It's Hockey Time!
The NHL is here and has quickly reached full swing. I know that I was bitter during the lockout but man am I happy to see this game played again. Thus far, I have watched a few post-lockout games of NHL hockey and one thing seems obvious: some teams have come back in force and others are still trying to figure out where the puck is. The Buffalo Sabers are a team to keep an eye on. A good bit of the team played together in the AHL during the lockout. Ryan Miller was the goalie representing the USA in the most recent Winter Olympics and he has a fast glove. I enjoy watching this guy play. He has only allowed 3 pucks to enter his net this season. Some of you might argue that he's only played 2 game so far and that's a valid point in a way. There may have only been two games thus far but, looking at the spectrum, other goalies have already allowed 4 to 7 goals per game! So I am just pointing out that I think he is going to be hot.
I watched the L.A. Kings come to Denver and face the Avalanche in their home opener last night. Both of these teams had a hard time playing as just that, a team. Some of the lines on both sides are playing great, but others not so much. The game had two young goal tenders. In the crease for the Kings was Jonathan Quick who just turned 27 on January 21st. This kid had a heck of a season last year and even though the Kings are 0-2 he has played well. He really lives up to his name because he is just so Quick. On the opposite side of the rink in the Avs jersey, was the 24 year old from Russia, Semyon Varlamov. This kid is a very strong goalie. He is fast, agile, and he fits very well with the Avs because he is not so old that he's lost some of his ability nor is he so young that he allows his nerves to take over. Varlamov is able to get the respect he deserves from his team because of the skill and leadership he portrays on the ice.
In this shortened season a team can't afford to throw away any games. Some sportscasters are saying that the younger teams will be better deeper in the season because they have young legs and great stamina which will allow them to keep up with the fast pace of this condensed season. There is some truth to this theory. The young teams might be healthy and ready to play, however, if they can't win in the first half of the season it won't matter how they feel in the second half. In this sportscaster's opinion, the teams that will be in the playoffs and make it to the Stanley Cup finals will be the teams that have a good balance of veteran leaders and fast youngsters.
There is no mixed conference play this year. This will make the Cup even more fun to watch, with no possible chance for the two teams in the finals to face each other until game 1. The less exciting part of the Stanley Cup is that the first game won't take place until the END OF JUNE! This is ridiculous and, obviously, due to the silly, drug out lockout! There is no reason hockey should be played in any summer month. Every team will have a harder time keeping the ice cold enough, especially the southern states. I understand that the NHL wanted to squeeze in 48 games but this all goes back to the fact that there never should have been a dang lock out in the first place. Despite this fact, I'm rarin' and ready to watch that puck drop.