(Ed. Note: It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., a.k.a. “Real Thanksgiving”, which means it’s once again time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in the world of hockey. Here are the editors and writers from Puck Daddy and Yahoo Sports, offering their picks for this year. As always, we give thanks to you, the reader, for supporting this blog. Happy Turkey Day!)
Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor
1. Outdoor Games.
There aren’t too many of them. OK, maybe there are too many of them that involve the Chicago Blackhawks. But if you go to one, you know what I’m talking about: 50,000 fans getting loaded and celebrating the game and, in some cases, just hoping the game doesn’t go to a shootout so they suffer hypothermia.
2. Barry Trotz
Simply one of the most dedicated, smartest and level-headed hockey guys I’ve ever come across and I’m thankful that he’s behind the bench for a Capitals team that might have this thing figured out finally. Would love to see this lifer lift the Cup.
3. Every Single Person That’s Purchased And Read And Hopefully Enjoyed My Book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK.
I can’t thank you all enough. I’m so honored. Or if you bought it on Amazon.ca, honoured.
4. Hockey Podcasts
So many options now and so little time, from the ones beat writers are putting out to the new weekly ones to the podcasts that come around a few times a season from fans. As an American, hockey talk on the radio is a rare bird. Now we can take it with us!
Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy Editor
1. Jaromir Jagr.
I’ll never not be thankful for him. And now that he’s bringing back the mullet? Immortal.
2. Teemu Selanne.
3. Hilary Knight.
4. David Backes’ pig.
Because it pooped in Ken Hitchcock’s office.
5. Pranking rookies.
Tricking rookies to go out on the ice for warmups by themselves will never get old. It’s even better when the kids realize the joke and keep skating.
6. Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
Best logo in hockey.
7. The Nebraska-Omaha taco cannon.
We all need a taco cannon in our life.
8. Little hockey kids doing The Whip and Nae Nae
Josh Cooper, Puck Daddy Editor
1. John Tortorella’s return to the NHL
Tortorella is a rock star coach and the game feels more entertaining when he’s a part of it. I’m still waiting for his first viral video blowup with my friend Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
2. The Dallas Stars game ops team
When covering sports it’s easy to get bored with day-to-day monotony from athletes and management. And then you hear about how the Dallas Stars game ops group played Nickelback for an entire period in a hockey game to troll the Vancouver Canucks, and you’re then reminded about the joy and fun in-game entertainment brings to the lives individuals on a nightly basis. The Stars’ off-ice entertainment team is the best in the NHL and I’m thankful for their hilarity and creativity.
3. Jonathan Toews in his prime
Maybe it’s cliché to say you’re thankful for one player, but watching him is a joy and a treat. In a league full of talent and skill, he stands out. We always try to compare players to guys from earlier eras, and in my mind Toews is his own prototype. I’ve never seen a guy battle for pucks 200 feet up and down a rink the way he does. He’s my favorite player to watch and the NHL is a better league with him playing the lead role on its top franchise.
Jen Neale, Puck Daddy Editor
1. I am thankful for the distraction of sports.
There is a lot of crappy stuff that happens in the world and at times it can feel overwhelming. I love being able to flip on my TV and watch Corey Perry crosscheck someone in the back of the head because he only does that in days that end in ‘y’.
2. I am thankful for kids in goalie pads.
— Patrick Rankine (@coachRankine) November 14, 2015
It is impossible not to smile when you see little goalies. I might be the only person more excited to see kids on the ice during intermission of an NHL game than the parents of the kids themselves.
3. I am thankful to be a part of an elite group – women in sports.
I recognize how cheesy this sounds, but I want to focus on the positive. Consider how far women have advanced in the last five years alone. We have two women’s professional leagues run by women who are fearless. Female hockey players are being invited to practice with the men because their skill is recognized. Countless sports related businesses, publications, media outlets are being operated by, written, edited, etc. by women. Advances by those leaders make it better for the rest of us.
Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy Columnist
1. Offensive defensemen who win the Norris because they’re good sorry.
PK Subban and Erik Karlsson are my two favorite players in the NHL because they are exciting. They like to carry the puck and sometimes they mess up but most of the time they don’t, but when they mess up everyone is like “They’re so bad omg!!!!” Oh oops that should read “everyone wrong.”
2. The NHL.
I never cease enjoying the NHL not only for the on-ice product, but also for how fun it is to make fun of the many ways in which it is bad and gets easy stuff wrong. The NHL is perfect because it is very, very imperfect.
3. College hockey.
This is the reason I love the sport and I go to dozens of games every year and I am very lucky. For me it’s hockey in its purest form, no fighting, lots of skill, very parochial. Blessings to college hockey, which is the best.
Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Puck Daddy Fantasy Guru
1. The unpredictability.
Connor McDavid will walk away with the Calder Trophy this year…unless Jack Eichel has something to say about it. Sidney Crosby is the odds-on favorite to win the Art Ross Trophy. So how are those preseason consensus viewpoints looking these days? On the downside – this volatility is killing me in my fantasy leagues…
2. Artemi Panarin.
For giving us a reason for excitement the next time an NHL team signs an undrafted European. There have been so many Fabian Brunnstroms that our faith was starting to wane…
3. The New Jersey Devils.
For sucking on paper and kicking ass on the ice. Keep doing this every few years, guys. It keeps us so-called experts on our toes.
Steve McAllister, Yahoo Sports Canada Managing Editor
1. For all the volunteers out there at the grassroots hockey level who put smiles on kids’ faces every day.
For the odd buffoon who puts his/her agenda ahead of everything else, there are so many coaches, trainers, executive members who simply make the sport fun for boys, girls and their families.
2. Thankful to the referees (even Tim Peel) and linesmen.
Without them, there are no games. They don’t get enough credit for their efforts officiating the fastest game on the planet today.
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