But Hockey is Just Around the Corner
The first preseason games are on Saturday, September 14 and the regular season gets going on Tuesday, October 1.
If you are not Canadian, You May Still be Reveling in the Start of the Football Season
Or Maybe You are Busy with Baseball
So Here’s Why You Need to Get Excited for the NHL to Return
1. Ice Hockey is a Great (Perhaps the Greatest) Sport
If you are not already a fan of hockey, perhaps this is the year you come and join the fray.
If you are a fan of hockey, you know what I’m talking about.
3. This NHL Season Will Be a Full NHL Season
No labor negotiations this time around. Instead of 48 regular season games, we get all 82.
You Won’t Have To Do This
4. The Winter Classic Comes Back
The Red Wings and the Maple Leafs are scheduled to play in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. This matchup was originally supposed to be played last season, but the lockout got in the way.
5. Speaking of Outdoor Games, More Outdoor Games
Because why not. This is a huge gamble for the NHL, which has seen the Winter Classic increase interest in the sport. Whether the NHL can pack a bunch of stadiums each year will remain to be seen.
The 2014 NHL Stadium Series
January 25, 2014: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks in Dodger Stadium
January 26, 2014: New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils in Yankee Stadium
January 29, 2014: New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders in Yankee Stadium
March 1, 2014: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins in Soldier Field
6. The Olympic Tournament
Okay, the Olympics and the NHL are kind of not the same thing, but the best of the NHL are heading to Sochi to represent their respective countries on the biggest international stage for the sport.
The United States has a chance to win.
If you want to get to know the players before the head to Russia, you should start watching now.
Russia is Obviously Going to Want to Win on Home Soil
Or Will Canada Repeat to Win Gold?
Additionally, will Pittsburgh Penguins fans feel this conflicted again?
8. Your Favorite Players are Coming Back
(Or Your Least Favorite Players are Coming Back)
9. The New League Alignment
There are now 4 divisions. The Atlantic (Blue) and Metropolitan (Yellow) are members of the Eastern Conference. The Central (Red) and the Pacific (Green) make up the Western Conference
With the Realignment, A Few Teams Moved
Winnipeg has Gone West
The Red Wings are Coming East
As are the Columbus Blue Jackets
In addition, the realignment, by eliminating two divisions, has the potential to create or build upon rivalries in the league. Other key rivalries, like that of Chicago and Detroit, will be potentially hurt.
Other Realignment Storylines
Chicago becomes the only Original Six team in the Western Conference
There are two more teams in the East than in the West
Is that clear?