The Lockout Is Over, But the NHL Has a Long Way To Go

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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Call me crazy, but I don’t think hockey is back yet.

I mean, I’ve heard the news. I know the NHL returned last Saturday — just in time for CBC to ejaculate all over their landmark Toronto building on Front Street — and I know viewership has apparently righted the Titanic. I know we’re all watching and I know TSN’s broadcast schedule is back in swing.

I just don’t see it.

Granted, I can only go to Canucks home games, if anything. I live in an isolated pocket of the world — the Pacific Northwest — where the closest team besides Vancouver is at least a two-hour flight away. We’re tucked away into a tiny corner of Canada. Even the ongoings in my own province seem out of proportion with whatever’s going on in Van Land.

That said, it’s been a little quiet, don’t you think?

Have the crowds really been into their games? Are they cheering, or are they cheering?

I watched that Toronto/Montreal game on Saturday, and I know French Canada returned to its ritualistic hockey state and I know CBC told me it was crazy… but there wasn’t much evidence to support their theory.

While CBC is certainly happy to welcome back the game that’s keeping their network afloat, we’d be foolish to think they weren’t desperate for it to return. After all, Canada’s national network is still on life support.

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Rogers Arena (in Vancouver) was almost silent on Sunday night against the Oilers, and the Canucks were winning for all but five minutes of that game.

The fact is, Canadians love hockey. Americans are watching hockey.

But, it’s still irrelevant. We still haven’t returned to the place we were. We probably won’t all season, and we probably shouldn’t.

And so, when you tell me, “Hey, what happened to all those boycotts? Weren’t people supposed to take it out on the NHL? Really braves, guys,” I’ll just respond the why I always do…

Wait and see…

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Top 10 Players (of Note) in the NHL in 2013

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Through two games, the presumed best players in the world has one assist and is ninth on the Penguins in scoring. Boy, what a disappointment

Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins - WhiteCoverMag.com
Sidney Crosby warms up during happier times, the 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-Final, at Pittsburgh’s ‘The Igloo’. (Photo: Michael Miller at Wikimedia Commons)

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Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres

After four days, Buffalo’s Vanek leads the NHL with six points through two games. He’s also brought linemates Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville into the mix.

I guess this legitimizes my Fantasy Team name from four years ago, “Vanek At The Disco”.

Thomas Vanek - Buffalo Sabres - WhiteCoverMag.com
Thomas Vanek leads the NHL with six points through two games in 2013, and the Sabres look as hot as any team out of the gate. (Photo: Kristin Williams at Wikimedia Commons)

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Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

There’s no rookie as electrifying as the Blues’ Tarasenko. He’s huge and his hands are silk, and he’s tied for the rookie leads in points (five) through three games.

Vladimir Tarasenko - St Louis Blues - WhiteCoverMag
Vladimir Tarasenko is a leading candidate for the 2013 Calder Trophy. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning

Yup. Tarasenko’s getting all the love, but it’s a short little spark plug names Cory Conacher who’s also tied for the rookie lead with two goals and five points through three games.

Cory Conacher - Syracuse Crunch - WhiteCoverMag.com
Yup. This AHL star is now leading all rookies with three goals and give points through three games. (Photo: Leteartean at Wikimedia Commons)

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Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

It’s not like Kane is new to the spotlight, but he had a very busy, very talked-about, and very loooooooonnnnnnggggggggg offseason. Kane only ended it by scoring the first goal of the 2013 NHL season, and him and Patrick Sharp have the Chicago Blackhawks rockin’ and rollin’ through the first five per cent of this young year.

Patrick Kane - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Sharp - Chicago Blackhawks - WhiteCoverMag.com
This Blackhawks trio is more Stanley Cup Redux than Bermuda Triangle in 2013. (Photo: Matt Boulton at Wikimedia Commons)

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Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Oh yeah, Martin St. Louis is still a thing. St. Louis and his friend Steven Stamkos are tied with the aforementioned Cory Conacher with five points apiece, while former Rocket Richard winner Vincent Lecavalier is one back with three goals and an assist.

The Lightning once again look like the Lightning, and it’s not all bad.

Martin St Louis - Tampa Bay Lightning - WhiteCoverMag
Martin St. Louis looks like a Hart Trophy winner once again. (Photo: Michael Miller at Wikimedia Commons)

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Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks

Two old Finns are leading the way for the surprisingly sturdy Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Koivu has five points through two games, while Selanne notched two goals and two assists in Game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Saku Koivu playing for Finland - WhiteCoverMag
Saku Koivu and his Finnish teammate Teemu Selanne are leading the Anaheim Ducks through 2013. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Teemu Selanne playing for Finland - WhiteCoverMag.com

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Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

Vladdy Tarasenko isn’t the only one torching Missouri. It’s actually Kevin Shattenkirk who’s tied for the Blues lead with five points (all of them assists). His total also leads all NHL defencemen.

Kevin Shattenkirk with the St Louis Blues - WhiteCoverMag.com
Kevin Shattenkirk leads all NHL defencemen with five points (all of them assists) through three games. (Photo: Matt Boulton at Wikimedia Commons)

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Jaromir Jagr, Dallas Stars

Selanne’s not the only old ba*tard outplaying his retirement in the American Southwest. Jagr may have joined the Dallas Stars because he needed the money, but the greatest European player of all-time has two goals and two assists through three games with the scorching Lonestars, although all of them came in his first game (like Selanne).

Jaromir Jagr with the New York Rangers - WhiteCoverMag.com
Jaromir Jagr was at his near-Hart best with the New York Rangers, but he’s now a worthy investment for the Dallas Stars. (Photo: Michael Miller at Wikimedia Commons)