The Columbus Blue Jackets are on a bye week, and it’s boring already. The team doesn’t play again until Tuesday, January 29th and that is just lame. While the players surely appreciate the bye, fans cannot enjoy going nearly two full weeks without seeing their team on the ice (especially Blue Jackets fans, who may spend the entire bye on Artemi Panarin Watch).
But! The entire league is not on a bye - there’s still some fun hockey games being played this week, so let’s take a look at a fun game each day of the rest of the by to get your hockey fix in and highlight some other teams playing good hockey this season.
Tuesday, January 22
Last year’s Stanley Cup champions host one of the favorites for this year’s Cup in a star-studded matchup. Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns will be challenged to shut down the high flying Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. After a slow start to the season, the Sharks have jumped into the race for the Pacific Division while the Capitals are challenging the Blue Jackets for the Metro crown.
Look for a high-flying, goal scoring game in the nation’s capital.
Wednesday, January 23
After an injury plagued start to the season, the Nashville Predators have surged to second place in the Central Division, hot on the heels of the Winnipeg Jets for control of the division. Viktor Arvidsson recently recorded a hat trick (on National Hat Day) in a 7-2 thrashing of the Capitals. Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights also sit on more than 60 points and have begun to find the form that led them to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
This game could serve as a preview of the Western Conference Finals.
Thursday, January 24
No NHL games scheduled. But!
Penn State at Michigan in NCAA Hockey takes place. If you would like to cheer against both teams (join me in doing so), it would be a fun opportunity to get your hate-watching fill for the week in since the Pittsburgh Penguins do not play this week.
Friday, January 25
Okay, here we come to my biggest problem with the NHL All Star Game - they killed the best event! Remember the All Star draft, where half the players appeared to be ... under the influence and Alex Ovechkin was raising hell because he wanted to be picked last so he could get a car?
This was so fun, so of course the league killed it. Gary Bettman, man.
Instead, fans get:
NHL Skills Competition
9:00 - NBCSN
The premier event of All Star Weekend takes place on Friday night as the All Stars get together for the Skills Competition. Fans will be able to see the best the NHL has to offer, including homegrown Jackets Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson, showcasing their skills in a myriad of challenges.
Since this is not an actual game setting, players not only give their best effort in the challenges but players are able to interact and chirp one another during the competitions, all for the entertainment of the fans.
Saturday, January 26
NHL All Star Game
8:00 - NBC
I mean, sure. It’s the All Star Game, it’s there, it’s 3 on 3, and the Pacific Division will probably win since it has in two of the three since the format was changed. But, still, Blue Jackets fans will be able to cheer on Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson as they attempt to take down the
Toronto Maple Leafs Atlantic Division All Stars. Cam and Seth have been rockstars for the Blue Jackets in overtime this season, can the lead the Metro to the championship of the game?
Sunday, January 27
There’s no hockey at all today. No NCAA, no NHL (since the NHL decided to put the best event on late Friday night and the All Star Game on Saturday night). So, what to do instead?
If you live near a Chiller facility, public skate is offered from 1:30 to 3:30. Get out and skate with friends and family!
Monday, January 28
New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 - ATTSN-PT
The Devils are terrible on the road this season, and the Penguins have been hot of late. However, with both teams coming off of a long break, the Devils have an unlikely opportunity to steal points on the road in Pittsburgh. If the Devils can even prevent the Penguins from picking up one of two, it would be a major boon to the Blue Jackets and a nice way to welcome the boys back on Tuesday night.
There you are hockey fans! What are you most excited for over the next week?