Hitting the Ice

What the new season of the NHL will look like

Photo by Sami Bowlin

With the start of the New Year, there are many things to look forward to in 2021. One of those being the start of the National Hockey League (NHL) season. On Jan. 13, 2021, the new season commenced with COVID-19 restrictions in place. In a normal season, the first games would be played in October but due to the pandemic the 2020 season ended in September. Along with this exciting news it was also announced that the St. Louis Blues will be playing in a new division.

Like any sport during this time, this season will look a little different than years past. Daily COVID-19 tests are given to players and their health is monitored to ensure that everyone stays safe according to nhl.com. When the pandemic first started it was in the middle of the 2019-2020 NHL season causing a shut down of the sport. Once NHL officials deemed it appropriate to begin play again, the players had to adapt to these new restrictions. Since a vast majority of current NHL players had to play in the last season, it is expected that this season will go more smoothly because players know what to expect.

With all of these changes, there is also a change in division for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are now in what is known as the West Division. They will play against Las Vegas, San Jose, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Colorado, Arizona and Anaheim according to ksdk.com. Some are excited for this change because they will be playing teams they normally do not have the opportunity to in a normal season. However, some are complaining about the start times of the games because of how late they will be due to time zone differences.

“Personally, I do not like the new division,” junior Nicholas Chapman said. “I liked the old rivalries that the Blues had in their previous division. For example, the Blues vs. Predators, Blues vs. Stars, and the Blues vs. Blackhawks. But, with a new division comes new rivalries and the Blues vs. Sharks could potentially be a new rivalry that will be fun to watch.”

Along with these changes there is a change in leadership. The St. Louis Blues have a new captain of the team for the first time in four years. Ryan O’Reilly was announced captain of the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23, 2020. He is the 23rd captain in the Blues franchise taking over Alex Pietrangelo’s spot.

“I believe that Ryan O’Reilly will push the team in the direction they need to go as the new captain,” Chapman said.