It’s no secret that you and I, and every other hockey fan is eager to get the regular season underway. In fact, I’m so excited for hockey that I was actually reading about the Minnesota Wild earlier!
Unfortunately, there’s a catch: hockey hasn’t started yet. We still have a few weeks before opening night. We’re in preseason mode right now and NHL preseason is crap. It’s slower hockey and harder to pronounce names. Basically, it’s NHL-lite. But, because I know a lot of hockey fans really enjoy the preseason, I thought it would be nice to explain some of things you might see over the next few weeks in a small, bullet point guide:
- It’s well understood some referees blow calls when they work with the AHL and minor league players. They just don’t care when it’s not authentic NHL. That’s why the league has gone to great lengths to ensure Stephane Auger won’t be calling any of Alex Burrows games this year.
- In Edmonton, fans are lining up for hours to meet new stars Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. As an alternative way to get Hall and Eberle’s autographs, try asking Sheldon Souray to get them for you. It’s not like he’s busy playing hockey and it will be good for his ego too… this might be the closest he comes to the NHL this season.
- There’s a slight potential the NHL’s preseason might become a testing ground for wacky new ideas, following the summer’s Research, Development and Orientation camp. Some “out there” ideas might include actually calling penalties.
- It’s customary for veterans to leave steep dinner bills with newbies throughout preseason/regular season. You can probably imagine why Matt Carkner, then 28, looked awkward last season after having to take Nick Foligno, then 21, to dinner all year…
- Over the next week or two, you’ll notice a lot of NHL players signing last minute contracts – some with new teams and some with their teams from last season. Whatever you do, please make sure your favourite player has a signed contract before switching allegiances, buying new jerseys or uprooting your family.
- It’s taking awhile for Boston fans to learn who the new Bruins players are, how to pronounce their names and imaging what they will look like in yellow jerseys this year. The long list of players includes the likes of Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and some rarely seen guy named Milan Lucic.
- Don’t be alarmed if you notice Rangers fans as the only fans around the NHL who aren’t excited about the upcoming year. Although the beginning of the season represents a fresh start for every NHL club, Rangers fans already know their team will be terrible since Glen Sather was in charge during the offseason.
- You might notice players fighting each other during inter-squad scrimmages and practices, but it’s no reason for concern. Most of the time it’s two players playing “tough hockey” or in Mike Komisarek’s case, it’s a harmless attempt at hitting on the new team nurse.
- Sometimes players get hurt or come down with strange injuries in the preseason. Some fans will try to encourage their favourite players to stay healthy with home-made signs that say things like “Get well soon Drury – Please stoping hanging out with DiPietro.”
- In Toronto, Maple Leaf commentators are trying out several new sayings in TV and radio telecasts. The one that’s sticking the most is ” He Phaneufed it.” It’s basically a clever way of saying a player’s shot missed the net by only seven feet.