Are you prepping for the NHL coming to town?
The NHL is set to arrive in Seattle beginning in 2021. All parties have made the announcement official. Construction is underway on the new Seattle arena that will house the team. And everything appears to be on track for the yet-to-be-named franchise to hold its expansion draft in June of 2021 and play its first game in October of that year.
But are you doing your homework this spring?
The NHL playoffs are currently underway, and it’s already been quite the spectacle. The playoffs are still in the second round, but we’ve already seen Tampa Bay, the top-overall seed and everyone’s favorite to lift the Stanley Cup, get swept by Columbus in the first round; no division champions advance to the second round; three double-overtime contests; and three Games 7s, with another one set for Tuesday and the potential for two more Wednesday. We’re note even halfway through the postseason yet and it’s already been tremendous fun.
But are you paying attention?
In my experience, playoff hockey is as good as it gets. The caliber of play goes up from the regular season, the games get more exciting, and a lot of the nonsense that turn some people off about the sport goes away as the stakes are too high to engage in those type of actions. This time of year is a busy one in the professional sports world as both the NBA and the NHL hold their postseasons simultaneously, while the MLB season going full steam. But when it comes time to turn on the television in the evening and find a sporting event to watch, I pass over baseball and basketball (even though I love both) and point the remote toward hockey without hesitation.
The hockey playoffs can serve as a great educational tool for those who are interested in the NHL coming to Seattle, too. There are games pretty much every night at this point, so there’s no shortage of viewing opportunities. And because we live in the Pacific Northwest we’re also blessed with the option of watching the Canadian broadcasts of the games on CBC — if you ever want the hear the Everett Silvertips’ name dropped on TV, the CBC broadcast is the place to be as the announcers love referencing players’ junior teams.
Watching the playoffs will no doubt provide a preview of some of the players who end up on Seattle’s roster as well. Of course, we have no idea who will end up in Seattle. But you can be certain there are at least a couple players in action right now who will be on the initial roster. Take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights. They were an expansion team in 2017-18, but if look back three years earlier — the equivalent of today and 2021-22 when Seattle will begin play — Marc Andre-Fleury was tending goal for Pittsburgh in the playoffs, James Neal was banging in postseason goals for Nashville, and several others like Deryk Engelland (Calgary), Tomas Tatar (Detroit) and David Perron (Pittsburgh) were also skating regularly for their teams in the playoffs.
Then again, it’s still more than two years before the Seattle NHL team begins play, so for most in the region there’s no specific team to draw sports enthusiasts from the region to the table. Most people in the area have to watch these games as neutrals, rather than having a rooting interest.
So I’m curious. Are you paying attention to the NHL playoffs? Let us know here: