I woke up this morning feeling pretty depressed about year 7 of SEC football domination, but this headline brought me right back: Source: KHL Could Keep Kovalchuk. Three days into the return of the 2013 NHL season and the hated NJ Devils may not return their best player. This is probably wishful thinking right now- the NHL and the KHL have an internal agreement to release all NHL players from the KHL after ratification of the new CBA, but while most players are returning home, Kovalchuk played for his KHL team on Tuesday (yes, in the future).This will be interesting to follow, but it got me thinking: what other good things have come out of the Lockout?
As always, your unbiased, objective analysis:
The Five Best Things to Come from the NHL Lockout
This is how it felt watching the Giants this year
5- It’s Easier to Forget About the Giants Dropping a Steaming Turd on Each and Every Fan
Look, you can’t win every year unless you’re Lance Armstrong on steroids, but is it too much to ask you to not rip my heart out with a spoon? The season lacked luster, but it doesn’t feel like too long ago that the Giants had strong control of their own destiny. The NFL scheduling gods didn’t do us any favors towards the end of the year, and that’s no excuse, but mixed in with a little of Eli’s patented “pretend apathy,” and a nonexistent pass rush, it was the formula for a piss poor finish to the football season. A couple of great Super Bowl wins made it easy to forget the mind-numbing torture usually instituted by the Giants; this season helped us remember. At least the NHL is back to help us forget again. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a trend.
4- The Knicks are Better than Decent
Now, there is your sports fan that likes, or even loves hockey (like me), and there is your rabid hockey fan who sleeps with his skates on and drinks ice shavings out of a Tim Horton’s cup (like Daftpuck); number 4 does not apply to the later. But to everyone else we realized something: we could survive without hockey. Yes, life is much better drinking Molsons and watching King Henrik win Vezinas, but with the Knicks rolling this season my world didn’t collapse. The season still hasn’t hit the All-Star Break, and the Knicks are 5-5 in their last ten games due to some growing and injury pains, so this would be higher on my list if it were April, but for right now I’ll take it. Amare seems to be accepting his reduced role- which is the key to whether the Knicks could be just good or actually become great. Melo is getting fired up and starting fights with old curmudgeons like KG. Its going to be fun to see how this season plays out.
3- Ilya Kovulchuk Wants to Stay Home and Marty Brodeur is Old
We already talked about Kovulchuk, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I was already excited that Marty is so old- I mean come on, this has to be the year he starts sucking, right??? This just takes it to a whole ‘nother level. The Devils could go from Stanley Cup to missing the playoffs in under a year. It sucks when the Giants do it, but this will make up for it.
2- The NY Rangers Could Keep Their Young Core Together
The debate over the NHL salary cap meant a lot more for the NY Rangers than for most other teams. If the owners got what they wanted the cap would have been around 60 million, but the players stood strong and got their number- 64.3 million. The Rangers already have almost 52 million of that committed, and with the remainder would be faced with the daunting task of resigning Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh without enough money. With an extra 4.3 million to play with, the Rangers might keep their core of young talent intact.
1- The Rangers are the Clear-cut Stanley Cup Favorites
They knocked on the door last year, but their smash-mouth style sputtered out towards the end of the year. This year gives us a 50 or 48 game season- either way short enough for Hank and his crew to bully their way to the Stanley Cup Championship. Plus, they added Rich Nash in the offseason, one of the game’s top ten scorers, without giving up too much (Anisimov was good but it’s called a trade, they couldn’t get him for free). The Rangers were so close last year, but their bruising style wore them out, plus they were just a few goals too short. A shorter season will keep Hank fresh for the playoffs, keep the defensemen blocking shots late into June, and the addition of Nash could be just enough to get a few more pucks in the back of the net. Thanks to the NHL Lockout were going to spend the end of June in the Canyon of Heroes.