New thing: Friday blog dump. Basically a weekly blog touching upon a bunch of different stuff that drops every Friday. Here’s the debut.
The saying is lightning doesn’t strike twice. Don’t tell that to the NHL.
The past two installments of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have ceded itself to the league stumbling into a pot of gold, last season by way of the Nashville Predators reaching the Stanley Cup Final then this year with the Vegas Golden Knights reaching.
The game of hockey and the most iconic trophy in sports sells itself. But the additional sideshow and atmosphere these two markets have provided have brought the Stanley Cup to another level of excitement.
In Nashville, it was the party-like scene, the college football-like environment. The catfish being thrown on the ice. The country music presence the city brought to the final. The culture of the city injected itself into the Stanley Cup Final as opposed to the Stanley Cup Final injecting itself into the culture of the city.
It’s been taken to another level this year in Las Vegas. The pregame shows have been wild going all the way back to the start of the playoffs. From the knights skating around in full armor, to the drumline, to the added features from game to game, with an Imagine Dragons concert one night to Michael Buffer another.
Another layer of curiosity comes with it. You get stories of how it all comes together. You get stories of the culture of these cities and how it ties in. You hear from locals and what the team means to them and the community.
Does every city need to do a production like this? Not necessarily. I thought Jeff Marek made a good point on the 31 Thoughts Podcast that a place like Montreal should sell their history and tradition, and would (and has) put on a good show from that standpoint. The same can be said in places like Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. But the new cities that have come into the mix have added a new element and formed their own identity through it.
Is it for everybody? No, which is fine. But I feel those that have objected to these ceremonies are in a stark minority. Most have no problem, many can’t get enough of it.
Bottom line is this has people tuning in that wouldn’t have before. It has people talking about hockey and the NHL that usually wouldn’t be. And that’s a big win for the game.
Callahan out 5 months
The Lightning announced on Thursday that Ryan Callahan is expected to miss five months after undergoing shoulder surgery, which puts him out for about the first month of next season.
Another injury for a guy that has battled quite a few since arriving in Tampa from the Rangers via the captain-for-captain deal that sent Martin St. Louis to New York in 2014. He had a really strong postseason for the Lightning, with that fourth line of Callahan, Cedric Paquette, and Chris Kunitz playing a big role in the Bolts getting within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.
Callahan, 33, has two seasons remaining on his deal. Hopefully the Lightning can string together a Cup run between now and then. That’s a guy who you want to see win one. And he’d be one of the first – if not the first – to receive the Stanley Cup from Steven Stamkos.
NCAA coaches going pro
We’ve seen two NCAA head coaches get NHL jobs in the past month, with Denver head coach Jim Montgomery going to the Stars and BU head coach David Quinn going to the Rangers. There was a lower-profile hiring this week when the Wheeling Nailers – the ECHL affiliate of the Penguins – announced the hiring of former Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy.
Dennehy was relieved of his duties at Merrimack in a surprise move following the 2017-18 season. He took over the program in 2005 and brought it to heights few felt it could reach, with the program fielding teams that were among the best in the nation earlier this decade. They fell off a little bit in recent years, but they’ve still managed to be competitive.
It will be interesting to see what he does in the pros.
Things you should read
*Well done piece by SI.com’s Charlotte Wilder on the fast-growing Las Vegas community and giving a face to its people.
*Golden Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon looks to join his late brother, Brad, on the Stanley Cup.
*A look at what the Seattle expansion club would look like if it were drafted today.
*The current state of the relationship between Capitals GM Brian MacLellan and Golden Knights GM George McPhee.
*The Golden Knights form a strong bond with the first responders of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Taking you out of the blog and into the weekend: Fights between Tom Wilson and Ryan Reaves