Wednesday, September 1, 2010

...And It Begins.

When the calendar turns the page to September, many sports fans minds turn to the start of college and pro football. For a select few, the start of football only serves as a placeholder until life begins again…the drop of the puck on another NHL season!

The 2009-2010season was a disappointing one for fans of the flightless bird, but overall the league and fans of the sport had to be thrilled. The games kicked off in Helsinki and Stockholm, celebrated a Winter Classic at Boston’s Fenway Park, took a slight detour to Vancouver for some gold trinkets, and concluded in Philadelphia when Patrick Kane scored what he will always remember was the prettiest goal of his career, replays be damned. In between there were plenty of exciting moments.

In the West, Phoenix emerged from a disastrous off-season to make the playoffs. Exciting teams in Vancouver, Colorado, and Los Angeles also had strong seasons. San Jose overcame many years of disappointment by advancing to the conference finals, but coming up short as Chicago’s young, pricey core proved that age really ain’t nothin’ but a number.

To many, the East was much less exciting. Many fans felt that the entire season was nothing but a dress rehearsal for the inevitable, a matchup of Washington and Pittsburgh meeting as mere formality, with the winner moving on to claim the Stanley Cup. Montreal and a goalie named Jaroslav Halak (his name will certainly come up both in the Montreal and St. Louis team previews) didn’t much care for these opinions, and managed to come up a little bit short when Philadelphia edged them out in the Conference Finals.

Individually, both young and established stars provided the excitement. Tampa’s Steven Stamkos topped the 50 goal mark in his 2nd year. Established stars like Crosby and Overchkin may have bowed out of the playoffs early, but Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Mike Richards lead their teams to the Stanley Cup Finals. Martin Brodeur set the NHL’s all time shutout record against the Penguins. Henrik Sedin went on to claim the Art Ross Trophy for league top scorer.

Most of the time, the off-season is a mostly uneventful time to be a fan. Free Agency is usually a short blip on the radar, but this time that wasn’t the case. Coming off a Stanley Cup win, Chicago was forced to dismantle much of their team based on salary cap issues. The Salary Cap also loomed large in the case of Ilya Kovalchuk. He attempted to sign a 17-year, $102m contract with New Jersey. Even though there is not a rule specifically prohibiting this in the NHL collective bargaining agreement, the NHL decided to reject the deal on the basis that it violated the salary cap. This ended up in court, and to the surprise of many the revocation was upheld.

That’s the abridged version of how we made it from September 2009 to now. Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out team previews (very original of us) and maybe a few other surprises that will be sure to keep this the least read hockey blog in the world. Well, aside from any blogs about the Atlanta Thrashers...

1 comment:

  1. I am excited to see how the blog unfolds! I'll add it to my "Pensblog"/"Puck Daddy" routine.