Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports

EP Rinkside 3 Stars: Tons of fun

I honestly thought about not doing the Three Stars today because, like, it's been three days.

But then I thought, "No, one star for each day of the season. That works."

And it's been nice so far. Four different players have four points (three of them are Canucks!), two goalies already have a shutout, there have been two hat tricks. A wonderful start to the season. A beautiful kiss from the sport of hockey for you all.

You deserve to know the Three Stars.

Let's go:

3. The beautiful Canucks

God, what team is more entertaining than the Vancouver Canucks? They not only humiliated a highly regarded division rival on opening night, but they are also already embroiled in two separate personnel issues.

Before the season even started, it turned out Conor Garland had permission to find a suitable trade destination through his new agent, and the rumour emerged that they maybe aren't so hot on Elias Pettersson being extended there because he wants to take a wait-and-see approach.

Then those guys go out and absolutely fry the Edmonton Oilers. Not that you want to be making any hard and fast decisions based on one game or even 10 or 15, but like, can you imagine if the Canucks trade Pettersson because it's like January and they're still a couple points out of a playoff spot? Why would anyone else want to stick around there?

Now, the counterargument to that is obviously that even with Pettersson, they're not really a playoff team in any real sense, but the fact is that ownership has an allergy to appearing to actively rebuild, and so it feels as though to let him walk, trade him in season for a mix of futures and lower-end NHL talent, or try to "make a hockey trade" with a team willing to do a like-for-like money swap to get a decent if overpaid player.

Garland, I mean, he's good but the cap situation in the league right now has a ton of teams dressing fewer players than they would like (including Vancouver), or carrying fewer players on the NHL roster than the max of 23. Don't imagine that's an issue that'll clear up anytime soon. And if the Canucks have to eat money to get rid of Garland, why bother doing the deal at all?

Unless he really wants out, which is possible, the fact is that no one is gonna leap at the chance to take on a player who a team that's finished where the Canucks have the last few seasons don't seem to have a lot of time for. A little inducement might move the needle, sure, but now we're once again talking about Vancouver trading picks. No idea why they would want to do that, except that obviously they really seem to like doing it.

It's important to have passions in your life.

2. Bedardamania

Lots of push and pull about how much attention Connor Bedard — one of the most hyped prospects in the 15 or so years I've been covering the league — has gotten in his first two games.

Both games were on national TV. Both were against what you'd call "marquee" franchises of the 21st century. Both featured him doing a hell of a lot out there.

And if you don't get why the league's media partners, not to mention the league itself, are doing this, I don't know what anyone can do to help you understand it.

Team sport, logo on the front is more important than the name on the back, etc. etc. etc. But c'mon, man. You don't have to act like you're mystified by it.

I definitely think they don't need to cut to him every time he takes a sip of Biosteel (RIP!!!) on the bench, but yeah, I mean, watch this kid play. It's only two games and I don't want to start screaming that he's living up to the hype or anything like that, because man, it's two games. But he's getting almost 22 minutes a night already, he's got two points, he's running at almost 58 percent of the expected goals despite seeing a lot of Sidney Crosby and Brad Marchand, and the fact that Chicago hasn't scored on the power play yet is the only reason we're not seeing people unironically ask if he can push Connor McDavid for the Hart.

Would it kill this kid to get out on the penalty kill though? Sheesh. He'll never win the Selke at this rate.

1. Victory laps

Most teams have a game under their belts at this point and, heck, some even have two, and already we're starting to see some strong opinions come out about what's wrong with Team X in their loss to Team Y. Auston Matthews is back! Erik Karlsson isn't working in Pittsburgh! The Oilers' defence is a disaster! Colorado looks unbeatable!

I love it.

Not only because it's based on a single game, but a single game at the very beginning of a season. Who on earth is going to remember the results of an opening-night game for the Oilers when the most likely outcome is that they run away with the Western Conference? If anything, once they do that — or even if they merely become "very good," which kind of feels like the floor for them — we will look back and laugh at this hilarious game in which they gave up eight goals. If we're really lucky, it'll even turn into one of those "this was the moment the team came together" narratives, but you usually don't get those until at least January.

And look, I'm just as guilty as anyone. As a guy who just five days ago wrote a take that basically said, "Jack Campbell? Good luck with that, bud," I had to lean back in my chair with my hands behind my head to celebrate a job well done. Nailed it. Couldn't have gone better from that perspective if I tried. Now, the aspect of my take that they should absolutely have been starting Stuart Skinner kinda went sideways very quickly, so you can't win 'em all.

But wins and losses this early in the season? Like I said, who's gonna remember them in April?

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This article is about:
NHL Chicago Blackhawks Vancouver Canucks NHL Connor Bedard Jack Campbell Elias Pettersson
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