Despite the season being only a few weeks underway, we have already had some classic moments that suggest the 101st season of the NHL will go down in history as one of the most entertaining, both on and off the ice.
With 20 games under their belts, the ones to watch are starting to become clear, and a growing choice of new sports betting sites are narrowing down the odds on who will be the conference winners and playoffs contenders when April comes around. Little surprise that the Lightning are the early favorites for the Eastern Conference, but them aside, most are finding it hard to choose between the Penguins and the Maple Leafs.
There has been plenty of talk about the moments during gameplay that have shaped the season so far, but how about those events away from the ice? Here are five moments of laughter and tears that we will remember long after the season is over.
Reaves on Kessel
It is hard to believe that Ryan Reeves only arrived during the off season. He and Phil Kessel look like high school buddies who have been inseparable since childhood. Around Halloween, Reeves took it upon himself to hide in Kessel’s hotel room and leap out on his unsuspecting victim in a clown mask. This was followed up by him arriving at a postmatch interview that showed Kessel as the central model on the famous Thriller album.
Boyleing over with emotion
Brian Boyle crashing the net to take his team ahead is a sight that every NHL fan has become used to. Scoring his first goal in a Devils uniform was special, but that was not what brought the tears to his eyes. It was also the first goal he had scored since undergoing treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia. He told reporters: “I have never cried after a goal before.”
Who let the dogs in?
America’s VetDogs is a charity that provides assistance dogs to military veterans, and they sent a special representative to help out at the Highlanders vs Hurricanes game on Military Appreciation Night. Charlie the black lab took center stage for the puck drop to get the game underway.
Role reversal from Boninos
Every sports star knows that autograph hunters can be a bit of a pain when all you want to do is get back to the locker rooms to freshen up. But Nick Bonino and his wife decided to see it from the other side. They dressed up as fans and set about pursuing as many Predators players as they could find. Even better, the whole thing was filmed by teammate PK Subban.
More triumph over adversity
When former Blackhawks player Edzo Olczyk took his seat in the commentary box at the United Center to join the NBC broadcast, the Blues fans showed plenty of class and solidarity in his ongoing battle against colon cancer by greeting him with a standing ovation.
Stories like these go to show that the NHL represents more than just a game. Let’s look forward to plenty more memorable moments over the remainder of the season.