We are Steve Mason days away from the start of the regular season. Are you ready?
There's a bitter tang to the joy, though, as the NHL season kicks off today. Steve Jobs was a lot of things, but what rarely comes to the forefront was that he was a hockey fan. Using the words of players like Wayne Gretzky and Maurice Richard in his business strategies and philosophies, he had the vision and the passion to shape the 20th and 21st centuries, and his impact is likely to be felt for years to come. Rest, Steve, and well done.
The Dispatch is running their annual season preview edition today, and that means there is a LOT to digest. If you don't have time to just pick up a paper and go, Puck Rakers has a look at yesterday's practice getting a little too fired up, check Portzline out as he talks about the offensive boost this off season, Arace sees the Jackets on the verge of winning hearts, a look at the changing rules, Western Conference previews, Shawn Mitchell talking about the rookie influx, the new lines, the changes on D, special teams revamp, and the competition getting tougher.
If that wasn't enough linkarama for you, here's a quick Backhand Shelf digest before we move back into Columbus: Jo Innes has a great review of injuries going into the season, western conference previews, a bit of a Project Mayhem-ish plot for the All Star Game, a preview of the East, and a look at why starting the season in Europe sucks.
Over at Heart of a Jacket, Alison has part 4 of our roundtable!
Some scary news last night: Buffalo Sabres legend Rick Martin, who died last March, was found to be suffering from CTE. Martin was not a fighter, but suffered one serious concussion in his career due hitting his head on the ice without wearing a helmet. It's a major question for hockey going forward as they attempt to work on the safety of the game. That said, I think we also need to consider the era Martin played in, where it was expected - even encouraged - for a player who "had his bell rung" to get right back out onto the ice the next shift, and for players to conceal the extent of of their distress. The NHL (and every level of hockey) needs to take this seriously, but there are steps already being taken that would have been unheard of in Martin's day.
Over at CBJ Blog, Andy talks about the fans, and talks about what other bloggers think of Columbus.
A quick PHT wrap up: Teemu Selanne faces a lot of challenges in Finland on and off the ice, some good news for St. Louis, as Matthew Hulsizer has an agreement to purchase the Blues, Martin Havlat will be starting the season on IR, NHL12 is simulating a Pittsburgh Stanley Cup win, Notre Dame will be joining Hockey East (and televising their games!), and Paul Bissonnette has a 2 year contract extension, god help us all.
DBJ looks at the roster upheaval, and how power is taken, not given.
Your Puck Daddy quick hits: Over / Under for NHL scoring leaders, 11 burning questions for this season, the insanity of Jets ticket prices, a chat with Jeff Skinner (including talking about his fight with Kris Russell), and breaking down Shanahan's video of good, clean (hard!) checks.
Eric Smith, Lori Schmidt, and the Fire The Cannon podcast are back! They'll be kicking off the season tonight!
Over at The New Jackets Fan, Chris talks about his need for the Jackets to do well.
Scott over at Copper & Blue doesn't see the Jackets making the post-season...and he sees Scott Howson being shown the door.
The Jacket Backers not only got to have some fun in one of the party towers during last week's Minnesota game, they were able to make a $400 donation to the CBJ foundation with the proceeds!
For those continuing to doubt the success of the Arena District, or fighting the Arena Lease, LTL offers a simple Before and After.
It's time. Are you ready?