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November Edition
11/6/17 - By Ryan Hall -

Here we are, a month into the NHL season, and certain trends are starting to appear. The sample size is getting large enough that we have a good idea which teams are contenders, and who have serious flaws. It also means that we've enough information to start chirping about the things we were right about, or to quietly eat crow over the things we got wrong.

Since it's always easier to brag, I've decided to write a column of 'Confessions', basically public admissions of how little I know about the NHL. This may undermine my credibility as a writer, but I just need to get these things off my chest. Come to me, sweet absolution!!!

So, I was wrong.

I thought the 2017-18 San Jose Sharks were primed for a step backwards, and after they dropped the first two games of the season, it appeared that I would be correct. However, the team has righted itself since then, in large part due to the efforts of Logan Couture and Martin Jones. Seeing younger leaders start to step makes me optimistic for the short-term future of the club, and perhaps beyond.

When I first heard that Joe Sakic was holding out for a king's ransom in return for Matt Duchene, I thought he was nuts. After all, here was a depreciating asset that clearly didn't want to be in Colorado, and by all accounts was turning into a cancer in the locker room. With each passing day I felt the return would get worse, and yet here we are in November, and Sakic just netted 3 players plus 3 picks for Duchene. Kudo's to him.

I was fairly convinced that the Edmonton Oilers would win the Pacific, and that the Montreal Canadians were not as bad as everyone thought. Well, the Oil are near last in the league, and the Habs are a mess. I'd bet on Edmonton bouncing back, but don't listen to me as I clearly know nothing!

Back in August I began to seriously root against the Arizona Coyotes. I don't like their GM, the league largesse in keeping them in the desert, or the way several pundits earmarked them as a team to watch. They seemed like the perfect foil to hate, but after 2 wins in 13 games it's clear they aren't worthy of my hate. Time to switch the focus back to LA.

Allow me to join the long line of people who thought Las Vegas wasn't going to be good this year. I know, they've mostly played at home and the adrenaline hasn't worn off yet, but it's impossible to say the Golden Knights haven't been successful. Watching them play, and the pure joy of their fanbase and players, has made me realize we all might be a little too jaded, and could benefit from just enjoying the greatest game on ice.

Finally, I was wrong about refereeing. I thought the players wouldn't, or couldn't, adjust to the new stick infraction and faceoff rules. But, over a month into the season I see signs of positive change in the game. Scoring chances are up, the excitement level has been increased, and everyone is slowly starting to get the idea that the stick isn't a weapon. It's made the game better, and I was wrong to doubt it. Now, if only we could do something about the size of goalie equipment… nah… that'll never happen…

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