The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
It took a long 16 hour negotiating session in New York yesterday, but the NHL and NHLPA hashed out an agreement in principle around 6 a.m. today.
The NHL did not announce the start date of the season or the number of games each team will play, but it is expected to be a 48 or 50 game season starting on either January 15 or January 19 with teams only playing within their respective conferences. The Bolts had January 15, 17 and 19 as scheduled home games, thus it is a good bet that they will open the season at the Forum.
The new CBA still has to be drafted and ratified by both sides. It is for ten years with an eight year opt-out.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has signed a contract with Barys Astana of the KHL. The big Swede is the first Bolts player to decide to play in Europe during the lockout. The 21 year old blue liner had five goals and 18 assists in 61 games with Tampa Bay last season. (Hedman photograph/Linda Hamilton)
Teams in the KHL can sign up to three NHL players at a maximum of 65% of their NHL salary during the lockout. Barys has also signed Winnipeg Jets center Nik Antropov.
Should the lockout continue, expect Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis to take their talents overseas. Both have had preliminary talks with European teams.
The players union seems steadfastly united as 250-300 members are expected to meet in New York, today and tomorrow. Lightning players planning on attending are Adam Hall, Nate Thompson, Mathieu Garon, BJ Crombeen, Brian Lee, Matt Carle and Marc-Andre Bergeron.
The NHL and the NHLPA have plans to meet this morning at 10:00 a.m. despite still remaining far apart. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, the lockout will officially start at midnight on Sunday.
The Lightning players are preparing for a work stoppage. In that case, they will not be able to enter the Tampa Bay Times Forum or any other team facility.
Here are some Hockey Bay tidbits to hold you over until training camp opens…hopefully.
An NHL work stoppage is nearing reality as the September 15 deadline is fast approaching. A group of Lightning players continue to work towards the scheduled September 21 training camp opening, assembling most mornings at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, Florida for informal practice. Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Adam Hall, Eric Brewer, Marc-Andre Bergeron, BJ Crombeen, Sami Salo, Mathieu Garon, Dmitri Korobov and free agent Brett Clark are regulars at the morning skates.
These union members are upset that the basis of the league's proposal cuts the players' share of hockey-...
The Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to snap a 6 game losing streak on the road as they travelled to the American Airlines Center to take on the Stars. The tough times continued for the Stars as they were without their top 2 centreman in Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro. Drifting in and out of the playoff spots everyday, the Stars would have been aiming for 2 points going into the game as they were taking on a struggling Lightning side.
The game lacked any sort of flow early on, but Sheldon Souray woke the crowd up with a shot that rattled the iron behind Mathieu Garon in the Lightning net. The first period turned out to be all about Kari Lehtonen, the Stars goaltender, as he produced a ...
When the New York Islanders last welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning to Nassau Coliseum, it took just 36 seconds for them to establish their lead and roll to a 5-1 victory.
On Tuesday night, the Islanders allowed Tampa to score first, but the result would end up exactly the same.
Al Montoya, whose fine play has been carrying the Isles of late (with his 2.17 Goals Against Average and .931 save percentage coming in to the contest) started in goal. The Islanders faced Mathieu Garon in the other end.
Though they fired the first five shots of the game, none got past Garon. When Tampa Bay was able to get their first shot on net, a blast from the stick of Brett Clark near the point, Martin St. Louis redirected it past Montoya for his 800th career NHL point.
The Flyers kick off their three game road trip in sunny Florida tonight when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 PM. Philly is off to their best road start since 1993-94 season and will face a tough challenge tonight as Tampa is 4-1 at home and have won 6 of their last 8 games.
Preview: Islanders (1-1-0, 2 pts, 4th in Atlantic, 11th in East)
The Islanders are coming off of a pair of games in which they have failed to put together 60 good minutes of hockey. A disappointing performance against the Panthers on Saturday was followed up by one good period and two "hang on for dear life" periods in Monday's matinee against the Wild. As discussed in Rob McGowan's post here at The Checking Line on Tuesday, New York's young forward unit is having difficulty getting pucks to the net. Rob also keys in on the Isles' difficulty staying out of the box through 120 minutes of competition. Against the highly skilled a...
Any casual sports fan would think that Montreal's hockey team is named the Canadiens because they are Canada’s team, or that they have fans all across Canada. To be honest, only the last statement is true.
Les Habitants have always spelled Canadiens with an ‘E’ , so maybe that should give some the idea that the team itself doesn’t represent all of Canada. For now, the team represents all of Quebec, whether it be English or French, Catholic or Jewish. I say for now, because even the most die hard fan of the Habs cannot wait for the return of the Quebec Nordiques.
So understanding that the Montreal Canadiens are as ...