WE CAN’T WAIT FOR: IIHF Women’s World Championship — August 20-31
Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 67 days
HONORING KIVVI: Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois will wear No. 80 next season, a nod to former teammate Matīss Kivlenieks, who wore the same number during their time together in Columbus. Truly touching.
HILL YES: Sharks goalie Adin Hill, acquired in a deal with the Coyotes on July 17, agreed to a two-year deal worth $2.175 million per season. The deal means the team and Hill will avoid arbitration.
WE CAN’T WAIT: Team Canada announced its roster for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship — and it’s jam-packed with talent. The tournament runs August 20-31 in Calgary.
BIG TUNA: The New Jersey Devils signed forward Tomas Tatar to a two-year deal worth $9 million, adding a reliable scorer at a reasonable price. They also inked restricted free agent Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year, $4 million contract.
AHL ADDITION: The AHL announced that the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs will be expanded to include 23 teams in the postseason. The addition “will allow some 150 additional players to play more meaningful games” next spring.
Top Shelf Thursday – Top-5 NHL Arenas to Visit
The NHL schedule has been released and fans have been busy planning their hockey trips for this upcoming year. After dealing with Covid-19 the past couple of seasons, fans are excited to get back on the road to see their favorite teams. The Morning Skate team came up with five arenas that should be on your list of stadiums to visit.
Climate Pledge Arena – Seattle Kraken
Of course fans will be flocking to Seattle for the Kraken’s inaugural season! During the Expansion Draft, Seattle shied away from the bigger names available and opted to build a hard-working, blue-collar team that fans can root for. With Jerry Bruckheimer as one of the owners, we can expect an impressive in-game experience. If you’re looking to see the home opener against the Vancouver Canucks, be prepared to pay — according to TicketMaster, the cheapest ticket available is $900!
UBS Arena – New York Islanders
The Islanders have finally found a home — and thankfully it is not in Brooklyn. The UBS arena is situated in Elmont, New York near the Belmont Park race track. There is no time like the present to catch an Islanders game. With Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz at the helm, the team is competitive and exciting to watch. The new arena can’t be any worse than the Barclays Center experiment — so it is already a win in my book.
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville Predators
At this juncture, it is hard to say what the Predators on-ice performance will look like — I’m sorry but I speak the truth. What can be said is that Smashville is always a good time. Bridgestone Arena is in the perfect location for out-of-town fans — located on Broadway and steps away from some of the best bars Nashville has to offer — to either celebrate a Predators win or drink your sorrows away.
T-Mobile Arena – Vegas Golden Knights
Viva Las Vegas. T-Mobile has been at the top of many hockey fans’ arena bucket lists since its inaugural season. Funny enough, Las Vegas seems to be at the top of most people’s cities to visit bucket list — talk about a match made in heaven. The energy at “The Fortress” is currently one of the best in the league. Props to the Golden Knights for bringing the Vegas Strip into T-Mobile Arena.
Little Caesars Arena – Detroit Red Wings
Little Caesars Arena had a lot to live up to replacing the famed Joe Louis Arena. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. One of the biggest upgrades is the jumbotron — a 5,100-square foot scoreboard. The arena is large and there are numerous nods to the city of Detroit along with a few historical touches. With Steve Yzerman as the general manager, it won’t be long until the Red Wings are back in the playoff hunt.
Well, There’s Always Next Year!
There is plenty of optimism throughout the NHL— as most fan bases can point to new players, debuting prospects, encouraging developments, or even positive health updates as reasons for hope heading into the 2021-22 season. It doesn’t hurt that the puck hasn’t dropped and — for now — everybody has the same record.
That optimism, however, isn’t shared across the entire league. Even as the expansion Seattle Kraken get set to debut with a reigning Vezina finalist in net, a former Norris winner on the blue line, and a one-time 34-goal scorer on the wing, there remain teams that don’t have an awful lot to sell their fans on this year.
It could be a long season for some of these poor bottom feeders — so we at the Morning Skate thought it might be helpful to provide some support to their marketing departments and offer a “sunny side up” sales angle. Let’s see what we can do to offer a little PR spin to the organizations that need it most:
“Leading the league in future draft picks and ‘oh yeah, I remember that guy!’ players.”
“Hey, we got to the second round the last time we were COVID-free!”
Detroit Red Wings
“We don’t just have one good young goalie, we have two!”
San Jose Sharks
“Our blue line still has two former Norris winners — we swear!”
“You know, we did beat the Stanley Cup finalists six times last year”
“Let’s just tuck all those Eichel jerseys right in behind the Power ones.”