By David Villegas
Hockey fans have been longing all summer for NHL season to begin and its initial games have not disappointed.
The very first game of the season saw the Ottawa Senators defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of five to four. Auston Matthews, the number one 2016 NHL Draft pick, scored four goals, though the Maple Leafs would go on to lose that game to the Ottawa Senators.
Matthews, 19, is from Arizona where watching the Phoenix Coyotes play started his love for the game. He brings great talent to a struggling Maple Leafs’ franchise and watching him play will certainly excite the fanbase for the future.
Opening day also featured the start of the 2016-2017 “Battle of Alberta,” in which the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames by a score of seven to four.
19-year-old Connor McDavid, who was recently named the youngest team captain in the history of the NHL, scored twice to help the Oilers to victory at home.
In the West Coast, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 2-1. Kings All-Star goaltender, Jonathan Quick, left early in the first period because of a lower body injury. After a “non-surgical procedure”, the Kings goalie is expected to miss about three months.
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015, the Chicago Blackhawks season ended in a Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues off a late third period goal from Troy Brouwer. The summer saw Chicago lose fan favorite Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens, struggling veteran and 2013 playoff hero Bryan Bickell along with promising young forward Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The first game of the 2016-2017 campaign gave the Hawks a chance to show the team that ousted them last season that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
The Blackhawks got to a great start with a 1-0 lead after the first period, but the team of some experienced veterans and many unproven rookies went on to lose the game 5-2.
Yet Blackhawks fans have a sense of hope despite a rough start to the season.
Rachel Cantor, a sophomore Education major, declared her faith with the team.
“My friends and I are excited about the opening season…We are a little worried about the loss of old players and some of the new players on the team, but we believe no matter what that the Blackhawks will dominate the rink.”
Patrick McReady, a freshman Actuarial Science major, feels the same way about the Blackhawks. He says, “I believe they got a great team. I see them going far and Patrick Kane will continue being the best in the league.”
At press date, the Blackhawks record was 3-3.