After two seasons affected by Corona, the NHL wants to return to normal on Tuesday. The division and mode are the same as in pre-pandemic times, fans will again ensure the atmosphere in the halls.
With the Seattle Kraken as the 32nd team, the best league in the world has even grown. Tampa Bay Lightning goes for the first three-peat in 40 years, Alexander Ovechkin has an all-time record in his sights. For the time being, Austria is only represented by one ÖEHV professional.
The veteran striker Michael Raffl from Villach has signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars after eight seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and a short stint with the Washington Capitals.
Talent Marco Rossi has to wait for his NHL debut for Minnesota Wild, the 20-year-old center was sent to the Iowa Wild farm team in Des Moines, which plays in the AHL.
Ovechkin on the hunt for “The Great One”
Ovechkin extended his contract with Washington Capitals for five years at the end of July. The signature brings the Russian superstar 47.5 million dollars and above all the chance to aim for one of the 61 records of the Canadian legend Wayne Gretzky, which has long been considered unbeatable.
“The Great One” – as Gretzky is called – has scored 894 goals in his career, Ovechkin is sixth with 730 goals behind Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741) and Marcel Dionne (731).
“That’s why I wanted to extend it by five years. To have a chance to catch up with the Great One. It will be difficult, but you never know,” explains the 36-year-old Russian when he signed the contract. With an average of 33 goals, the star striker would break the record. A mark that the Russian only failed to reach once in a full season.
“And if I should be second, it would be a great number,” says the striker, who of course also has his second Stanley Cup after the one in 2018 with the Capitals on his wish list. “That’s our goal and that’s what we’re trying to achieve this season,” said Ovechkin.
First three-peat since 1982?
The Tampa Bay Lightning also want to win the trophy again. The team from Florida is aiming for the title hat trick, which no team has achieved since the introduction of the salary cap (upper limit for player salaries). The last three-peat to date was achieved by the New York Islanders in 1982, who also achieved their fourth NHL triumph in a row the following year.
But there is a great longing for the Stanley Cup, especially in Canada. No team from the motherland of ice hockey has won the coveted trophy since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993; the Canadiens only failed in the final in July.
For the league, however, it is initially about “business as usual”. The league format is returning to the original four divisions and 82 games per club, with the mood set to return to the halls.
Full halls should help the clubs out of the difficult economic situation. The $ 650 million the Seattle Kraken used to buy their way into the league doesn’t hurt either.
A game break is also planned in February to enable the NHL professionals to take part in the Olympic Games in Beijing.
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) October 9, 2021
Text: © LAOLA1.at/APA
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