NHL season preview

With football season underway, the Phillies in the playoffs and the uncertainty surrounding the start of the NBA season, it seems like the National Hockey League has been pushed to the back burner by the media. However, the start of the NHL season is right around the corner.

On Thursday, October 6th, the puck dropped in Boston, Massachusetts as the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins played host to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers ended up the victors in a tough 2-1 game. The two other games slated for the night were the Montreal Canadians at Toronto and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Vancouver.

The game slate was equally packed on Friday October 7th. Among the seven games scheduled were two games played on foreign ice as the New York Rangers and Los Angels Kings faced off in Stockholm and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim squared off against the Sabers of Buffalo.

With regular season activities taking place on both sides of the Canadian border, tensions will soon begin to build and old rivalries are bound to be renewed. Will these air-conditioned stadiums be capable of cooling off the heated fervor of the crowd as the warriors of the ice run amok and try to surge into the record books?

Unwanted or not, tension will be in the air as front runners like the Washington Capitals (who had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season) face their division rivals Tampa Bay Lightning. Or perhaps the up and coming Pittsburg Penguins will attempt to dethrone the Boston Bruins as the Stanley Cup Champs.

The Flyers will be without key players such as Mike Richards

and Simone Gagne who have severed connections to Philadelphia. These two former “Broad Street bullies” are going to be dealing with a new gang of menacing opponents. They now both play for the Kings of Los Angles and will have to adjust to a whole different Conference as well as a new time zone.

The Winter Classic is one of NHL’s most popular games and may the only bright spot for the goalie lackened Flyers fans. This season, the city of brotherly love will be welcoming visitors from across the nation as they give a backdrop to this year’s festivities.

The Winter Classic puts an outdoor twist on an indoor sport. Last year, the Flyers played the Bruins on the Historical Fenway Park in their hometown of Boston. This time, however, it is Mayor Nutter and Governor Rendell who will be playing hosts to what is considered to be hockey’s most popular game. The much-maligned Rangers will be coming from New York to lay down the hurt to the hometown Flyers.

The blood of passion runs deep in the Hudson River border. As tempers flare and rivalries burn hot it is not only Phillies red that may be reflected in the ice laid down in Citizens State Ball Park. The Rangers, too, have red in their logo and that may add color to the black and blue faces so common amongst these hockey players.

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