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Three Things We Learned From Week 1 of the 2021-22 NHL Season

If you wanted excitement, you certainly were rewarded during the first week of the brand new season. Here are three of the biggest things we learned to kick off the 2021-22 campaign.
Connor McDavid

The NHL's return was a much welcome one and the first week of the new season certainly did not disappoint on both sides of the border. Some of the biggest draws in the league were in the spotlight while the next chapter in hockey broadcasting in America left a great first impression. 

The Edmonton Oilers are entertaining on and off the ice 

We're just two games into the NHL season and, in many aspects, the Oilers are showing people why they should be on your radar.

Connor McDavid had a hat trick on Saturday night, much to the dismay of his Battle of Alberta rivals at the other end. Leon Draisaitl's scoring touch has been on display and newcomers Derek Ryan and Zach Hyman have slotted in nicely into their roles.

Jesse Puljujärvi has also continued to become one of the more beloved faces on the franchise. Puljujärvi has scored in both games this year, and his personality has shone through in a big way.

Edmonton's press conference room has a street view, so fans are able to watch the interviews during media availabilities. With fans chanting and cheering outside, Puljujärvi would turn to wave to the fans. When asked if the screaming crowd was his fan club, his reply of "yes, I heard something" would bring laughter to the assembled media. 

Winning early obviously can bring out the joy and personality, but the Finnish winger has by far so far led the way with how much personality he has and showing how comfortable he is right now in Edmonton. 

It's going to be a tough task to stop the defending champs - even with injuries

Keeping the Tampa Bay Lightning down for two games in a row will truly be a tough task. After their season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Lightning looked to be in trouble once again being down to the rebuilding Red Wings 6-3 in the third. But Tampa Bay would storm back to tie things up at six, with Ondřej Palát getting the overtime winner for a stunning 7-6 victory. 

Even with the news that Nikita Kucherov will miss time due to a lower-body injury, there's enough firepower for Jon Cooper's team. We know what this team is capable of without Kucherov, so if you're expecting a dropoff from the Lightning, you may be a tad bit disappointed. 

TNT and ESPN are putting in an effort NBC did not do 

America's new hockey partners are off to a flying start, and you can't help but notice how much they've taken their broadcasts to the next step compared to NBC's offering over the past decade.

ESPN has created multiple hockey discussion shows such as The Point, The Drop and they've picked some of the wisest voices in the sport such as Emily Kaplan, Kevin Weekes, and Linda Cohn to be faces of their in-game broadcasts. 

The NHL on TNT, while not going fully in the route of the NBA on TNT, has shown early that they're not afraid to have a little bit of fun. NBA legend Charles Barkley was a part of their first game night broadcast, chatting with Wayne Gretzky and heckling him about his first career fight. 

Watching Barkley trying to figure out how to put on a blocker and catching mitt was great content as well as the Great One firing shots on Barkley. The network also has the brilliant Kenny Albert on play-by-play and panelists such as Gretzky, Anson Carter, and Rick Tocchet. The contributor team of TNT is also impressive, with the likes of Tarik-El Bashir and Jackie Redmond joining broadcasts. 

Turner is also integrating Bleacher Report into their hockey coverage via their Open Ice verticle which will see content generated by popular NHL streamer Andrew "Nasher" Telfer. Both networks are off an impressive start as the new arms for American hockey coverage. 

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