The phrase “hot take,” represents a few things these days. To me, it’s still best defined as something that could happen, but isn’t particularly likely to happen.

For reference, if you were to predict any team that landed in the 2021-22 regular season top five as this year’s Stanley Cup Champion, I’d call that a cold take. If you were to predict any of the bottom five this year’s Stanley Cup Champion, I’d consider that a scorching take.

Takes, of course, exist on a spectrum, and you can always tell the difference between a hot take that someone genuinely believes, and a hot take born for the purpose of being a hot take.

With that said, I like to think of my “hot takes” on a scale from one to five fire emojis. One is a relatively mild take that is debatable, five is something I think most people would disagree with. All takes from 1-5 need to be things I genuinely believe, though.

Without further ado, here are my most passionate hot-but-real takes headed into the 2022-23 season


The Ottawa Senators make the playoffs

The Ottawa Senators have been going through one of the most bizarrely manufactured quasi-rebuilds ever since their last playoff appearance in 2017. You know it’s bad when the only reason I’m even referring to it as an intentional rebuild is because at this time last year, GM Pierre Dorion publicly declared that not only was a rebuild happening, but that the rebuild was already over.

Spoiler alert: It was not. The Senators ended the season 26th in the league.

At least while the NHL club was falling apart through no fault of the players still left, the organization was building a pipeline of some pretty exciting potential stars. And would you look at that, the Senators gave up one of their favorite stars–cap space–and had one of the strongest off-seasons in the league, acquiring Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat and Cam Talbot among others.

Is the rebuild actually over now?

I’m not totally sure, and I will never claim to understand the inner workings of the Ottawa Senators, but things are looking good.

Heat check: 1.5 flame emojis  (editor's note: just imagine a half-flaming emoji with this one)


Coyotes University isn't an absolute dumpster fire

Listen, the fact that the Arizona Coyotes will spend at least the next few years playing in a college hockey arena with a 5,000-person capacity is an objective failure on multiple levels.

But we get it at this point.

We’ve read all the think pieces, tweeted all our jokes and rolled our eyes at the Canadian media’s pearl-clutching relocation columns.

Now that we’ve accepted the reality of the situation, we can make the best of it. I don’t know about you, but I fell in love with this sport growing up around Boston going to college hockey games. There’s nothing like a tightly packed arena full of a few thousand people who actually want to be there. It kind of feels like one of the best-kept secrets you didn’t even realize you were in on.

Not only could the close-knit environment inspire some young Arizonians to get into the sport, but it might give a team dealing with quite a few setbacks a reason to wake up every morning and try.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to attend a hockey game at a place called Mullett Arena?

Heat check: 4 flame emojis