(Ed. Note: It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., a.k.a. “Real Thanksgiving”, which means it’s once again time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in the world of hockey. Here are the editors and writers from Puck Daddy and Yahoo Sports, offering their picks for this year. As always, we give thanks to you, the reader, for supporting this blog.)
Sean Leahy, Editor, Puck Daddy
Jaromir Jagr. He's ageless. He's going to play until he's 50. He's amazing. The fact that he started in the NHL in 1990 an is still scoring 20 goals a season 24 years later is a testament to his skill and dedication to the game of hockey. I hope he never retires.
Advanced stats. While I'm still educating myself in that world, to have statistics available (and still developing) that better analyze teams and players is a gift for hockey media and fans.
Hall of Famer Pat Burns. Finally.
Darryl Sutter. He once responded to a question of mine back in 2012 about if the Kings' scoring woes concerned him after a low-scoring, shootout loss. “Nobody died, and it's a hard-working point for our team." Just the best.
Andrei Nazarov. The KHL's craziest coach never ceases to amaze me. If I ever meet him I'll be sure to thank him for the hours of entertainment he's provided me.
Josh Cooper, Editor, Puck Daddy
Darryl Sutter and Dean Lombardi: For continuing hockey's oddest relationship, and succeeding in the process.
Ryan Suter's ability to play forever: Few blueliners have the slick all-around game like Suter. Even at the end of a long shift, it looks like he could go on for another minute.
Pekka Rinne's glove: The dude is essentially Ozzie Smith in goal. I've never seen a goaltender control the pace of the game like Rinne. When his team needs a rest, he can snuff out a play. It's good to see him healthy again.
Alexander Ovechkin: Love him, hate him ... when he's on, watching him is pure joy.
Ryan Lambert, Columnist, Puck Daddy
PK Subban: Now that Teemu Selanne is retired I don't know that there's anyone I will take more pleasure in watching just-play-hockey than Pernell Karl Subban. He is exciting on the ice, and seems to genuinely love the fact that he gets paid to play hockey. I really doubt he'll ever be as appreciated as he should be, but I love that you can watch him try to go through a whole team at least once a game, and succeed more often than not.
College hockey: I think I say this one every year, but I really do feel blessed to live in a place where I could drive to about 14 college hockey rinks in two hours or so, meaning that if I want to see any given team in the country, there's very little stopping me from doing so in any given year if the schedule lines up. I usually see about 60 or 70 games live per year, and that's something everyone should be able to experience.
The Maple Leafs and Oilers: You really couldn't find two more entertaining tire fires to write about at least once a month than the two currently raging in Toronto and Edmonton right now. Everything's wrong with them, no one acknowledges them, and everyone thinks it relates back to effort or something? I don't know but it sure is great to watch (unless you're a Leafs or Oilers fan in which case I'm very sorry).
Dmitry Chesnokov, Writer, Puck Daddy
Sochi: What I am thankful for the most this year is the opportunity of a lifetime the Yahoo family gave me this year - to cover my first Olympics that was held for the first time ever in my home country. Sochi2014 was an unforgettable experience, and I am thankful to Greg, Bob, Steve, Sam and everyone else who made it happen.
The Classic: I am thankful to the NHL for awarding the Winter Classic to DC, meaning I don't have to travel far for that. Although the way Russians celebrate every New Year means I may not even make it this year either.
Fancy Stats: I am thankful for hockey analytics for making me as confused as ever.
Jen Neale, Writer, Puck Daddy
Mumps: The only reason the Ducks really crappy play in November isn't being overly analyzed is because of the mumps outbreak.
Southern California: I can wake up in late November to sunshine, low 70's weather, and watch two of the better teams in the NHL compete on any given night. (My apologies to all those on the East Coast who hate me now.)
The sisterhood of traveling, pants-wearing, sports writers: We may not all agree with each other all the time, but we're out there making our voices heard. This is a huge step forward from even as recently as five years ago.
Jen Lute Costella, Analytics Columnist, Puck Daddy
Marian Hossa: The consummate hockey player. So many things about his game go largely unnoticed. He's a master and deserves far more praise and recognition than he gets.
Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk skating through the neutral zone: They are so dynamic and make watching hockey even more fun.
P.K. Subban: Not only is Subban fun to watch on the ice, but his off-ice personality is delightful. He's a terrific ambassador for the sport.
Mike Babcock: Not only could Babcock coach a team of 12 year olds into a playoff berth, but he's pretty entertaining to watch behind the bench and in interviews.
Hockey fans in non-traditional markets: Hockey fans in places where the climate seems non-conducive to the sport being played have to deal with mountains of ridicule. Every time they get on social media someone is taking a shot at their team's attendance or saying it should be moved. They continue to love the sport regardless of the garbage they have to put up with and I think that's pretty great.
Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist, Puck Daddy
Johnny Gaudreau and Johnny Klingberg: Two exciting, dazzling rookies who not only have the fantasy hockey world in a kerfuffle - but the real hockey world as well. They weren't the "expected" rookie studs, and it reiterates how difficult it is to project success in this sport.
Tampa Bay's run-and-gun: Steven Stamkos has almost been secondary, thanks to the emergence of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. With those guys forming the best second line in hockey right now, TB is on pace for 287 goals. Last year's top team had 267. This being a copycat league, the fantasy owner in me wishes nothing but success for this high-flying, high-scoring squad.
The New York Islanders: For reminding us that long, patient rebuilding really can (eventually?) work. Just take the expected rebuild time, add five years, multiply that subtotal by two and 'voila', you have the formula for how many years you need to wait for a rebuild to bear fruit. Okay Edmonton?
Nick Cotsonika, Columnist, Yahoo Sports
Freedom: A generation of hockey fans has grown up taking for granted that the NHL has the world's best players. But Viktor Tikhonov's death this week reminded us that the NHL did not have some of the world's best players for a long time. Some fought to leave the Soviet Union, like Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov. Some defected, like Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny. Others never had the chance. Today, a few are overseas, like Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov, but most are in North America. And wherever they are, they are by choice.
Gordie Howe: Mr. Hockey had a serious stroke, and his condition has been up and down since. He is recuperating at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas. We can appreciate him while he's still here, and he can feel some of the love. When the Detroit Red Wings saluted him and fans stood holding signs -- "Get well, Gordie" -- the family recorded it and played it over and over again for him to raise his spirits.
Youth hockey: I have two young sons, one of whom plays mini-mites. I asked them to help me with this. These were their rapid-fire responses: "Shooting." "Passing." "Playing goalie." "The love of the game." Never forget why you love hockey in the first place.
Greg Wyshynski, Editor, Puck Daddy
This week’s Wysh List was dedicated to what I’m thankful for in hockey, so just push play to hear mine.
But I’ll add one more to the pot: I’m thankful for every hockey fan that hits us up on Twitter or email or through the podcast or on Reddit or, yes, even in the Puck Daddy comments for adding to the conversation. Agree, disagree, love, hate, what have you, that you actually take the time to communicate some thought about our work makes all of this worth our efforts. It’s an honor to do this job on a daily basis, and it’s an honor to provide you with whatever you take from it. Truly, thanks for reading.