Things that never get old in the 1st month of the NHL: Pizzo

Last week I wrote a column called “Things I hate hearing in the 1st week of a new NHL season.”

Many of the reader comments were positive and a few of you even pointed out some I missed. (Stick tap to Cameron Eickmeyer for reminding me about the famous “Is it time to panic?” line.)

However, some of you pointed out that hockey fans are just excited, and the fact that I even wrote this showed that I am an angry, old curmudgeon. Which, by the way, who are you calling old? (Editor’s note: You. They’re calling you old. And angry.)

So, just to show you I’m not a hard-hearted man and it’s not all negative, I’ve done a 180 this week. 

Here are things I never get tired of seeing in the first month (yup, I’ve extended it) of the NHL season. 

The rookie lap

This is so common that every rookie knows it’s coming. They’re at the front of the line to go out on the ice, their hearts are pounding in their chests, and they need to take the first couple of laps on their own before being joined by their teammates. I love it. 

Players scoring their first career goal

Sticking with those rookies, I love watching them score their first NHL goal. It’s something every hockey player has practised on their driveway since they learned how to hold a stick. That usually brings the required shot of mom and dad crying in the stands. After countless early morning practices, more tournaments than they can count, and bank accounts drained just to keep up with equipment needs, this is the parents’ moment too. 

Rookie Kaapo Kakko (24) celebrates his first NHL goal on Saturday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Stanley Cup banner ceremony

This one isn’t so much about the emotion of celebrating winning the Stanley Cup in front of their fans because they did that all summer (just ask Alexander Ovechkin’s Twitter account from the summer of 2018). For me, this is what finally closes the door on last season and kicks off the new one. Congrats, you won last year, now the rest of the league is coming for ya. 

Video tributes to returning players

This doesn’t always happen in the first month, but it’s great when it does.

The first commercial break comes up and you just know they’re playing a video tribute to a player who looks really strange in a new jersey. You don’t get to see players visibly emotional during a game very often (especially in the first period), but this is one of those rare times. 

That said, I do think some of these tributes are getting out of hand. I don’t think we should ever hear the sentence “Thank you for your three wonderful years of service here”.

Wow, you guys are right, I guess I am officially an angry old curmudgeon! (Editor’s note: We told you.)

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