ANALYSIS: Prolific off-season for many NHL teams already

The Stanley Cup final begins Saturday … finally. And let’s face it, I don’t think it was a match-up many of us had in mind way back in October.

Once the series starts, I suspect we will enjoy a series full of great stories, some really hard-hitting, some pretty good goaltending — and two coaches that love to talk.

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As we watch the last two teams standing, the commissioner will have his annual state of the league press conference hours before Game 1. The NHL is full of a ton of stories, which will make this off-season one of the most prolific in recent memory, and it’s many of those stories that have kept Canadians interested in the NHL.

We’ve already seen changes in some cities, like Craig Conroy in Calgary, Brad Treliving in Toronto, and Kyle Dubas to Pittsburgh. It’s kind of like a grown-up game of musical chairs, isn’t it?

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On top of that, the Rangers, Blue Jackets, Ducks, and Flames are looking for coaches, and Andrew Brunette is the new bench boss in Nashville, where he once played. And what of Joel Quenneville? Will he be allowed back into the NHL fold this summer — and are a few of those teams without a coach just waiting for that word?

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All of these changes have taken place in the last six weeks — that is, since the playoffs have begun. The changes have kept hockey in the news for teams not in the post-season. Some of those stories are more compelling than the games themselves.

Then there are two teams in limbo. New ownership in Ottawa is just around the corner, with four groups putting in binding offers to purchase the team from the Melnyk family for a rumoured $1 billion. Then there’s the Coyotes … the darn Coyotes. We know they are committed to playing in that 5,000-seat arena for one more season, but what then? Don’t expect a definitive answer from Mr. Bettman on Saturday, but try to read between the lines.

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One thing’s for sure: this league is never boring, on and off the ice.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on Winnipeg Jets future after first-round loss'
John Shannon on Winnipeg Jets future after first-round loss

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