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NHL Preview

by Jessica Citronberg

Graphics by Deanna Klima-Rajchel

World Cup

The World Cup of Hockey has come to a close and we’re left with some of the same questions we had when it began.

It was a shock that Team Europe made it to the finals of this tournament. Other teams had the advantage of having experience with the Olympics. Stars like Zdeno Chára, Marián Hossa and Anže Kopitar showed their depth and years of experience on the ice and made a great effort to push through to the title game.

Team North America could’ve been worse, but the performance definitely could’ve been better. The team was comprised of players aged 23 and under, like stars Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Auston Mathews. Team Canada didn’t necessarily need more help winning the World Cup title, but McDavid could have benefitted from playing with some older Canadians, especially now that he is the captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Jack Eichel and rookie Auston Matthews also did not get the chance to play along side older and wiser Americans. Their youth could have possibly pushed Team USA a little farther in the tournament.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

Sidney Crosby is starting the season coming off a Stanley Cup win with Pittsburgh and a World Cup of Hockey win with Team Canada. Now, Sid the Kid has fallen. Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion and he’s day to day. His competitive nature may force him to come back too early and lead to further injury. Crosby is no stranger to concussions either—he lost nearly a full calendar year to a concussion just a few short years ago.

Low Stanley Cup Numbers

The 2016 Stanley Cup finals were yet again faced with unimpressive ratings. Not only were some games broadcasted on NBCSN, but also the number of fans tuning in was relatively low. Pittsburgh has a strong fan base and Sidney Crosby on his own is a big reason why people watch. The San Jose Sharks have a strong group of fans and they all love their team enthusiastically. The only problem is they’re not a huge group of people—though San Jose does fall under the L/A sports market, majority of viewers in the area are pulling for the Kings. Similarly, Pittsburgh does have a rather large market, but its close proximity to other NHL teams (Flyers, Islanders, Rangers) makes their viewership much lower as well

Jimmy Vesey

Jimmy Vesey is finally making the transition to the NHL. After spending four years at Harvard, Vesey chose the New York Rangers during his unrestricted free agency this summer. Originally drafted in the third round by the Nashville Predators in 2012, Vesey made it a priority to stay at Harvard.

Vesey-palooza was an intense competition that pretty much came down to four teams: the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks, the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vesey comes from North Reading, MA, but his hometown team didn’t make enough of a push to surpass the New York Rangers.

The Rangers have been to the playoffs on a regular basis in the past few years, but they’ve continued to choke year after year. New York needs their new left-winger to make more of a contribution than Rick Nash.

NHL Olympics Participation 2018

The NHL is reportedly questioning their involvement in the 2018 Winter Olympics. If the World Cup of Hockey continues, that may be a reason for the NHL to encourage players to stay with their franchise team.

Alex Ovechkin told ESPN he definitely will be making the trip to South Korea.

The World Cup of Hockey will never be the Olympics; it will never match the excitement that ensues every four years. Considering all the injuries and dysfunction surrounding the World Cup of Hockey 2016, it may be in everyone’s best interest to not make any rash decisions for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Las Vegas

All the drama of the World Cup has put the news of the expansion of the league on the backburner.

Come next season, the NHL will officially have 31 teams. However,There are a few certainties with this new Las Vegas team. It’s owned in part by Bill Foley and the general manager will be George McPhee. The Maloof family is another part owner; they’ve made their name in Las Vegas and around the world for their Palms hotels and casinos.

The team’s name is still up in the air, with possibilities of Desert, Silver, or Golden Knights. Fans on the West Coast are already hard to come by and his expansion really doesn’t seem like something the NHL needs right now.

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