The 10th anniversary of Hockey Day in Canada is just around the corner. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this Canadian tradition, it is the only day where all 6 Canadian NHL teams are in action, playing each other. However, since this tradition started in 2000, it has become more than just another day.
Hockey Day has evolved into one of the most celebrated “holidays” is Canada. It gives Canadians a chance to get together. Maybe it’s at the outdoor rink, or inside the ACC, every Canadian; from Stephenville, Newfoundland to Nelson, British Columbia; dedicates this day solely to hockey.
I, myself, will be at the rink playing some Pick-up all day, so I won’t be able to see most of the NHL games happening this Saturday, however, let me give you a free preview.
Vancouver v. Toronto
Out of the 3 games going on this Saturday, this is the one that I really couldn’t care less about. Sure, last season it was all about Mats Sundin, who did show up with the shootout winner last game, but what is so significant about this game, besides Kyle Wellwood?
Looking at the standings, I see a struggling Leafs’ team that soon will be scrambling to stay ahead of the surging Hurricanes, and a Canucks’ team that just recently passed the Colorado Avalanche to take their division lead.
Both teams need this win very badly, one has to win to stay out of last place--or near it-- and the other needs to stay with Colorado, whom is playing Dallas on Friday, and the Rangers on Sunday.
As far as I’m concerned, the Leafs are in panic mode, and that never does anyone much justice, especially against teams who have a 6-game winning streak going strong. I’ll say that the Canucks will take it 4-1 on an empty-netter.
Montreal v. Ottawa
This game had the same story every year. Montreal would come into Ottawa, and get blown out, 1995 Detroit style. That is, until last season. Last year, that Habs scored the first 4 goals in the game, and won 5-3. This also happened during a major slump for the Sens.
Currently, the Sens are in no slump. This time, they are on a 7-game winning streak, and they get to play at home. However, one could argue that the Scotiabank Place is no home to the Ottawa Senators when the Habs come to town.
Montreal woes should continue, as I’m going to go ahead and predict a Senators’ victory. One thing though, is that it should be a close game, unlike some other years.
Edmonton v. Calgary
I apologize for the title, it probably should be more like “38 Points v. Team that’s behind Nashville”. OK, maybe that’s a little harsh, but it seems like the Battle of Alberta has turned into the Battle of Ontario.
The Flames fell off a cliff in Mario Kart, and Edmonton can never get off the ground. However, maybe Hockey Day in Canada can change Edmonton’s luck, or even Calgary’s.
As boring as this game sounds, I’m definitely going to catch some of it. Because, I want to see which loser wins. In the end, that is what’s going to make this game a classic. These two teams are desperate for some luck and know that this is a very good chance to get out of their slumps.
Who will win? As crazy as it sounds, I’m going with Edmonton. 2-1 in the Shootout, their specialty.
Thank you very much for reading. Happy Hockey Day!