While We Were Gone: Hockey Came Back!

florida-panthers by Omar Moubayed

“Hi, I’ve had a reservation for 3 months. The name is Hockey”

The NHL lockout ended last Sunday (01/06/13) morning when both sides finally agreed to a deal after more than 100 days of “negotiations”. The CBA that was finally brokered included a 10 year agreement, a reduced salary cap starting in year 2 of the deal, 8 year maximum contracts, and compliance buyouts for the teams to make sure they stay under the cap. If you read my last post about the lockout you would notice that I was completely wrong about Don Fehr, but I still hate the guy. The NHLPA actually got a lot more of what they wanted in the latest game of “chicken”. The deal is pretty fair for both sides but it’s taken over 3 months to hash out since we first started missing games. The 48 game season will see the first puck drop on January 19. The season will go on with some major casualties in the rear view mirror like the Winter Classic.

Alright, enough about the lockout… WE’VE GOT HOCKEY BABY! I feel like I’ve been trapped in a very dark room for a few months and someone has just opened the door to sunshine. The season will give fans the opportunity to see the likes of Jagr, Selanne, Koivu, and Alfredsson skate around the ice again for at least one more season. The Southeast division where my Panthers play is finally going to be one of the toughest divisions in the league. Tampa Bay has reloaded, yes.. Florida has two hockey teams, Carolina will be dangerous with additions like Semin, Washington has the Russian Sensation Ovechkin, and then there’s Winnipeg (I’ve got nothing folks). ESPN insiders currently have my boys as cellar-dwellers, then again they said that last year and I was rewarded with 7 games and a Double-OT thriller.

This is my first article of what I hope to be many regarding the latest news buzzing around the NHL post-lockout. If you guessed trades, injuries, playoffs picks, and a weekly account of how my beloved Panthers are doing (with a slight rant); you’re absolutely right. Where will Luongo go? What about Kovalchuk not returning to the NHL? Can the shortened season help the Penguins finally win the cup? All these questions and more will be answered only here, by me, on 4FanSports. I strongly encourage you guys to leave some questions for me to answer the following week on the reply section below this article. Even if you know nothing about hockey and you’re just trying to figure out what “a left-wing lock to a point shot” is, I’m willing to step in and lay some knowledge on the table.
Come and enjoy the roller coaster ride that will be this 2013 NHL season with me and the rest of the 4FanSports crew. Don’t let the secret out but I may just make Tyler Hobbs a lot of money against Vegas with hockey picks ;).

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