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.
With the NHL 2012-13 lockout finally over and the players in the process of ratifying the new CBA as of yesterday it appears that the beginning of the 2012 - 2013 NHL season is only days away. The league is set to begin on Saturday January 19th, 2013 and although the official schedule is not out many reports have leaked that the New York Islanders will host the New Jersey Devils on opening day.
Here is what the Islanders' lineup could look like come the beginning of this shortened season. (Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek)
Hockey will finally resume on January 19, but the talks concerning a certain letter in the alphabet has already begun for the Flyers.
Chris Pronger is nowhere nearing a return to the ice. And with his retirement inevitable - but not official due to his contract - the designated captain slot will remain vacant until the Flyers decide to finally fill the void.
Three names have been on the lips of fans during the 2011-12 season: veterans Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen, and the young leader of the team, Claude Giroux. Only one of those players has remained a hot topic for the captaincy and it's the one who many around the NHL view to be the future of the Flyers and the league.
Sam Carchidi threw up a tweet that shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone. Giroux's best friend and locker room leader Scott Hartnell said that "Giroux is ready to be captain."
With the lockout occupying the minds of hockey fans everywhere, everyone forgets about some of the events from this last summer. Those events may have changed the landscape of the NHL and created a new super power in the divisions. With two of the biggest and most questionable contracts ever given out, the Minnesota Wild jumped from a defensive and boring team in the bottom of the Western Conference to a potential top contender. While the Edmonton Oilers saw all of their amazing youngsters get to play together in the AHL. Vancouver is still the team they have be...
With news of Brian Burke’s dismissal fully digested, the watchful gaze of the hockey world turn on newly-appointed general manager Dave Nonis and the direction of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Since his hiring in 2008, Burke had opted for a fast-track rebuild in an attempt to stockpile prospects and draft picks while competing for the playoffs every season. Evidently, his plan was foiled by missing the post-season four years in a row, and the Leafs don’t have an elite batch of prospects to show for it.
I’d be amiss, however, not to acknowledge the decent core and (to a lesser extent) prospect pool Burke has managed to assemble.
Hockey is back and everything is right in the world of the NHL. Well, sort of. There are some sour faces on fans that feel betrayed by the shield. But pouty, angered people will quickly turn that frown upside down. Fans will forgive as soon as the first puck drops on January 19th. Who can hold a grudge with the game we all love so dearly?
As the new season rapidly approaches, there are some immediate questions that need to be tended to.
Who will the shortened season favor: the veteran teams or the young guns?
How will teams deal with the immediate pressure of each game meaning more than usual?
Prior to the NHL lockout, the New York Islanders announced that the team will be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn once the lease with Nassau County expires in 2015. Although this was good news for the local fans, this situation also provided a lot of work for team owner Charles Wang and General Manager Garth Snow (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
The Islanders need to be a team ready to compete by the time they enter their new home. A new arena means a new identity, and it cannot be the one that this team has maintained for the last few years.
Many NHL fans were clamoring for both Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman to be locked in a room without the option of leaving until a new CBA deal was agreed upon. That is basically what took place last night.
Several months later, a 16-hour negotiating process that ended around 5 AM Sunday morning resulted in a new CBA that is in the process of being ironed out on paper. The deal is a 10-year agreement with an opt-out clause that is available at eight years (Photo credit: shot7photos/Flickr).
The lockout is over as the NHL and the NHLPA have tentatively agreed on a new CBA. There is work to be done to make the deal official and more importantly to win back the fans. It was an embarrassment but as a fan it is good to have hockey back.
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.