The NHL Waiting Game
Last night was a bittersweet moment for hockey fans; it's the night fans wait all season for, yet don't want to see happen: the raising of the Stanley Cup. Why is it bittersweet you ask? Well it means the season is over and only one fanbase goes home happy.
If you missed it, Dustin Brown became only the second American captain to raise Lord Stanley's Cup when the LA Kings beat the NJ Devils in Game 6 (which I predicted two weeks ago, BTW) by a score of 6-1. This is the first Cup victory for the Kings franchise and the first victory parade in LA that doesn't involve the Lakers since 1988.
Today hockey fans everywhere ask, "Now what?" Well never fear fellow hockey fans, this offseason will prove to be pretty pivotal for the NHL. The NHL Awards are in a week (June 20), and I know you're all excited for that. The schedule for next year will, most likely, be released in between the awards and the draft, which is in Pittsburgh (booooo) on June 22-23. Then the fun really starts.
Free agency gets underway on July 1, and that's always a good time. This year there are some big names out there, so it could get interesting. But what's really going to be interesting is the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement on September 15. It could be huge or could be a blip in the sports section (like most hockey news so often is).
The status of the CBA is really up in the air at this point. While there are things that I'm sure the players want to address (like the proposed realignment), no one wants a repeat of the 2004-05 season. So the biggest question of the summer is what will we have to look forward to in September?
Personally, I don't think there will be a delay in the season, but I do think there will be serious CBA negotiations. So as a hockey fan, I will look forward to the draft and free agency. I'll try to get to development camp at least once. I'll also keep my fingers crossed that I get to spend the upcoming fall, winter and spring at Verizon Center rooting on the Caps, and that I’ll see the Stanley Cup raised again next June.