So tonight is the night when it all gets started. The NHL will drop the puck with 4 games on the schedule, (Washington at Boston 7:00 PM, Montreal at Toronto 7:00 PM, San Jose at Colorado 10:00 PM , Vancouver at Calgary 10pm), and it is about time. After a very long off season, especially in Ottawa without making the playoffs some real games on the ice will be a welcome change. A very difficult off season brought on by the Dany Heatley saga, the turmoil within the ranks of the NHLPA and worst of all the situation in Phoenix a real distraction of actual games will be welcome.
After yesterdays court decision to deny both bids by Jim Balsillie and the NHL to own the club it looks like, at least for the time being that the NHL will operate the club and help look for a "suitable owner" and figure out a plan to get out of the quagmire that is the Coyotes. It appears that Mr. Balsillie has decided not to appeal and is resigned to the fact that he will not be able to get control of this team. Will he try another team and go about it in a more up front way... probably at some point, but at least for now it should be over. With some of that mess gone maybe the NHL can keep the dealings on the team out of the media for a while and we can only hope that the next major public announcement on this matter is they have a new owner ready to step in and take control.
A good line up of games to get things started will be very welcomed. It should be interesting to see 2 original 6 teams and rivals go head to head, both with vastly different teams with that of what they ended with last year. New Looks and new attitudes will be on both benches tonight and should be interesting. Along with that the Sharks will be in action after an interesting and eventful off season. They too have had a lot of turnover, not only in player personnel but also in leadership. Heatley is in, Christian Ehrhoff Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo are out. Patrick Marlow had the "C" taken from him and that was given to Rob Blake and an "A" was given to Dan Boyle and back to Joe Thornton.. That will surely also be an experiment worth watching throughout the season.
Tomorrow there will be 2 mid-day games from overseas involving the Blues, Wings, Blackawks and Panthers in the NHL’s attempts to grow the game and the NHL brand in Europe. This will be a good chance to see what the Blues look like with back to back games. They are still in the running for my affection and are just jostling for the position of 1A and 1B with themselves and the LA Kings (I figured that if I am this torn between them, perhaps it isn’t fair to just cast one of them away... sometimes it is good to play the field a little). I am sure to have something more to say on that front soon enough.