Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Friedman on early-season jitters

10/18/2017 at 12:18pm EDT

Among Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":

There’s a GM who has one of the best lines I’ve ever heard about life in sports: “There are only two moods — winning and hell.”

In conversations over the last week, one theme stood out: This league is tense.

“Well, it’s always tense,” one executive laughed. “But even more than normal for this early.”

Various coaches, players, execs and media said they could see it in places like Arizona (winless after some good summer moves), Boston (injuries and a slow start, despite talented young players), Minnesota (injuries and expectation), Montreal (losses and intense local pressure), New York Rangers (roster in transition), Vancouver (attendance), Washington (organizational pressure) and Winnipeg (rough start before three straight wins).

Watching the Rangers’ last two games, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alain Vigneault look so stressed. Until their young prospects — Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil — are ready, they’ll be thin at centre. And in the Metropolitan division, it’s very hard to win like that as Pittsburgh proved on Tuesday night.

I’m sure it’s similar in other sports, but one of the biggest changes over the years is the decrease in early-season optimism. It used to last 10 games. Not anymore. I’m not one to complain about the stresses of my job; I always think of Hyman Roth in Godfather II: “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

But pro sports takes its toll, and you can already see it.

Friedman continues at length...

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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