As you know, the NHL kicked off the regular season in London, England this weekend. If you're feeling a little hollow and unenthusiastic about this whole opening weekend thing, you're not alone. While we're closer to the (North American) start of the regular season, there really wasn't much to get excited for this weekend unless you live in California. After all, there won't be another NHL game played until Wednesday (Why does everyone else have to take a break? Couldn't we of all started play this weekend and given the Kings and Ducks a week off?) and there was a significant feeling of disconnect by having a season start an ocean and couple time zones away from, well, anywhere.
This all leads me to wonder; how many ways to start a season uniquely can I come up with off the top of my head that are better than the NHL's idea?
- Start the season in a European country that gives a shit about hockey (see: Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, etc.)
- Start the season in a North American non-NHL city that would probably implode if it hosted an actual regular season opener (see: Hamilton, Halifax, Winnipeg, Hartford, Seattle).
- Begin the year with a "Rivalry Weekend" that will grab fans' attention fast. Play all sorts of rivalry games on Saturday and Sunday. Potential match ups include, but are not limited to; Rangers/Islanders, Leafs/Sens or Leafs/Habs, Oilers/Flames, Avs/Red Wings, Florida/Tampa Bay (God forbid the NHL forget about those warm weathered markets.)
- Do some kind of ridiculous, shameless, media attention grabber. For example; all home openers are free admission because there are, after all, forty-fucking-one other home dates and those losses are really only a drop in the bucket. A steel cage match between Donald Brashear and Gary Bettman would also do.
As for the actual games, well, it sounds like they worked out pretty well... Except for when the lights went out for 15 minutes before Saturday's contest. Other than that, it all was pretty swell. From all accounts the fans loved it. Both teams won a game, so they surely head home somewhat content, and Ducks fans are relived because their players can now finally stop faking retirement and/or injuries to avoid traveling overseas. I didn't actually see any of the games, so I'm not about to make any comment about how well the teams played, but I did sign up for NHL.tv. Pretty pumped about that.
That pretty much sums up the NHL's opening weekend British spectacular. Yeah, it happened, but who cares?
Wednesday night, folks. That's when hockey really starts. Unless you care about the Kings or the Ducks, I imagine.
P.S. ...for those of you waiting in dire anticipation, the final edition of Preseason Forplay for the Predators will be up tomorrow. Don't do anything rash before then.
P.P.S. I couldn't figure out a way to include it, but isn't this Canucks jersey absolutely hilarious? I can't comprehend why this isn't actually their new sweater.