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NHL Fan Dos and Don'ts for Preseason | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings signs autographs during the 2022 NHL Players Media Tour at Encore Las Vegas on September 15, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

I think Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin is taking notes on Sara Civian’s preseason dos and don’ts. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The 2022-23 season is just around the corner, with the NHL’s first official offseason in several years coming to an end.

The mood at this time of year is hard to beat, and the possibilities seem endless for your favorite players to return to town and see new faces.

Will this be the year your team lifts the Stanley Cup? Where in the world is Eric Johnson? Which new exciting line-up will the Vegas Golden Knights find a way to alienate?

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 10: Jack Eichel #9 and Alex Pietrangelo #7 of the Las Vegas Golden Knights react and Alex Touches #89 of the Buffalo Sabers at an NHL game at Keybank Center on March 10, 2022 Celebrate his empty net goal. Buffalo, New York. Buffalo won his 3-1 victory.

If history can tell us anything, it could be another tumultuous year in Vegas for Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo. (Bill Whippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not a bad thing to be pumped up for the season, but sometimes this excitement can overwhelm you during preseason and put too much energy into the wrong things.

One of the most interesting things I learned as a Beat reporter was how to approach preseason and get excited about the right things. So here are some tips for staying in top shape in life.

get to know the new star

Your team got one of the offseason’s hottest merchandise. That’s great, but any hockey fan who’s been through this in the last decade knows that the thrill comes with a cost.

The usual pundits don’t just start judging the moment the move becomes official, but soon everyone with a Wi-Fi connection suddenly sees the lifelong consequences of this player, team, and salary cap. Become an expert. This will be something we deal with to varying degrees throughout the season.

But what if we say that it’s only a fleeting period when the atmosphere surrounding this signing can be guaranteed to be almost entirely good? Time to simply enjoy the fact that this player is on the team and think about the possibilities do you have?

Welcome to preseason.

For one thing, this is when the team smacks you with endearing content about the player in question. They have him take mandatory selfie videos from his team’s Twitter account, attend local baseball games, and try local delicacies. Maybe he even gets his first paycheck without state income tax.

(Matthew Tkachuk, we’re watching you.)

Florida Panthers @Flappanthers

Welcome to South Florida,@tkachukycheese_ 😸

He loves it here and you love him too.

After on-ice work, we first see how the players really fit into the team. Coaches are reluctant to give returning cores significant time on ice (see more on that later). But his staff of coaching perform at the height of their rising stars, giving them a unique insight into the team’s thought process.

They’ll probably roll him out in a few lines to get a feel for multiple scenarios, and you should keep all those line combinations in mind, because they’re a new star if he starts to drop. After a month or two, it will become your go-to option.

But hey, don’t worry about slump just yet. Sit back and enjoy the shiny new additions.

Don’t over-analyze star players’ ice times

When I was covering the Carolina Hurricanes, a player asked me if I was planning to go to a preseason game. I said, “I think I’m missing preseason.” The player laughed, pointed at Sebastian Aho and said, “So does he.”

Aho is one of the most competitive players in the league. But there are several things at work here, and all of them are more important than winning games that don’t count.

MORRISVILLE, NC - JANUARY 5: Carolina Hurricanes left fielder Sebastian Ajo, 20, smiles during Carolina Hurricanes training camp on January 5, 2021 at the Wake Competition Center in Morrisville, NC. (Jaylynn Nash/ via Getty Images) Photo by Icon Sportswire)

Even the very competitive Sebastian Ajo gets easier in the preseason. (His Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Don’t expect your favorite player to get a lot of ice time during preseason games.

1. Coaches have to see where new stars fit in, but they usually know what returning stars have in store. The NHL season is a grueling season and we want to avoid fatigue as much as possible.

2. We also want to avoid unnecessary injury and wear and tear, especially if we expect to make the playoffs. What could be more unnecessary than a preseason injury suffered by his Tommy Tough Guy of the ECHL trying to make a name for himself and target your star his player?

3. The name of the core group preseason game is Conditioning. With the playoffs approaching overtime, the training camp bag skates are worth much more than top his players skating around Tommy Tough his guys.

Unfairly obsessed with a 4th liner you didn’t know existed a week ago

Think of a team depth chart. At this point the open space is probably at the bottom. The team spent the offseason tending to major needs, but now it’s time for a two-way deal and his PTO to vie for the remaining spots.

Preseason is more fun when you’re invested in the storyline and everyone loves underdogs. Maybe you have a really cute dog, or he went to your college, or he’s a Scorpio.Find random connections and let him root American (or should I say Canadian) Idol.

Don’t worry if your favorite preseason character is sent to the AHL. The last fringe he’s left on the roster he’s a player he’s one and if one or he can kill two penalties he’ll come back when the injury bug happens.

Don’t rush your star potential

Yes, it’s a good sign that the roster has started to decline and the 18-20 first round prize money is still at the main club.

No, that doesn’t mean he makes or should make the opening night roster.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 7: Shane Wright after being selected 4th overall by the Seattle Kraken during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft held at the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec on July 7, 2022 , posing for a portrait. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Shane Wright will be spending a lot of time on the Kraken ice this season, but there’s no need for other teams to rush top prospects. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Every year there are exceptions to this rule, especially in this age of skill and speed. But there is nothing wrong with patience and development. Think about it this way: Are players expected to play key roles on your team over-prepared or under-prepared?

The harm of rushing a player into the NHL is 99.9% of the time much worse than the harm of an extra development season. Especially given the past few years when the player has responded to his COVID-19 restrictions and the season has been cut short.

We know it’s tempting to call the head of the coach when he sends your favorite prospect back to the juniors. But in most cases, especially with competitors, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Beware of Special Teams

If you’re a seasoned hockey fan looking for a more advanced focus heading into the season, or you just want to look smart, then Special Teams is for you. I spent my time getting to the heart of the matter and attending several conferences.

Read up on various power play strategies (umbrella, overlord, 1-3-1) and pay attention to why and when coaches deploy them. Let’s take a look at the personnel in each unit and how the coaches decided to make substitutions. Become an expert in left and right handedness. It’s easier to focus now than it was in the middle of the season, and I can offer far better insights and suggestions than “fire the power play coach.”

Don’t let anyone tell you how to be a fan

Colorado Avalanche fans hold up replicas of the Stanley Cup during a rally outside the City/County Building for NHL Hockey Champions after parading through the streets of downtown Denver on Thursday, June 30, 2022.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AP Photo/David Zarbowski

The worst part of preseason is actually knowing everything that tells you it doesn’t matter. Life is short and hockey is the best. If the preseason makes you happy, it matters.