Matthews and McDavid shine as the NHL season commences
By Erik Pinto, Contributor
Come mid-October, Canadians across the country begin to brace themselves for the gruelling winter season. They bring out their fluffy sweaters, wool mittens, and dust off their skates, because it’s hockey season again in Canada. Last week we saw the promising future kick off the beautiful Canadian game.
Hockey season for Canadians began in our nation’s capital, where the Ottawa Senators took on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The matchup is a classic rivalry that spans back to the inception of the sport. But on this night, it wasn’t about the Sens or the Leafs, it was about a rookie making his NHL debut. His name is Auston Matthews, and if you didn’t know the name before last week, you do now.
The highly touted first overall pick in the most recent rookie draft managed to net four goals in his first NHL game. A remarkable achievement that even current NHL great Sidney Crosby himself did not accomplished. However, despite Matthew’s miraculous four-goal effort, the Leafs still ultimately found a way to pick up the overtime loss, falling 5–4.
With this performance, the Phoenix native put himself on the map, showing not only his prowess around the net, but also his high level of maturity despite his young age. His leadership comes as an asset to a Maple Leaf’s group that has been struggling to find their identity.
Meanwhile, across the country in Alberta, the opening ceremony of the newly constructed Rogers Place in Edmonton was commencing. The stadium cost nearly half a billion dollars and was built to accommodate the hometown Oilers. It compliments a fan base that is hopeful that this year’s Oilers team will be on the winning side. The festivities began with all-time great Mark Messier and none other than Wayne Gretzky skating around the brand new rink, leaving the puck to the next generation of Oilers.
As the face of the franchise and newly-captained 19-year-old Connor McDavid took to the ice, a new era in Edmonton began. The era looks promising as the team went about making some major changes in the offseason, acquiring protection and grit to surround McDavid. This was evident as the puck was dropped and the Oilers squad came out, laying some brutal hits and firing on all cylinders. They ultimately beat their Albertan rivals, the Calgary Flames, 7–4. McDavid lead the scoreboard with two goals and an assist.
As Matthews and McDavid shine upon the return of hockey, the expectations upon them will be immense. Regardless of if the two 19-year-olds live up to them, it is certain that the future of hockey is gleaming with promise and prosperity.