Even after 35 seasons, I'm still thankful for what the NHL has to offer
Everyone is talking about how horrendous 2020 has been. Rightfully so.
The Allen family usually has a full boat on Thanksgiving. Like swallows who fly home to capistrano every year, my children return to our parcel in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Not this year. We decided as a family to play it safe. It’s the right thing to do.
But that doesn’t mean I still can’t be thankful to still have the NHL in my life:
I’m thankful for Connor McDavid’s speed, Alex Ovechkin’s shots, Matt Martin’s hits and the way Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper playfully jousts with the media.
I’m thankful that I’ve been paid to write about sports for more than 40 years.
I’m thankful for the way John Tortorellia cares, Scotty Bowman thinks, Jonathan Toews leads and how the selection of the anthem singer is a playoff tradition in Nashville.
I’m thankful for Bruce Cassidy’s coaching, Lou Lamoriello’s management, Eddie Olzyk analysis and for the fact that Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, 50, keeps himself in such exquisite shape that he could probably play three or four shifts if called upon.
I’m thankful that Mike Emrick gave us 47 years behind the microphone before he decided he and his bride Joyce needed time for themselves.
I’m thankful for Brian Boucher’s impressions, Marc Bergervin’s humor, Don Waddell’s stories and the fact Joe Thornton is still playing for the love of the game.
I’m thankful that my wife Terri has been ultra-supportive of my career. I’ve never heard her complain about my job.
I’m thankful for the Canadiens’ storied history, Golden Knights’ pre-game theatrics, the anthem in Chicago and every time I get to watch Sidney Crosby live in Pittsburgh.
I’m thankful that I’ve been a witness to the growth of women’s hockey in America. I saw a World Championship in the early years, and I was there in Nagano, Japan when they made their Olympic debut. I was in Korea in 2018. I can testify to how far women have come.
I’m thankful for Andrei Vasilevskiy’s resolve, Carter Hart’s bravado, Carey Price’s fire and the fact that Arizona Coyotes didn’t trade their best asset in Darcy Kuemper.
I’m thankful Rick Tocchet is coaching in Arizona. Entertaining man, quality coach. Hasn’t received enough attention for the job he’s done.
I’m thankful for Jim Nill’s class, Gord Miller’s wit, Henrik Lundqvist’s charm and the fact the New York Rangers’ rebuild is about 75% completed. Thank you, NHL draft lottery.
I’m thankful that Winnipeg hasn’t traded Patrik Laine. Unless he says he is unwilling to stay in Winnipeg, it would be a huge mistake to trade away that level of offensive talent.
I’m thankful for Shea Weber’s bomb, Nathan MacKinnon’s explosiveness, Torey Krug’s nuclear energy and Patrice Bergeron’s ability to pick up the pieces and play through all manner of injuries and obstacles.
I’m thankful that David Poiler has been taking my phone calls for more than 30 years.
I’m thankful for Jim Rutherford’s trades, Ken Holland’s optimism, Tyler Seguin’s friendliness and the fact the Ilitch family still owns the Detroit Red Wings. Some things shouldn’t change.
I’m thankful that beleaguered Buffalo landed Taylor Hall, Minnesota’s Bill Guerin is addressing the Minnesota Wild culture, Elvis hasn’t left the building in Columbus and that Zdeno Chara is still planning to play at age 44.
I’m thankful that I was able to see live hockey in Chicago Stadium, Montreal Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, Madison Square Garden, the Olympic and Boston Garden during the course of my career.
I’m thankful for Artemi Panarin’s consistency, Andre Svechnikov’s promise, Cale Makar’s sizzle and for all the offensive highlights Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman and Co. gave us this past season.
I’m thankful that Senators GM Pierre Dorion seems determined to turn around the Ottawa franchise, despite the fact that his owner is an impediment.
I’m thankful for Brian Burke’s bluster, Elias Pettersson’s luster, goals by the cluster and all of the playoff overtimes that you can muster.
I”m thankful for all of my readers who have kept me in business since the 1970s. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Play it safe this holiday.