Saturday, January 19, 2013

NHL Season Gets the Green Light

Article written by Sportmentary - Editor in Chief Sportmentary Online Sports Talk
At approximately 2:00 PM CST the NHL season got the green light as NBC started coverage on the first NHL game televised nationally this season. The game that they started with and the one I saw for most of the day (until they broke into the end of the Penguins/Flyers game) was between the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks. The pregame show was more exciting than the game itself.

The pregame focused on the LA Kings ring ceremony and the unveiling of the Kings Stanley Cup Championship banner that was hoisted to the top of Staples arena. It was an electric atmosphere at that point of the show. 

Then the game started and it was clear that the these guys didn't have their legs. They are still in the beginning stages of finding their legs and energy. They will find it soon. We can think of the first week of games like exhibition games for many teams but the games count.

One thing seems clear to me. The KHL and other European leagues are OK. They did little to condition the players for the real league. They did little to prepare the players for the best hockey league on earth. I know that I'm taking a shot at leagues like the KHL but it's evident to me that they are minor league compared to the NHL.

One of the positive things that I saw this afternoon was that Marian Hossa looks fully recovered from the head injury that he suffered during the playoffs. Hossa scored two goals and had an assist. The Hawks have to feel happy that Hossa has returned to form. They will need him this season.

Towards the middle of the third period NBC switched gears to the Penguins/Flyers game. At that point in the contest the game was out of reach for the Kings. While I wouldn't blame the outcome of the game on Jonathan Quick, since the rest of his team didn't do much to make the game a contest, he wasn't the unstoppable netminder that we saw in last year's playoffs.

As much as the Kings looked like they were out of sorts, the Flyers and Penguins looked like they were in full gear. This didn't look like an exhibition game at all but it doesn't take too much to get the guys up for this rivalry. The teams hate each other and that hatred fuels great games. It fuels competitive games. I wish NBC would have televised that game in my area.

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