The NHL schedule makers have a twisted sense of timing or they’re really good at having things fall into place with happenings in the league’s offseason. Case in point: The New Jersey Devils visiting the Vancouver Canucks just four games into the season on October 8.
Newest Devils goalie Cory Schneider tells Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice that was the first game he took note of on the New Jersey schedule.
“I don’t know if the schedule makers are doing me a favor by getting it out of the way early or playing around with me by making me do it so soon,” Schneider said. “I’m sure it will be a big story in Vancouver, but for us it can’t be a distraction. It’s got to be another game.”
Calling it a “big story in Vancouver” is putting it lightly.
With how the Roberto Luongo story has been handled there, seeing the guy who was supposed to be the new No. 1 goalie come back with a different team, it may as well be the Stanley Cup Final. Then again, it’s probably best for both players that they face each other early so the drama doesn’t get out of hand late in the year.
For what it’s worth, they’ll face each other again just 16 days later in Newark.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…