BLOOMINGBURG, NY – All it takes to change a grumpy mood into one that clears the mind is one event. The poor souls who regularly frequent this site have grown accustomed to my complaints, recently for which I’ve apologized, and not even a winning three-team NFL parlay laid in your laps last week is redeeming… as far as I’m concerned. In hindsight, the trifecta was a harbinger of the happiness felt on Wednesday at 5:30 in the evening when the puck dropped on the 2021 NHL season in Philadelphia as part of NHL Opening Night’s triple header…maybe GOOD things come in threes! Eight-plus hours straight of hockey changed the attitude knowing there’s something to watch in the coming four months while sipping on some bourbon, rye or Jameson’s.
A couple of takeaways from the curtain-raiser in the shortened campaign ahead:
There is no more Doc Emrick, who hung up the microphone after years as The Voice of the NHL’s national broadcasts across different channels during his lengthy #1 perch. Play-by-play in hockey is unlike any other sport – imagine taking a shower in a flatbed truck moving fifty miles per hour and reporting on traffic. This guy never missed a beat and always managed a footnote during the course of action to Slapshot, the greatest movie ever. Before his lofty perch, hockey fans in this area were treated to his craft as voice of both the Flyers and Devils.
Fear not my fellow hockey nuts. Brendan Burke, also a local announcer (with the Islanders), is very smooth in his delivery and part of the league’s regular lineup calling games on NBC. You’ll see my NFL predictions below but I’m throwing in one more. The young Burke will become the new Emrick within three years if not sooner, as numero uno in the NHL booth.
Also, the condensed schedule has some interesting quirks. The league is trying to limit travel for teams and have consecutive games against the same opponent. Whether they be two in three nights or back-to-back you’re going to see an increase in on-ice pugilism because hockey players have very good short term memory that leads itself to a carryover of emotions from the game before. The Bruins Kevan Miller and Devils Miles Wood dropped the mitts in the opening half minute of Saturday’s matinee. Like Ross “Mad Dog” Madison in Slapshot, many teams will not travel without an attorney like Sam “Small Print” Lyman. Stay tuned folks!
A couple of things bothered me but can be forgiven, as the NHL tries to generate some missed revenue with the pandemic. One is the advertising on player’s helmets and the other is the naming rights for the current four-division lineup. As a purist it pains me when certain changes are made. While Commissioner Bettman promises it’s a one-year thing, I am afraid that these two revenue streams are going to stay because in the business world, an entity never goes backwards after instilling a new practice.
JUST ENJOY THE SEASON WITH ME PUCKHEADS!!!
Now your reward. Cheesy Bruin’s Free NFL Picks… Playoffs’ Version
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -10 over Cleveland Browns
KANSAS CITY/Cleveland UNDER 57
Tampa Bay/NEW ORLEANS OVER 52
Comment below and come back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber, who is living in Purgatory… as a Jets fan in Buffalo.
But first this…