The rosters are filled, and the contracts are signed. All that we’re waiting for is the first puck to drop. On the off chance you don’t know what I’m talking about, the name of the game is hockey. That heart pounding, gut clenching, finger twisting, truly Canadian game. A new season is about to start, and you can sense the natives ge tting restless. This is the first instalment of “Hockey Time at Athabasca,” my weekly take on the hockey season. So sit back, strap on your skates, and let’s glide.
The summer was abundant with talk of trades and retirement, yet none was more shocking than the announced retirement of Mario Lemieux, now former captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, major trades soon overshadowed even that news. The Florida Panthers acquired Belfour from the Leafs in a surprise trade. The Leafs, however, made a few interesting picks of their own, snatching Mike Peca and Pavel Kubina, as well as choosing to start their rookie goalie Aubin. Other, lesser-recognized names made headlines with some seriously astounding salaries.
The Canadian teams may have made some startling trades, and the pre-season openers of the last two days show it. Edmonton is shaping up to be a deliciously dangerous team. They shattered Phoenix on Sunday night with a score of 5-0, and followed that up with a win of 2-1 against the Panthers the next night. Calgary took their first victory as well, with a 3-1 win against Florida on Sunday. Although, the Leafs broke the Canadian winning streak with their embarrassing 4-0 loss in a game against Buffalo on Monday. Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa are all set to show their cards throughout the rest of the week.
Now that we have adjusted to the new league rules, everyone is back on track, and focussing on their favourite teams. This season looks like it won’t disappoint fans. With experienced veterans coming up against younger rookies, the games are sure to be full of non-stop excitement! This is your one-stop shop for everything you need to keep up with this season’s best, brightest, and those not so bright. Next week, I’ll be talking about our favourite Canadian rivalries. You guessed it! The West Coast combo of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have been competing for years, and we can’t wait to see how this year will pan out. Also, who can forget the dynamic duo of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens? The longest running rivalry in the National Hockey League (NHL). The teams never fail to entertain. You’ll read my take on these teams, what it means for their season, and exactly why I think so! See you next week!