The top sports in the United States as far as season revenue, and popularity goes are the National Football League being the top sport followed by Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and finally the National Hockey League.
Even though these sports are very popular here in the states, some more than others, each of them has fell on hard times lately with lock outs occurring in the sports. Both the NBA, NFL has lost games in the past due to lockout situations. The NHL is just the most recent sport to endure the painfully long suffering of a lockout induced season.
Fortunately, the 117 day lockout, which forced the cancellation of over 500 NHL games, is officially over and teams are in the process of gearing up for what will be a 48 game season for each team. The new deal, which is for 10 years including this season, was finally ratified in the late hours of the night last week. The signing came just in time as the NHL had its eye set on opening training camp yesterday and with the deal sign teams can now train and get ready for the upcoming season which is set to kick off on Saturday Jan.19.
The 10 year deal is not set in stone, as either side can opt out of it after eight. The previous agreement was in effect for seven seasons. With such a very short time between training camp and the regular season start it will be interesting to see which teams will actually be ready for game action when the time comes. However, it is not like the players were sitting on their couches eating chips and watching sports center, most of the big name players were either having skate around practices with teammates, or not letting their talents go to waste and going overseas to play a few games to keep in shape. They have since come back to their respective teams.
Majority of the NHL teams will be playing this Saturday with three big notable games to keep an eye on. The Chicago Blackhawks will travel to LA to face the defending Stanley cup champions LA Kings, The Philadelphia Flyers will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Ottawa will play Winnipeg. As far as trade deadlines, All-Star game, and playoff schedule goes the NHL has tweaked it a little bit to accommodate the shorten season.
The trade deadline is April 3; the final day of the regular season is April 27 with the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning April 30. The 2013 NHL Draft Lottery will be held April 29, free agency will open for business on July 5.
As far as games played all 48 games on each team schedule will be division and conference games. Teams will play 18 games within the division, to complete the 720-game schedule set by the NHL; Clubs will play three games against each of the ten remaining non-divisional opponents from within the conference according to Yahoo.
It has been a long wait for hockey fans to see some meaningful hockey games, but this Saturday will put an end to your hunger.
NHL Lockout Is Over, But Will The Fans Come Back?
Kurt Badenhausen on the winners and losers surrounding the 2013 NHL season.
NHL Lockout is Over
The Team 1200’s Shawn Simpson discussed the end of the NHL lockout on CTV Morning Live.