The NHL season is here, so you know what that means: the return of the most divisive sport on Earth. It’s not that hockey fans don’t like each other—it’s just that they can’t come to an agreement on anything! So let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines heading into this year and try to find common ground. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even grow to like each other.
New rivalries in the Metropolitan?
The Metro Division is a dogfight. Five of the eight teams are within three points of each other, and there are no clear-cut favorites. The Metro might be the most competitive division in the NHL this season, making it a must-watch divisional matchup for hockey fans.
When you think of rivalries in the NHL, you probably think of teams like Montreal vs. Boston and Toronto vs. Ottawa—and those are certainly great rivalries to follow! But what about some new ones? The Metropolitan Division has so many interesting storylines that could develop into fierce rivalries over time. Let’s take a look at them:
Is Stanley Cup hangover for the Penguins?
The Pittsburgh Penguins are still the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They have a lot of talent, but they’re not invincible, and they will be challenged in their own division by the likes of Washington, Columbus, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The road to the Cup is long and difficult, and it will be tested in the playoffs.
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It will also be interesting to see how much rust exists on teams that have been resting players during preseason games while waiting for their best players back from injury (e.g., Chicago Blackhawks).
Auston Matthews’ first season in Toronto
The Maple Leafs’ first overall pick in 2016, Matthews will have to deal with the pressure of playing for his hometown team and all eyes on him. He’s already been the focus of intense media attention since being drafted, but now he’ll have to prove that he deserves it.
While Matthews has said he doesn’t mind the attention, you can bet there will be plenty more coming his way if he performs well this season. If he can handle all that comes with playing for one of hockey’s most storied franchises as an 18-year-old kid from Scottsdale, Arizona (or any other place), then you should all be able to survive whatever life throws at us too!
Can McDavid, and Eichel live up to the hype?
This is perhaps the most important storyline to follow during this season. McDavid and Eichel were the top two picks in the 2015 NHL draft, and both players have had great rookie seasons. They are expected to be stars for a long time, too—and it’s not just because of their skill on the ice: both Eichel and McDavid have dealt with injuries that caused them to miss time during this season. Both of them should be healthy next year and can use that extra time off as motivation for what’s sure to be an exciting (and competitive) season next year.
The NHL is a weird and wonderful place, full of surprises and wonder. That’s why you will love it so much. Keep yourself updated with the NHL schedules and get the DIRECTV package. According to DIRECTV STREAM professionals, “We offer NHL CENTER ICE, the National Hockey League package, to DIRECTV for business and residential DIRECTV satellite TV customers.” And for the next few months with DIRECTV, you can be learning about these crazy new stories.