Finally, the NHL lockout is finally over. After months of talks between the owners and the NHLPA, the two sides have finally come to a deal ending the lockout that had been in effect since Sep. 15. The new agreement lasts for ten years and should end the possibility of another lockout anytime soon.
This weekend, on Saturday January 19, the puck will drop and the NHL will have the first game of the season. Most of the players have tried to stay warmed up by playing in leagues overseas and in charity games like the one for Hurricane Sandy.
The season is cut incredibly short however. Over half of the season was lost due to the lockout. The two sides agreed to play a 48-game season that only includes about 41% of the games from a normal season.
Although fans had become incredibly upset, the start to the season couldn’t come soon enough. Hockey fans everywhere were itching to see their favorite players back on the ice.
With the short season, it’s difficult to predict a favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season. There are a lot of teams that look promising, including our own St. Louis Blues, but with less than half the season it’s anyone’s game.
Another factor that makes a short season important is injuries. If a player gets hurt, even a moderate injury can cost him almost half the season. It should be interesting to see how coaches handle players to make sure serious injuries don’t occur.
For sports fans that don’t like basketball, hockey season comes at a great time. With football almost over and baseball starting in a couple months, fans now have another sport to watch.
Be sure to tune in to your favorite teams in the coming weeks, as hockey season finally gets under way!