THE BOX SEATS (Edition #1, October 10th-16th, 2023)
Hello, and welcome to “The Box Seats”, a new column designed to keep Hockey fans informed, educated and entertained with the news and notes from around the National Hockey League.
Here, we will highlight the top NHL players to keep an eye on, team trends to bet on during the week with the latest NHL betting lines, games to watch on National Television in the United States and Canada, and other fun things like the Jersey of the Week and NHL Trivia. So kick back and read along every week during the National Hockey League season.
The 107th operating season of the National Hockey League kicks off on Tuesday night, with a tripleheader of games starting with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who start their year without All-World goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is out eight to ten weeks recovering from a back procedure.
They host the Nashville Predators, who are looking to return to the postseason after poor play and injuries kept them out of the playoff picture in 2023.
The No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s Entry Draft, Connor Bedard, makes his league debut with the Chicago Blackhawks as they hit the road to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rounding out the evening, the Stanley Cup Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, will hang their new set of championship banners as they open the new campaign against the Seattle Kraken.
The Boston Bruins are looking to make amends for their disastrous end to the playoffs after setting a new league record for most wins and most points in National Hockey League history. They will open their centennial season by hosting the Blackhawks a night after their lid lifter in the Steel City.
Boston will hit the ice in some sweet new jerseys that we will talk about a bit more later on. Their season was ended by the Florida Panthers, who would go on to win the Prince of Wales Trophy.
They will open the year in Downtown Saint Paul, taking on the Minnesota Wild without the services of defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, both still recovering from injuries sustained during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
32 teams are all looking to make a fresh start and a run towards a successful year. Let’s take a look at some players to keep an eye on in this opening week of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEK
The hype train for the 18-year-old Vancouver phenom has been massive and that train makes it’s first stop in the Steel City, a.k.a Pittsburgh, where the young forward will face-off against another highly touted No. 1 pick in Sidney Crosby, who after three Stanley Cups, two Hart Trophies for League’s Most Valuable Player and team captain for the vast majority of his career, enters his 19th NHL season as the veteran looking to make one more run towards another Cup, while Blackhawks fans are hoping their #98 can be even half as successful as the Pens’ #87 when things are all said and done.
The next night, Chicago takes on the Boston Bruins, who will begrudgingly hoist their banners for the President’s Trophy and Atlantic Division titles, and might be playing a bit salty knowing the “Unfinished Business” they have after last year’s playoff collapse. Will that impact the latest NHL Betting Lines?
The Blackhawks round out the week on Saturday in Montreal. Bedard will skate on the top forward line, centering with Taylor Hall and Ryan Donato on the wings. Many sportsbooks have the Latest NHL betting lines available on when Bedard will score his first career goal, as well as his Over/Under for the amount of total goals and total points this season.
|Connor Bedard Total Goals||Connor Bedard Total Points|
|Over 32.5 Goals -115||Over 69.5 Points -115|
|Under 32.5 Goals -115||Under 69.5 Points -115|
Entering his 16th season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 33-year old, two-time Stanley Cup winner, 515-goal scorer and captain of the team for a decade this season will enter this year without a contract extension deal done between his agent and Bolts General Manager Julian Brisbois.
With tight Salary Cap restraints, the Lightning are going to have to make a difficult decision at some point and with a back injury sidelining goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay is going to need their offense to contribute more in case the defense and goaltending can’t carry their weight early on. Look for Stamkos to play with some energy and something to prove in their first few games, starting with Opening Night against the Nashville Predators.
Team Trends To Watch For
- The Minnesota Wild have an All-Time Record of 15 wins, three regulation losses, three overtime losses and one tie in home openers since their inception in 2000.
- Two of the teams playing on Opening Night, have the two best records of Season-Opening games in NHL history, based on winning percentage. The Vegas Golden Knights, who are 5-1 All-Time in season openers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are 19-9 with two ties as they enter their 31st season in the league. Keep this in mind when evaluating the latest NHL betting lines. The two worst teams? The Seattle Kraken, who lost one game in regulation and another in overtime, and the Anaheim Ducks, who are 10-19 entering their 30th season in the National Hockey League.
NATIONAL TELEVISION SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK
Nashville at Tampa Bay – 5:30p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
The Lightning look to start the season with a win despite being without goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for eight weeks. This will surely impact the latest NHL betting lines. Nashville’s new coach Andrew Brunette makes his Predators debut behind the bench.
Chicago at Pittsburgh – 8:00p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
It’s old school meets new school as Connor Bedard starts his career with the Hawks against veteran Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Opening Night.
Seattle at Vegas – 10:50p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
The Golden Knights will have a big banner ceremony to celebrate last season’s Stanley Cup victory.
Chicago at Boston – 7:30p ET on TNT
Connor Bedard plays his first back-to-back game in an NHL uniform against a Bruins team that made history in the Regular Season, then choked in the playoffs.
Colorado at Los Angeles – 10:30p ET on TNT
The Avalanche look to rebound as contenders in the West against a pesky Kings team that has made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
Chicago at Montreal– 7:00p ET on NHL Network
Make it a Hat Trick for the Hawks on National TV this week, Bedard and Company face-off with the “Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge” in Montreal.
Tampa Bay at Ottawa – 7:00p ET on NHL Network
Ottawa looks to make a push for the playoffs this season as they hook-up with division foes Tampa Bay for a Sunday evening showdown that should have interesting odds in the latest NHL betting lines.
Frozen Fashion: The Hockey Jersey of The Week
Each Week, we will select one NHL team jersey to highlight the design and the history of that specific sweater. This week, we start with a celebratory twist on an Original Six classic:
Boston Bruins 2023-24 Centennial Season Home Jersey.
The Boston Bruins, long noted for their iconic Black and Yellow jerseys with the “Spoked B” crest in the center, have taken a color twist in honor of their 100th Anniversary, swapping out the traditional yellow for “Centennial Gold”, a delightful shade that adorns the outer edge of the center crest as well as gold and white stripes at the elbow of the sleeve and bottom of the jersey.
The right and left sleeves each contain three gold stripes for a total of six, referring to the club’s six Stanley Cup Championships (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972 and 2011). Inside the collar of the jersey are the six title years printed on an outline of the commonwealth of Massachusetts
National Hockey League Trivia Question
Which NHL Arena had the longest consecutive attendance sellout in league history?
Hint: It started in 2007 and ended recently in 2021.
Come Back Next Week to find out The Answer!