Sport There’s plenty to be thankful for in hockey in 2021
NHL Free Agency 2021: Every signing by all 32 teams
The NHL free agent market opened Wednesday, July 28.• Canadiens sign Nick Suzuki to an eight-year, $63 million deal.
It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and there is no hockey to enjoy tonight. That leaves plenty of time for turkey, sides and lots and lots of dessert.
With it being a day to give thanks, some of the NHL on NBC Sports team wanted to share what we’re thankful for in 2021.
James O’Brien, NHL writer: It came far too late. And it’s probably only a sliver of the justice Kyle Beach and John Doe 2 deserve. But I’m still thankful that powerful people are at least experiencing an ounce of accountability. At times, it feels like injustices get rubbed in peoples’ faces, so every bit of progress counts. In the future, hopefully justice gets doled out in larger portions, though.
NHL Power Rankings: Maple Leafs take top spot; Capitals still contenders
The Maple Leafs take over the top spot while the Capitals show they are still contenders.They have everything going their way right now offensively, defensively, and in goal.
Adam Gretz, NHL writer: I am thankful that nearly every player and coach and staff member in hockey reached full vaccination status and that we have been able to have, so far, what mostly looks to be a normal looking NHL season with a normal schedule and fans. Missed that stuff and it definitely makes the games better.
Sean Leahy, NHL writer: I’m thankful for the highlights that players like, , , , , , , and many others provide us on a regular basis. Hockey is a really fast game and what those players can do nightly is remarkable.
I’m also thankful that we’re back into a regular, full season. We started in October, we’ll probably end in late-June/early-July, but no more shortened seasons, weird playoff and divisional formats. It’s close to the routine we knew before March 2020. Hopefully there are no similar interruptions in the future.
What the Sabres are thankful for in the 2021-22 season
Granato has made the Sabres competitive, even if they will ultimately finish near the bottom of the league again in another rebuilding season. The power play is in the top half of the league, Rasmus Dahlin (even with his warts) appears rejuvenated, and young players like Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund are finding their way. There are such huge gaps in the roster construction that Donato was never going to be able to make this team a contender, but it at least resembles an NHL team for the first time in a while.What would the Sabres be even more thankful for?An NHL goaltender.There is defensive help on the way.
Finally, I’m thankful the NHL is (hopefully!) going back to the Olympics. We need a best-on-best tournament every few years and if the World Cup of Hockey is not going to be on a regular schedule, having the top players compete for an Olympic gold medal will bring out some really good hockey, really early in the morning.
• I’m thankful that fans are back in the stands.
• That the Canadian-U.S. border is now open for all four original divisions to return after the NHL went regional last season.
• Connor McDavid is so good and has a highlight reel play seemingly every night he plays.
• Everyone in management is now being held accountable.
• Gritty is able to see every team come into Philadelphia this season.
•is playing like he did in 2019-20 rather than last season.
Draisaitl, McDavid, Ovechkin lead Hart Trophy race
Three big, familiar names, even if we haven't seen Ovechkin in the Hart discussion in some time.Note: stats collected from before Wednesday’s games, unless otherwise noted. The Pro Hockey Writers Association votes for the Hart Trophy each season.
• I was actually alive the last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.
Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: I’m thankful for the NHL’s return to “normalcy.” After two consecutive seasons were substantially disrupted by COVID-19, it has been a hockey fan’s dream to have the regular 82-game schedule back in full force (and also the ability to go to games!). I’m also thankful that the NHL’s return to the Olympics is just a couple of months away.
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Top player from Saturday in the NHL Yegor Sharangovich, New Jersey Devils Sharangovich was one of the young players in New Jersey a year ago that gave their fans and the organization a lot of reason for optimism. It has been a slow start for the second-year forward this season as he entered Saturday’s game with zero goals in his first 13 games this season. He scored 16 in 54 games a year ago as a rookie. He finally broke through in a big way in a 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring two goals and adding an assist to help the Devils erase a 3-1 third period deficit.