Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What to watch for as the regular season resumes

Hey, do you remember the NHL regular season? It’s just like all that Olympic hockey you spent the last few weeks watching, except with smaller rinks. And more teams. And way fewer star players per team. And a lot less at stake. And … you know what, it’s really nothing like Olympic hockey.

But it’s all we’ve got for the next two months, and at least we don’t have to wake up early to watch it. So to help you get back in the groove for the return of the season tonight, here are 10 key story lines to pay attention to over the rest of the year.

Next Week’s Trade Deadline

In a league in which major trades are becoming increasingly rare, the deadline has gradually morphed from must-see TV into an annual disappointment. But there are at least some signs that this year’s deadline, which arrives next Wednesday, could be different. Some major names are expected to move, including Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, Islanders sniper Thomas Vanek, and Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

And in recent days, a surprising new name has surfaced: Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis. Last year’s Art Ross winner doesn’t fit the typical trade deadline pattern, since he’s not an expiring deal and he plays for a quasi contender. But there have been reports that he asked for a trade after Tampa GM Steve Yzerman originally left him off Team Canada (he was later named as an injury replacement), and he’s been linked to the Rangers in a possible Callahan swap.

That deal doesn’t seem to make much sense, but that St. Louis’s name is being thrown around at all offers some hope that this year’s deadline might be the first one in years that ends up being worth calling in sick for. Uh, not that any hockey fans do that.

>> Read the full post on Grantland

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