls were made and pledges recorded, and suddenly before I knew it, my shift on the panel was over. I was ushered with my mom from the elevator to the 500 level to our box seats to watch our Canucks take on the Nashville Predators. The very idea of sitting in box seats was an absolute treat and delight for these two Canuck fans who on a regular day would never be able to afford such a luxury. A view from the top that will forever be appreciated and will make going back to regular viewing only ever so slightly difficult.

    Two of the biggest #canuckleheads there are & we were more than ready for this game! #MotherDaughter

Two of the biggest #canuckleheads there are settled in with an incredible view & we were more than ready for this game! #MotherDaughter

The view from the box was beyond amazing. It felt like we were living the luxurious life for the evening. My mom and I are not used to seeing the game with a completed unobstructed view when watching the game live from the arena because inevitably when sitting in the lower or even the upper bowl someone taller sits right in front of us. This amazing view and experience will not long be forgotten.

Just to the left of our box was this #Canuck banner

Just to the right of our box was this #Canuck banner

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The on-ice pre-game intro was incredible to full-lentgh view from so high up!

Rink wide view of some early first period action!

Rink wide view of some early first period action!

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A quick snapshot of a 2nd period faceoff. The middle frame saw some of the game’s best chances by the home team.

The Canucks had SO many chances in the 2nd period and it seemed as though all puck luck was against them…and a late penalty in the middle frame seemed to confirm that bad luck. Cue a must win third period….and some heroics by rookie Jensen and a certain defense-man.

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After feeling like a goal wouldn’t come until overtime FINALLY a goal after 46 minutes!! That Niklas Jensen has been a force since joining the team! (3 goals in 4 games!)

Before the announcer could even finish announcing the Nashville penalty he interrupted his own announcement with SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!! as Edler scored the insurance goal needed in this game.

Before the announcer could even finish announcing the Nashville penalty he interrupted his own announcement with SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!! as Edler scored the insurance goal needed in this game.

The Canucks and 2-0 leads have not fared well as of late as we are all to well aware and the question many were asking is: would they be able to hold onto the lead in regulation? Nashville had plenty of opportunity late in 3rd period with back to back power-plays in the final 5 minutes to comeback and force extra time. The good news is that Eddie Lack stood tall and the defense held the fort not allowing even one puck to cross Lack’s goal line. While the clock ticked away, the arena erupted in an EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE chant! Canucks won 2-0 in front of a delighted home crowd. Lack picked up his 4th career shutout and stole a very important 2 points for the Canucks as they finished the night perfect in the special teams department killing their 4 penalties and scoring 4 seconds into their single power-play opportunity.

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It was a WIN, WIN, WIN!

It was a victory for the home team on the ice as well a winning effort with the telethon. The #CFKFtelethon raised over $500,000 during the live telethon and are still taking donations online if you missed out, just click the link below(any amount WILL help to change the lives of kids in need):

[Canucks for Kids Fund online donation form]

The whole experience felt completely surreal. From literally being a part of the panel with some of the best of the past, present and future Canucks to having the press box view; it most definitely was an evening that I will never forget. I cannot thank the Canucks for Kids Fund and the Vancouver Canucks enough for this amazing experience and allowing me a glimpse behind the scenes. Thank-you does not seem enough for an organization that does so much for this province, but a most sincere thank-you I extend all the same. Thank-you for an incredible experience from start to finish and an evening that I will never forget.

Bonus stat of the night: It was an evening that I didn’t think could be improved upon in any possible way…that is until I looked closer at the #GameDay program that was handed out to all the fans attending the game. Under the section where they made note of Henrik’s 1000th game being celebrated and asked for fans to submit their favourite #33 memories for the chance to be included in the program…there were two featured fan tweets and one of them was MINE!:

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Yep…that is ME(@nucksaid) in the #GameDay program! What are the odds that the same game I was lucky enough to attend in style would also be the game that featured ME in the #gameday program!

I will leave you with one last picture from the game’s finish:

I present to you the #LACKstrom dance!

I present to you the #LACKstrom dance – featuring the star of the game Eddie Lack and his trusty back up Jacob Markstrom.

It was truly an experience that any Canucks fan would have been lucky to have and I will never forget a minute of it. Every moment is forever etched in my memory. Thank-you again to all who were a part of giving my mom and I an evening that we will never forget (a home win from the Canucks was just icing on the cake!).

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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Milestone HANK

A hockey career can be divided into numbers. The number overall that a player was drafted into the NHL. The number of years that a player plays before retiring. The number of points a player amasses (both goals & assists). The number of minutes of ice-time that a player averages per game. The number of penalty minutes a player picks up. The number of power-play points a player amasses. The number of playoff games/series a player plays in and the number of points a player has amassed in playoff games. The number of awards a player has won. The number of teams a player has played for or the number of times a player has been traded.

Today, in honour of the Vancouver Canucks Captain, Henrik Sedin who will be playing in his 1000th NHL career game March 12, 2014; we will take a closer look at his career by the numbers. It is not often that a player plays 1000 games with the same franchise, but that is true for Henrik Sedin going into tonight’s game.

Spoiler alert: it is impossible to not mention Daniel in conjunction with Henrik.

NHL Draft day 1999: The beginning of the #Sedinery journey.

NHL Draft day 1999: The beginning of the #Sedinery journey.

Henrik Sedin was drafted 3rd overall at the 1999 NHL draft right behind his brother Daniel by the Vancouver Canucks. His NHL debut was the start of the 2000-2001 season, on October 5, 2000 and he scored his first goal October 16, 2000. His NHL debut was delayed because him and twin brother Daniel had committed to one more year with MODO (in the Swedish Elite League) before making their names known at an NHL level.

It was not until after the 2004-2005 lockout that fans and media fully realized the star potential that Henrik and his brother Daniel were capable of on the ice. In the 678 games that Henrik has played in since the start of the 2005-2006 season, he has posted 687 points (148 goals, 539 assists).

In 2010, Henrik set a new franchise record for points scored in a single season with 112 points surpassing Pavel Pure’s record of 110 points (Daniel won the Art Ross in 2011). With his record points he won the first Art Ross Trophy for the Canucks franchise and also won the Hart Trophy. At the start of the 2010-2011 season, Henrik Sedin was named team Captain.

From a young rookie to matured franchise point leading Captain.

From a young rookie to matured franchise point leading Captain.

Last season may have been shortened due to the lockout but Henrik made it a memorable year when he surpassed former Canuck, Markus Naslund’s franchise record of 756 total points when he reached point number 757 on February 15, 2013. The standing ovation was thunderous.

This season marks Henrik’s 13th NHL season. In 999 regular season games, Henrik has been assessed 572 penalty minutes and amassed 192 goals along with 641 assists for a total of 833 points. Of those 192 goals, 50 of them are power-play goals, 6 are short-handed and 34 are game winners. In 13 NHL seasons, Henrik has played in 99 playoff games in which he posted 74 points (22 goals, 52 assists). Of those 22 goals, 9 were scored on the power-play and 4 were game winners. Those 99 playoff games also include 1 Stanley Cup Final appearance (2011).

In addition to 13 NHL seasons and counting…Henrik has also made waves playing for his home country of Sweden at competition on the international level. He has represented Sweden at two Olympics (would be three but was forced to withdraw from the 2014 Olympics due to injury) including a GOLD medal in Turin in 2006. Most recently he helped lead Team Sweden to the 2013 World Cup in May and also won two bronze medals at the WC in 1999 and 2001. In 81 games for his international team (combining junior & senior levels), Henrik has put up 69 points (27 goals, 42 assists).

His iron man streak may have officially come to an end earlier this season, but Henrik’s work ethic to always improve his game and give everything he has, will long be remembered when the day comes that he eventually does retire.

Mr. Milestone H. Sedin is the leading franchise player with the following records:

641 assists (& counting), 833 points (& counting), most points in a single season (112 in 2009-2010), assists in a single season (83 in 2009-2010) and most consecutive games played (679).

Here’s just a few of MANY memorable regular season Henrik moments.

11/14/09 FIRST CAREER HAT TRICK:

2/18/11 TIC TAC TOE…SCORES!!!!

3/14/13 Penalty SHOT! He dekes, he shoots, he scores…the crowd goes WILD!!!

4/11/07 QUADRUPLE OVERTIME:

There have been many moments of #sedinery by Henrik and his brother Daniel, and for the next four years there are bound to be many more. Vancouver Canucks fans are VERY fortunate to have been able to watch Henrik and Daniel mature from rookies to matured veteran leaders and reach superstar status. Brothers have played together in the league before but none have played their entire careers together from day one and had the insane chemistry that the Sedins have. There are times when they don’t even look at each other when making a play…they simply anticipate where the other will be and 95% of the time they are right. The twins have been there for nearly every milestone that the other has reached BUT this will be one that Henrik will have to reach without Daniel on the ice (out with an undisclosed injury). Even if Daniel isn’t in the lineup, you can be sure he’s cheering louder than anyone else in support of Hank. No one will cheer louder for Daniel when his moment comes next season than Hank.

It is an incredible milestone in many players careers to reach the 1000 game mark but it is rare to see a player play 1000 games with ONE franchise, but that is exactly the case for Henrik Sedin tonight when he steps out on the ice. He has played EVERY game of his career for the Vancouver Canucks. I repeat how incredibly lucky it has been to watch Henrik’s career develop from a young rookie to the veteran leader that he is now. The Sedins have had the fans and media critique them every step of the way but I ask you, Vancouver, do you realize how lucky we have been to witness the careers of these two?

There is NO doubt in my mind, that one day both #33 and #22 will be up in the rafters at Rogers Arena. It will be strange to not see the Sedins on the ice, but perhaps by then we will finally be able to fully appreciate just what these two mean to the franchise. It is not just their amazing abilities on the ice, but also the work they do off the ice with the Canucks charities and in the community that will make them irreplaceable.

In closing, I salute you, Henrik Sedin for 13 excellent seasons on & off the ice. Here’s to everything he’s done in the past, the present and the future still yet to come. #HankYouVeryMuch

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Roberto Luongo Deserves Better (Part TWO)

In the summer of 2012 I was forced to confront the idea that my favourite Canuck, Roberto Luongo would be traded as all of the drama with Schneider had evolved and it led to this writing this post that August:

https://nucksaid.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/roberto-deserves-better-from-you-vancouver-you-should-give-him-the-respect-hes-earned/

Today I am forced to confront the reality that Roberto Luongo has indeed been traded and being led to write yet another post about the respect that he deserved and still deserves.

THANK-YOU LU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK-YOU LU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The writing has been on the wall but that does not mean I am not sad about the outcome. My heart slightly broke when the news was revealed but I am glad for Luongo that he gets a fresh start. Vancouver did not appreciate what they had in Luongo or respect him particularly well in the last three years. From many of the fans to the local media, it somehow became lost just how much Luongo has done for the Canucks franchise and somewhere along the way this city decided that they no longer supported LU.

How could everyone forget what Luongo did for this team? Shall I remind you? 6 division championships(6 playoff berths), 2 President trophies, 1 Western Conference Championship, 1 Stanley Cup Final appearance (all the way to game 7!), oh and did I mention his 2 Olympic GOLD medals?! In 439 regular season games with the Canucks Luongo posted a 252-137-50 record while posting 38 shut outs. He is the franchise leading goal-tender in wins and shutouts and will go down in history as one of the BEST Canucks players of all time.

No matter what the media would write or dictate the fans to think, Roberto always found a way to put his best game on the ice. When he was winning this city loved him and erupted in endless LUUUUUU cheers…but if he lost or let in a bad goal the love turned to taunting and saying things like he was not dependable. His ability to win big games came into question until the 2010 Olympics came calling in his very own Canuck rink. Think back to overtime in the gold medal game…LU makes a big save, Sid scores the BIGGEST goal of the tournament and the LU and Crosby cheers that erupted in the arena were deafening.

CROSBY SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANADA WINS GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CROSBY SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANADA WINS GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The season that followed the gold medal season…the 2010-2011 season was magical and nearly perfection with the exception of the final game of the Stanley Cup final. It was the most thrilling ride that any Canucks team has taken the city on since the spring of 1994 and Roberto Luongo was at the center of it all. It was incredible to watch as it happened…but in the aftermath of game 7,  all eyes of the media placed the blame not so much on the team as a whole but on one individual…Luongo took it all. Hate to break to everyone but as much as you need saves from your goalie which they did get…you also need goals from the team in front of you which they did not get in that last game.

It was not the perfect storybook ending that we had all hoped for…but it was an incredible run. The following season Luongo and the team repeated as President Trophy winners BUT instead of an incredible run were met with an upset from the LA Kings in the first round. It was the end of that series when the team chose to start Cory Schneider for the final three games that the writing seemed to be on the wall that the end was not only near but was here for Luongo. The hints had started to come earlier than the playoffs when the crowd jeered Luongo more than once at home in favour of Schneider.

The summer began with Luongo being willing to waive his no-trade-clause and Schneider being re-signed to a 3-year contract. It seemed very clear the direction that was going to be taken…and then the 2012 lockout happened putting everything on hold. No one knew if there would even be a season. The powers that be between the NHL and the NHLPA finally came to an agreement that saw a shortened 48-game regular season begin in late January 2013. The season started with the rotation of Schneider and Luongo and AV’s infamous coin…but eventually it became the Schneider team and Luongo seemed once again to be on his way out. The trade deadline came and went…the season once again ended with an early exit and no change had come.

Luongo expected that he would not be returning to the Canucks and a trade seemed inevitable with Scheider in prime position again. The draft came and a trade finally happened…but it was not Luongo that was traded…Schneider was sent to the New Jersey Devils. The end of the saga seemed to have arrived. Fast forward to this season…Lack signed on to backup Luongo. Both goalies had some great moments…and all seemed fine…until Luongo was injured not once but twice and Lack was put in the spotlight. That spotlight around Lack started to get bigger (not of his own choosing) and Luongo unbeknownst to himself was slowly being forced back into the corner he previously shared with Schneider.

That corner became ever more evident when it was revealed that Lack would be starting in the Heritage Classic game over the franchise goalie Luongo. Fans while they support Lack, were disappointed in the mistreatment of Luongo who more than deserved to play in that game. I love Eddie Lack and his playing style and he has been the absolute epitome of support and class to the team, fans and Luongo. He did not ask for the game…all he did was play when told and was forced to face the fans first dislike of him in the net…during the Heritage Classic as the entire arena chanted WE WANT LU. That was the end of the line. Fast forward to two days later and the trade that everyone had expected for nearly three years finally happened. Roberto Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for goalie Jacob Markstrom & forward Shawn Matthias.

Yes it was a trade that we all expected to happen at some point but that does not mean it does not make me sad. It is the end of an era. Luongo did a lot  of good for this franchise but was never properly appreciated by this city or the fans. Luongo deserved better and I hope that in Florida, he gets the respect that he has always deserved. All the good things he did, seemed to have been forgotten by many in all the drama that unfolded in the last few years. Roberto Luongo deserved better in Vancouver and he definitely still deserves better from this city. He has more than earned the respect of his peers and fans for everything he did for the Canucks franchise. All I can say is thank-you, to Roberto Luongo for an incredible 8 seasons and being the epitome of class through the good times and the bad. Thank-you also for helping me love this crazy game called hockey even more than I already did. I will still cheer LUUUUUUUU every single time Florida plays and #1 is between the pipes. You will be missed in Vancouver, but you deserve a fresh start. All the best to #1 as he begins a new chapter with the Panthers.

THANK-YOU LU for 8 amazing years and giving this city 8 years of incredible memories.  #LUUUUUUUUUUUU

THANK-YOU LU for 8 amazing years and giving this city 8 seasons of incredible memories. #LUUUUUUUUUUUU

Here’s a few tributes to my favourite former Canuck:

I will also miss Lu’s hilarious sense of humour:

One last note. In his leave, Luongo advised to Vancouver to take care of Eddie Lack and I hope that this city actually listens. Lack like Luongo, deserves respect. Lack had the utmost respect for Luongo. It has not been an easy few days for Eddie as he never expected this moment and it must have been one heck of a shock to see his mentor sent to Florida. The weight of an entire city is now on Lack’s shoulders…that is an insane amount of pressure in his rookie season. I suggest, that we take Luongo’s advice from the very beginning of Eddie’s tenure by supporting our goalie in way that this city never has before. It sounds like a refreshing approach no?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Trade Deadline Insanity…

Forget about College Basketball March madness and try on the NHL’s version of March Madness which is the ever looming trade deadline…March 5th, 2014 for size. Pure insanity is about to break out as teams make the drive to find their missing piece and fans speculate like crazy what MAY or may NOT be…

Welcome to March Madness 2014

aka March Madness NHL Style

I don’t know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with the trade deadline. The part that I hate the most and drives me the most crazy is how quickly the rumor mill spins spreading before you can ever possibly catch up with the actual facts. The social media web better known as the sensation of twitter is best at speeding up how quickly rumor can become “fact”. Some of those “facts” will be proven to come true and others will be proven to be fiction as always happens this time of year.

This year has been no different. Rumors have been rampant all season long just like they are every year. Every team will have to make the decision to make or not to make what appears to be an insane deal in acquiring what they deem the missing piece OR to simply stand pat.

I will not participate in speculating any trade rumors of any kind until any of the said rumors become fact and the deadline passes at 12:00 PM (PT) on Wednesday. The media and twitter speculate enough without my help. Speculating what could happen will not change what DOES happen on Wednesday. I will say the following:

Trades are a part of the game. Sometimes you LOVE what a trade brings to your team and sometimes you HATE what it takes away. The truth is there will never be a way to please everyone. No matter what happens once the trade deadline passes, some will be very happy and some will be very upset with whatever their teams decide to do or not do. Some decisions will be predictable and some will shock you with their unpredictability.

Welcome to Trade Deadline Insanity…when the NHL turns into fruit basket upset as players move back and forth. Will you be watching or staying far away until the madness subsides? More than likely most deals will happen in the last moments before the deadline expires and twitter will explode. I will hold off making any comments in regards to trades until trades have happened or not happened and the deadline passes. It’s sure to be an interesting few days to say the least for hockey fans across the league no matter what the outcome.

The question is to stand pat or to be bold? We will see what’s in store for the 30 NHL teams and their fans as the trade deadline ebbs ever closer and moves are made or not made.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.