We’re just a few hours away from the 2012-2013 NHL season, a season that didn’t look like it’d be played at all a few months ago. The compact 50+ game schedule should offer plenty of excitement in a league that already saw an eighth seed win the Stanley Sup last season. The unpredictable nature of the sport and it’s rise in young Superstars should have the NHL’s popularity at an all-time high. Yet, no one is discussing the league to this point and with the NFL 3 weeks away from completion the NHL has picked a horrible time to fade into the background of sports.
The NHL lockout was ugly, sure, but they’ve tried everything since to make this season worthwhile. They’ve set up an amazing slate of games for today’s opening schedule. The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a healthy roster for the first time in 3 seasons when they play the Philadelphia Flyers to open up the season. The defending champion Kings take on one of the most exciting teams in the league, The Chicago Blackhawks. The trio of Hossa, Kane, and Sharp give the Blackhawks the most powerful line in the NHL and make for some amazing goal scoring potential.
The night games are highlighted by a match-up between two of the best goal scorers in the NHL, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin. The Tampa Bay Lightning should be the Cup favorite entering the season the season and the Capitals are constant underachievers that need this game to make a statement.
The headlines for this season write themselves, but for some reason no one is giving the NHL the time of day it deserves. This is the best talent the NHL has had on the ice in 3 decades. The players are bigger, faster, and stronger than ever before and the rules have been geared towards goal scoring. The product on the ice is at it’s best and this season should be the perfect platform to launch the NHL’s popularity.
But until play begins today fans will continue to ignore the league, use the lockout as an excuse to tune it out, and focus all of their attention on the final weeks of the NFL playoffs. Too bad, because those sports fans will be missing some of the best sports action the world has to offer.