I couldn’t find any good pictures and I really hate this year’s advertising campaign, which is unusually weak for the NHL who usually finds a really awesome slogan like “History Will Be Made” or “Because Of The Cup” that advertises players and moments and highlights the drama of the sport. So this is what we have instead. I’m sorry. Blame the NHL.
5. Playoffs Are Here!
At long last, we have the postseason, and certainly there are some interesting names mixed in amongst the usual suspects. The Stars. The Avalanche. The Blue Jackets. The Red Wings (though that’s mostly surprising because of how many injuries they’ve had). More on this coming soon, but it’s definitely shaping up to be an interesting postseason with some really great match-ups. Games start Wednesday! Do the bracket challenge on NHL.com, I’m going to do it (and fail miserably again probably).
4. Canucks. Oh boy, the Canucks
I’m still somewhat gleeful that I was completely right in predicting not-great things for this team way back at the beginning of the year because I didn’t think Tortorella would work with their roster and I also was very much not impressed with their roster. That being said, I have to feel some empathy for the fans, who have watched their team go from perennial threats to hot mess trainwreck in one season.
They attempted to patch the gaping wound of their organization by appointing Trevor Linden into the weird new position of Director of Hockey Operations that is, as far as I can tell, solely used to reward former players who aren’t ready to be general manager. As terrible as this decision probably is, he is at least rather charming.
EDIT: This was all written before the Daniel Sedin injury, which I am watching the aftermath of right now. Dead silent at Rogers Arena. Scary sight. Crowd is on their feet watching. All the best wishes to Sedin, hope he’s okay.
3. People Returning and People Leaving
As playoffs come, so do the injured players, from Kris Letang to Tomas Hertl, which leads to beautiful joyful things like this:
Sadly the end of the regular season also means saying goodbye to players, whether it’s Teemu Selanne (more on him below) or 18 year veteran Ryan Smyth, who was in tears during the final seconds of his last game.
Hannah and I wish them luck in their future endeavors and thank them for their careers and dedication.
2. Goodbye Shanabans, Hello Shana-wringing-of-hands
Welcome to Toronto, Brendan Shanahan. You are, at least, truculent (and yes that is indeed Coach Disco Dan Bylsma in that video). That might help you get through being the most visible face of Canada’s most scrutinized team.
On a serious note, I actually kind of like this for the Leafs. I’m not entirely sure what his role will be, but after spending a couple years as the head of the Department of Player Safety, Shanahan has gotten used to his decisions being microanalyzed by fans all over the NHL. He should fit right in under Toronto’s microscope.
1. Teemu Selanne’s Last Regular Season Game, Probably
It was a Teemu lovefest at the Honda Center tonight, though I imagine his actual last game will have a great deal of sadness too. Maybe he’ll take a puck like Daniel Alfredsson did last year. Anyway, they named Selanne captain for the night and first, second, and third stars of the game. They even got a win! (All goals coming after I pulled on my Paul Kariya jersey, I’ll note.)
Speaking of Kariya, the notoriously private and, since he retired, elusive Paul Kariya made an appearance at his long-time friend and linemate’s last game. You know his appearance was a big deal because when they showed him on the Ducks broadcast, the hockey journalist world promptly exploded.
Teemu, ultimate Good Dude, brought out J.S. Giguere, goalie for the Avalanche during this game who won the Cup and the Conn Smythe with the Ducks (though interestingly not in the same year). I didn’t see much of it because some dust got in my eye and I had to rub at it a lot.
Teemu Selanne has played hockey for 26 years (he was drafted in 1988) and played with the Ducks for 14 (interrupted) years after being traded from Winnipeg following meeting Paul Kariya at the All-Star Game (no, this isn’t a joke). He has literally played hockey for longer than I’ve been alive.
Enjoy tiny Teemu and one of his brothers, courtesy of Sel8nne.