The wait was too long, the labor process was too tedious, both sides were too hardheaded, but in a mere eight days the NHL is finally back.
The long labor dispute and subsequent lockout may have been frustrating while it was going on, but a resolution brings a highly anticipated 48 game regular season that begins January 19, when the Bruins open up at the TD Garden against the New York Rangers. The Bruins and Rangers just so happened to be the top two teams in the Eastern Conference last season.
The Bruins will be looking to repeat the Stanley Cup glory they tasted in the 2011 season, and there’s a lot to look forward to in the 2013 NHL season.
48 game season will be as exciting as it gets
One would be hard pressed to come up with any sporting event more gut wrenching and exciting than the NHL playoffs. The speed of the game combined with the all out effort on the ice is truly a spectacle.
With just 48 games the regular season will draw a striking resemblance to the NHL playoffs this year and that’s good news for all hockey fans.
During a lengthy 82 game schedule teams have to find that happy medium to get through the season, and on some nights in the middle of the season the game isn’t played at the speed it and effort should be.
But with just 48 games, the regular season becomes that much more important and the margin for error severely decreases. Teams will have to keep their respective feet on the gas pedal.
Expect a playoff like atmosphere on most nights this season, especially early in the year where every team will be looking to get off to a fast start.
The regular season is essentially a mad dash to the postseason, and just under half the league is going to be left behind. The shortened season will also make the playoff race much more exciting. Less games means more teams in contention and makes it tough for even the teams at the top of the standings to get comfortable.