Back to the Ice

Bobby Lussier, Staff Writer

Grab your skates and your first-aid kit, because the NHL is back.  After months of the NHLPA and the NHL owners association butting heads about a new collective bargaining agreement, the two sides have reached a conclusion and had agreed to begin the shortened 48-game season.There were many who feared the season would be cancelled entirely because of the many ineffective meetings between the two sides, but those fears are no more now that the puck has dropped and the condensed season is now under way.

The season kicked off with a weekend of electrifying action including major rivalry games such as Penguins-Flyers, Penguins-Rangers, and Maple Leafs-Canadians. Now that the season has been shortened by nearly half of the originally scheduled games, each game is worth almost double what it would be in a normal season, which means that each and every win is of dire importance.

Entering the season, there are quite a few storylines to look out for. One of the most prominent ones is the lack of a repeat Stanley Cup winner in the league for the past 14 years, proving that every team has a chance to win the cup. Will the Los Angeles Kings continue their dominance from last year’s playoff run and break the streak? The last team to accomplish the monumental task of winning the championship in consecutive years was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Also notable is the return of Sydney Crosby, who is fully healthy for the first time in a few years. Syd the Kid, as some Pittsburgh fans call him, has not been this fresh since his league-leading 51-goal season in 2009. He makes the Penguins a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Other teams that are projected to make a run for the cup include the New York Rangers, who have recently added yet another big-ticket player to their roster in the form of Rick Nash, and the ever-present northern powerhouse that is the Vancouver Canucks.

Expect to see more hockey jerseys roaming the halls for the next few months, because fans are as excited as ever to enjoy the NHL this year. Only time will tell who will hoist the cup at the end of the season, but one thing is for sure: hockey has returned and it’s here to stay.