BOSTON (CBS) – Be forewarned, this article will have absolutely no direction and is solely based on an immediate emotional reaction from yours truly.
With that being said, I would like to begin with this … Finally!
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Cue the church bells, raise the flags, the revolution has arrived! Ladies and gentleman we have gathered here today, in the year of our Lord 2013, to discuss the joyous resurrection of the National Hockey League. I apologize for the over-dramatization and complete lack of objectivity but I can’t help it. Deep down that’s how I feel — like a small child finally getting his toy after days, no, weeks, no, months of denial. Yes, it’s pathetic, it’s condescending and on some level even self-deprecating but it’s reality and I have a feeling that I’m not alone in my reaction.
For months the conversation centered on the loss of fans, the irreparable damage of the league and its inability to “get it right.” We contemplated not coming back, giving up our tickets and ending our support of this frustrating business. The truth is, none of that will come to fruition and the reason is simple. Human nature.
The more we hear “no” the more we want “yes” and yes, even after 113 days of a lockout, I’m glad that the game is finally coming back. Now, with all of that out of the way, there are three quick things that should make this season more intriguing than any other.
1. The mystery conference
What is this Western Conference that you speak of? Why are they wearing those red shirts with that wheel thingy in the middle? With a 48-game season, each team will only face off against opponents in their own conference, which leaves a unique unknown element to this year’s matchups. It’s a small aspect but brings another layer of intrigue to the season. It should also make for a very interesting Stanley Cup Finals match up.
2. Let the hatred build
Time is of the essence and with a 48-game season, each matchup will mean more. Teams cannot afford to go on losing streaks with hopes of rebounding in the future. Once the rust falls off, expect about 40 games of high intensity playoff-like atmosphere , especially when teams like the Canadiens or Flyers come into town.
3. What do you have for me?
Maybe in the back of every owner’s mind, they knew that the fans would return. In the same breath, they must be aware of the resentment that exists. It will be interesting to see what steps, if any, the owners take to “make right” with the fans. Let’s be honest, the chances of a Bruins fan getting something extra are slim to none but in other markets such as Detroit that might not be the case. The owner/fan relationship is at a delicate stage and the next several months will truly prove whether or not the people in charge give a damn about those spending the money.
There it is. Enjoy the season. Even after all that’s happened, this should be an interesting ride.
Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @mfsports21