NHL News: Player News and Updates for 10/1/13
NHL Daily Updates: Opening Night Previews and Notes
October 1, 2013
In what seems like a quick turnaround in comparison to last year’s lockout-shortened campaign, the NHL’s 2013-14 season officially gets underway today. We’ve got three big matchups coming our way on opening night, so let’s take a quick look at each one and highlight the key players and featured storylines we’ll be seeing out there on the ice.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens: This rivalry seems like it goes back ages, so it’s a fitting way to begin the season. These two teams will meet a total of five times this season, but all the rest of the games will happen on Saturday evenings. Toronto dominated this one last year, going 3-2 in the season series and outscoring Montreal by 11 goals.
The Leafs will be without David Clarkson for the opener, as he’ll begin serving his 10-game suspension. As a result, we’ll see Nikolai Kulemin get a chance to step up in a featured role, and a handful of others will have to pick up the slack while the team is down a player.
For Montreal, they’re still reeling from the loss of defenseman Douglas Murray, who sustained an upper-body injury this past Saturday in practice. He’ll be gone for 4-6 weeks. First-year defenseman Jarred Tinordi is expected to step up in his absence.
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Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks: The defending champ Blackhawks will get things started with a tough test against the visiting Capitals this evening, still high after winning their second Stanley Cup in 36 months. The two teams had better get their fill of each other tonight; they won’t meet again until April 11.
Second-line Capitals LW Brooks Laich is set to play in this one, after a nagging hip flexor injury bothered him throughout the preseason. Meanwhile, team star Alex Ovechkin will be in the lineup after what’s already been a busy week; he started the Olympic torch relay in Greece on Sunday.
For the Blackhawks, they’re likely to have Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus, who both missed out on the preseason after rehabbing from considerably serious injuries in the off-season. We’d imagine they’ll be eased into action.
Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers: It’s been a while since these two teams have seen each other--late February of 2012, to be exact; that one was a 5-3 Oilers win.
The Jets head into the 2013-14 campaign trying to reverse an ugly postseason trend: as a franchise, they’ve made the playoffs just once in the past 13 years. They’ll be hanging their hopes on a young group, with forward Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba expected to make an impact this season.
The Oilers, meanwhile, are off to a pretty good start if the preseason returns are to be believed. A couple of the team’s key players will be ex-Blues forward David Perron and new captain Andrew Ference, who arrived via free agency. Ference has 13 years of NHL experience under his belt and won a Cup with the Bruins.
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