The Hat Trick: Top Three Things To Look for This Weekend

Matt SitkoffCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2009

First night jitters abound as players sit in the locker room.  Some have been here many times, and others are here for the very first time.  So let’s get right to it and light the lamp on the first Hat Trick of the season, or the top three things I am looking for this opening weekend of hockey.

1.) New Faces in New Places:  How will the new guys fit in? This is the biggest question facing 30 teams this weekend.  From promising rookies to big time free agents, these are the players are fans are excited to. 

Which of these players make an immediate impact will be great to watch this weekend.  Three specific new faces I will be watching are John Tavares in Long Island, Chris Pronger in Philadelphia, and Marian Gaborik in Manhattan.

2.) Hockey overseas: Last year’s Premier Event saw all four of the coaches get fired before the end of the season (Rangers: Tom Renney, Penguins: Michel Therien, Senators: Craig Hartsburg, Lightning: Barry Melrose). 

Now, I am not saying that the four coaches participating in this seasons Premeir Event have to watch out for the pink slips, but it was a telling sign that these teams all struggled mid-season.  I am interested to see how these four teams manage with the different beginning to season; I just hope it is not like Michael Scott and Jim’s start to being co-bosses in The Office.

3.) Panic or Patience: Which teams will panic after the first week of the season, making internal rosters moves, or dare I say coaching change?  Which teams will show the necessary patience?  While it is always important to come out of the gates strong, I think it is also important to understand that this season is a marathon.   

It will be interesting to watch which teams will panic and which teams will have the patience needed to build a stable foundation for a winner.