With Lord Stanley’s Cup spending the offseason in Las Vegas, the NHL is poised for its slickest season yet.
With young stars like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and NHL 24 cover boy Cale Makar all hitting their stride, the league is filthy with electrifying young talent. The league’s newest teams —the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken—look to build off of last season’s successes. Established powerhouses like the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins are looking to get back on track after shocking playoff exits.
This mix of old and new, tradition and revolution, comes to a head in 2023. Here’s a preview of the upcoming season and everything you need to know to watch NHL hockey on DISH.
How to Watch NHL Hockey on DISH
If you’re a hockey diehard, your best option is to subscribe to NHL Center Ice. For just $70 per season (which can be paid in two installments of $35), you will get access to every out-of-market NHL game. And if you’re out of your own home market on a business trip or vacation, you can still watch all of the action with the DISH Anywhere app. For more information and to order NHL Center Ice, follow this link!
If you’re more of a casual fan, nationally-televised NHL games during the regular season are split between three networks: TNT, ESPN, and NHL Network. TNT has the rights to 62 regular season games, most of which air during a Wednesday night doubleheader; TNT will also air a Thanksgiving double-header, and the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. ESPN games will mostly air on Tuesdays. Some of the weekend ESPN broadcasts are elevated to ABC, which you can watch with Sling Blue in select markets. ESPN will also broadcast this year’s All-Star Weekend, as well as the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. TBS and ESPN are included in most DISH packages; to watch NHL Network, add the Multi-Sport Pack to your DISH subscription.
When are the Outdoor Games and All-Star Break?
There will be more outdoor games than ever this season. The first takes place later this month when the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames face off in the Heritage Classic from Commonwealth Stadium (home to the CFL’s Edmonton Elks) on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Jan. 1 Winter Classic will be played at T-Mobile Stadium in Seattle when the Kraken take on the Vegas Golden Knights. Then on Feb. 17 and 18 a historic first from NYC’s MetLife Stadium: The New Jersey Devils will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night, followed by a game between the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers the next day. According to ESPN, “The event will mark the first time four NHL teams have played outdoor games at the same venue in front of fans.”
As for All-Star Weekend, that will take place at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Feb. 2 and 3.
Rebound or Regress?
Last season, the Boston Bruins set NHL records for most regular season wins (65) and points (135). Then they lost to the Florida Panthers in the first round. It was the kind of shocking loss that inspires a team to rebound—like the Tampa Bay Lightning when they followed a stunning first round sweep by the Blue Jackets with back-to-back championships—or fold completely. Unfortunately, the Bruins will also have to contend with the loss of centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, both of whom retired in the offseason.
Boston isn’t the only team looking to bounce back. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2022, the Colorado Avalanche were eliminated by the Kraken in the first round last season; with some of the league’s most talented players on their roster, the Avs need to capitalize while their title window is still open. The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their nearly 20-year drought without winning a playoff series last year, but they let celebrated GM Kyle Dubas walk. Dubas ended up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he promptly brought in Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson; Toronto hired former Flames GM Brad Treliving. With their fates intertwined, it will be fascinating to see how those two legendary clubs perform this season.
Players Who Slid to a New Team
Karlsson wasn’t the only big name on the move in the offseason. Major trades and signings include:
- The Kings acquiring center Pierre-Luc Dubois from Winnipeg.
- Calgary’s Tyler Toffoli getting traded to the Devils.
- Colorado getting Nashville center Ryan Johansen.
- Blake Wheeler signing with the Rangers.
- Tyler Bertuzzi joining the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal.
- Former St. Louis Blues star Ryan O’Reilly signing a four-year deal with the Predators.
Don’t Sleep on Bedard
All eyes will be on the debut of No. 1 overall draft pick Connor Bedard at the start of the regular season. The Chicago Blackhawks seem to have no intention of keeping their prized pick anywhere but on United Center ice this season. Bedard has already shown his skills this preseason, with one goal and four assists for five points, which led the team. The 18-year-old has been the talk of the town since what seems like the day he was born, and given his outstanding performance in junior hockey, many players, coaches, and analysts have not held back in predicting his success in the league. With the addition of Corey Perry, Taylor Hall, and Nick Foligno, the Blackhawks hope to rebuild with a star cast and pave the way for the future.
A high bar has been set for the rookie on top of the weight of the franchise on his shoulders, but from the looks of it, Connor Bedard is up for the challenge and is sure to entertain, even if you are not a Chicago fan. – Mari Dietz