And that’s all well and good if you’re the sort of person who enjoys happy stories. But what about the other 99 percent of us? What about the fans who want to see a good old-fashioned debacle? Luckily, the NHL seems like it should have plenty of those to offer up too.
As we head toward opening night, here are some of the story lines that are simmering now, but have the potential to boil over some point during the season.
If you follow a television series long enough, you’ll eventually hit one of those story lines: The one that is set up brilliantly, seems to be building to an intriguing payoff, and then just kind of gets forgotten about.
The NHL offseason isn’t a scripted TV show. (We know this because scripted TV shows don’t go weeks at a time with absolutely nothing happening.) But that hasn’t stopped this year’s edition from featuring its share of abandoned story lines.
Here are five subplots that seemed like they’d be important pieces of the 2013 offseason but (so far) have turned out to be duds.
Thomas was back in D.C. on Monday night, a few months after his now-infamous Facebook post, in which he said that he believed the federal government had "grown out of control." He continued: "Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House." By now you probably know the rest. Thomas didn't accompany the Bruins to the White House, and missed out on this delightful photo op:
The first star of Sunday's OHL game between the Erie Otters and the Niagara IceDogs was a goaltender who allowed 13 goals on 45 shots in a 13-4 loss.
Of course, he was also wearing skates that were far too small, a jersey that had been hastily assembled just days before, and goalie pads the likes of which he hadn't put on since he was 5 years old. Not to mention that, because of shoulder surgery, he hadn't played in a single game — even at center, his typical position — all season long.
Hockey’s Three Stars of Comedy is a monthly feature that will recognize the three NHL personalities from around the league who produced the most comedic fodder for fans. It will appear at the end of every month (we're close enough this time, right?) unless it hits somebody in the head and gets suspended, at which point it will stay home and sulk.
Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price, All-Stars
For the last few years, the NHL has basically decided that anything goes during the skills competition breakaway event. Props, costumes, special effects — you name it. Each year, that leads to a few players trying to get creative.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Novak Djokovic advanced to the Australian Open final with a five-set victory over Andy Murray. On Sunday, he'll face Rafael Nadal in a battle of the top two seeds. Meanwhile, Andy Murray remains confident that he'll eventually win a major. "Hey, does anybody know the number of the guy who stabbed Monica Seles right before Graf started dominating?" he asked a room full of reporters. "A friend wanted to know."
At a Joe Paterno tribute, Nike CEO Phil Knight criticized the process by which Paterno was fired. "If there's a villain in this tragedy," he said, "it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno's response." Later in his speech, Knight said that if there's a comic relief character in this tragedy, it's probably Crazy Scott Paterno, the protaganist's son.
No one has faced more shots this year than Cam Ward. In his seventh season with the Carolina Hurricanes, Ward, who writes "Have Fun" on all of his sticks, is adjusting to the new realities of his team, one of which is this: The Hurricanes give up the most shots on goal of all 30 NHL teams. Ward has, unsurprisingly, had a tough season in this environment, and it's beginning to show.
After being beaten in overtime by the Maple Leafs, Ward two-hand Hulk-smashed his stick against the goalpost in frustration. (It was a move he'd clearly had on the mind: One game earlier, against Winnipeg, Ward was yanked for the second time in three games and sat on the bench screaming. "I was absolutely not directing it at anybody," he later said. "I was thinking about smashing the stick but didn't do that. I just started yelling.")