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NHL is Back! News and Notes on Ice for October 5, 2018

The National Hockey League is back! Take a look at some of the top news on ice:

Capitals Begin Title Defense With Rout

The Washington Capitals had an elaborate pregame celebration in advance of their season opener on Wednesday night. The ceremony was highlighted by the banner raising ceremony honoring last season’s Stanley Cup title. Washington then took the ice and dismantled the Boston Bruins, beating them by a score of 7-0. With the defeat, the Bruins have now lost 13 straight games against the Washington Capitals.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two power play goals in the victory, and the Capitals scored on three straight shots in the second period. It is interesting to note that former head coach Barry Trotz was not mentioned during the pregame ceremony, nor was shown during the video montage. Trotz stepped down from the team during the summer after leading the Capitals to the Stanley Cup.

Capitals Wilson Suspended 20 Games

The Washington Capitals will be without 24 year old Tom Wilson for the first twenty games of the 2018-19 season. Wilson was suspended for 20 games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit that took place during the preseason. The league ruled that Wilson made an illegal check to the head of Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during the team’s final preseason game.

This is the fourth time that Wilson has been suspended in the last 105 games, leading to the severity of this suspension. Several of Wilson’s teammates expressed their disappointment and disagreement with the NHL’s ruling.

Eichel Named Sabres Captain

The Buffalo Sabres announced that center Jack Eichel has been selected as captain of the team for the 2018-19 season. Eichel will become the 16th full-time captain in Buffalo Sabres team history, and the first since Brian Gionta. The Sabres had alternate captains the previous two seasons, but did not name a full-time captain. The 21-year old is entering his fourth season in the NHL, and has already become the franchise’s highest paid player. He has played in 209 career games with the Sabres, tallying 73 goals and 177 points during that span.

Korpisalo To Start For Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that goaltender Joonas Korpisalo will start the regular season opener on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Korpisalo went 8-8-1 with a 3.32 goals-against average a season ago. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella announced that Sergei Bobrovsky will start for Columbus in the home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. Bobrovsky is a two-time Vezina Trophy Winner, including winning the award a season ago.

Varlamov Set to Break Roy’s Record

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov will make team history on Thursday night when he starts in goal. It will be the eighth straight season in which Varlamov will start the season opener for the Avalanche, breaking Patrick Roy’s previous record of seven straight starts from 1996-2002. Newly acquired goaltender Philipp Grubauer is expected to start for the Avalanche at some point in the first three games of the season. Colorado acquired Grubauer from the Washington Capitals on June 22.

NHL Expansion Is Moving Forward

The National Hockey League has announced that they plan on moving forward with their plan of expansion to Seattle. The board of governors’ executive committee recommended the expansion, and the league is expected to vote and approve Seattle as the 32nd NHL franchise in December.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has an agreement in place with Seattle mayor, Jenny Durkan, to begin playing games in the city during the 2020-21 season. Renovations have already begun on KeyArena in downtown Seattle, and as long as they stay on schedule would be completed before the beginning of that season. The board is expected to meet on December 3 and 4, and a full proposal is expected to be made at that time. In order for the expansion to be approved by the league, it would require 24 votes of approval.

Adding Seattle to the league would once again create an equal balance of teams in the Eastern and Western conferences. The NHL expanded to 30 teams before the start of the 2000 season, and stayed at that number prior to last season. Las Vegas was introduced as the 31st NHL franchise last season, and made an impressive run to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season.