SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio’s 2023-24 NHL Season Preview
World goes round, life goes on and on and on…
~Lyrics by Cheap Trick, from their 1979 song, “Way of the World“
The song fits.
Didn’t the Vegas Golden Knights just hoist the Stanley Cup? Weren’t the Chicago Blackhawks just on stage in Nashville, announcing young phenom Connor Bedard as the top draft pick?
Where did the summer go?
Apparently, this autumn, you can have the best of both worlds. Unseasonably warm weather settled over much of North America, making it feel more like the MLB All-Star Break than the NHL pre-season.
Yet the pre-season games went on, and finally here we stand, on the precipice of the 2023-24 National Hockey League regular season. There’s 32 teams playing 82 games each, spread over six months, in order to decide which half of the league gets to play on into the spring, and which half goes home.
Much like any other season, there are a myriad of enticing questions to consider.
Will Vegas repeat as Stanley Cup Champions? How will Connor Bedard fare in his first season in the pros? How much closer to the magical 894 goal number does Alexander Ovechkin get this season (he begins the campaign sitting in second spot overall with 822 regular season goals…a mere 72 red lights behind Wayne Gretzky).
Will Connor McDavid score over 60 goals again? Will Auston Matthews hit 60 goals again, like he did two seasons ago? How many points will Connor Bedard pick up in his freshman year? Will clubs such as the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators make the big leap into the ranks of playoff status teams? Who plays on Connor Bedard’s line? Who will score for the New York Islanders? Who is Taylor Swift dating?
The 2022-23 NHL season was epic in scope, with five 50 goals scorers (including two who hit the 60-goal mark), 11 players recorded over 100 points, and there were enticing playoff races in both Conferences. Yes, we were partying like it’s 1993.
That won’t change this season. The level of play has never been higher in the league. The infusion of exciting young players makes for an intoxicating mix of young guns, older veterans, and Joe Pavelski. The dude can still play.
It’s only October, but most people still can’t help asking the big question…
Who’s winning the Stanley Cup a mere nine months from now?
The primary level of Cup Contenders probably includes the Hurricanes, Oilers, Stars, Avalanche, Maple Leafs, and your incumbent, the Golden Knights.
Not far off that pace you’ll find the young and exciting New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, the Rangers, and…and…
What to make of the Boston Bruins, still smarting from unceremoniously being punted from the first round by the upstart Florida Panthers? And what about those Cats, who have to contend with some key injuries right out of the gate? Same with their cross-state rivals, the recent Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning; are they finally seeing their Stanley Cup window slowly close?
Are you confident in the Minnesota Wild this season? Are the Pittsburgh Penguins gearing up for one more run at the Big Silver Mug, or are they merely tilting at windmills? Do you have Seattle back in the post-season? Surely the Calgary Flames can’t keep losing one-goal games? Who are the Washington Capitals this time around? Who emerges from the Central Division scrum between the Predators, Jets, and Blues? And is Detroit ready to take a step or two forward?
All questions that will eventually be answered a competitive 26 weeks from now.
More than ever, with the league so tightly bunched together, a good start is imperative to booking a tee time for the post-season, as opposed to a tee-time at the local golf course. We’re looking at you, Ottawa Senators. Yes, occasionally some slow starting teams become the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues, who were dead last at the beginning of that January, ate their Wheaties, and rose all the way to merely a point back of top spot in the Central Division. Oh yeah, and they went on to win their first Stanley Cup that spring.
Don’t count on that happening again.
Even the “surprise” Florida Panthers were one of the better teams in the league last season with the turn of the calendar to 2023, after a slow start.
Don’t count on that, either.
Do count on a cornucopia of highlight reel goals, great saves, GMs upset with officiating, fans upset with officiating, and Connor Bedard.
No pressure, kid.
Complete 2023-24 NHL Season Coverage
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio enters its 19th season covering the fastest game on ice, with wall-to-wall coverage of all 32 NHL teams. Whether the game is inside your favourite arena, or outside for the Heritage Classic in Edmonton (and the Stadium Series in NYC), we have you covered.
Gord Stellick and Scott Laughlin start you off every weekday with NHL Morning Skate (7am to 11am ET), with top notch guests and great insiders. Mick Kern and Peter Berce take your phone calls, and argue hockey on Under Review (11am to 1pm ET). Jim Boomer Gordon and Jack Hahn drop the gloves on all the burning questions during The Point (1pm to 3pm ET). And Steve Kouleas and a cast of former NHL players get you ready for the evening’s action with The Power Play (3pm to 6pm ET).
Weekends are made for hockey, and the can’t-miss hockey talk continues on Saturday with The Hot Stove (11am to 1pm ET) hosted by Ryan Paton, Dave Pagnotta, and Dennis Bernstein (who won the 2023 SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Fearless Playoff Prediction pool…for the second time). Bernie Corbett brings you all the developing NCAA hockey news with Hockey on Campus (9-10am Saturday, and 7-8am Sunday). Dave McCarthy is in charge of the Sunday Brunch at 11am ET, a great mix of hockey talk and big name guests.
Always looking ahead, Shane Malloy and Brad Allen keep you up-to-speed with news on the next crop of NHL players, on Hockey Prospect Radio, every Saturday at 7am ET, and Sunday at 8am ET.
NHL Network Radio is The Home of Hockey
Analysts such as Mike Johnson, Anthony Stewart, Mike Rupp, Martin Biron, Shane O’Brien, Mike McKenna, and Andrew Raycroft bring their NHL playing experience to the airwaves.
Insiders such as Elliott Friedman, Brian Burke, Linda Cohn, Bruce Boudreau, Dave Poulin, Jeff Marek, and Craig Button discuss the latest news, and rumours from around the league.
The big games, the big names, the best analysts, and the best hockey talk around. SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (Channel 91) is indeed The Home of Hockey.
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Games of the Week
Tuesday, October 10th to Friday, October 13th, 2023
Opening Night in the National Hockey League features three games to choose from, but most eyes will be on this game in Pittsburgh, as the revitalized Penguins host the rebuilding Blackhawks…and young phenom forward Connor Bedard. The first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft enters the league with a ton of expectations, similar to what the Pens’ Sidney Crosby experienced back in 2005 during his rookie year.
It’s the traditional Opening Night matchup between these two storied rivals. The Maple Leafs finally won a playoff series this past spring, but fell in the second round to the Florida Panthers. More is expected this time around from a Toronto team that changed up a significant portion of their roster, and brough in a new GM. As for Les Canadiens, they continue their slow build back to respectability, and hope to avoid the record number of player injuries they incurred last season.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions are in San Jose this evening to clash with a Sharks team that said goodbye to Norris Trophy winning defenceman Erik Karlsson (now in Pittsburgh), with an eye to the future. Vegas will once again be one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. The last NHL team to go back-to-back were the Tampa Bay Lightning, who recently did so in 2020 and 2021.
Lucky Friday the 13th features a matchup between two old rivals in the Metropolitan Division, with both expecting to qualify for the playoffs this spring; both teams missed the post season last April. These veteran-laden clubs will have their work cut out for them in a highly competitive division. Extra attention will be focused on Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin, who enters the season with 822 regular season goals, a mere 72 behind the once unreachable total of 894 that Wayne Gretzky amassed during a stellar career.