The time for naked prognostication and educated guessing is almost at an end, and not a second too soon. The NHL regular season is (finally) less than a month away, and today begins the rookie tournament that has become an annual tradition for the Senators and their prospects – the first nugget of barely meaningful NHL hockey action in what seems like a millennia. (For more on the rookie tourney, check out Jared’s overview HERE.)
Without question, the hockey community experienced it’s most tragic off-season in history, a reality gruesomely book-ended by the disaster in Yaroslavl, Russia. It was the kind of summer that only the hands of time will help heal. In the meantime, on-ice hockey action will serve as a welcomed distraction.
For Sens’ fans, this summer was one of the longest. While last season ended with a strong stretch of games fueled by an injection of youth and a goaltending performance worthy of contractual commitment, the last game will have been played half a year ago, a full six months by the time the puck is dropped on October 7th in Detroit to kick off the 2011-2012 season. In that time, pundits, especially on the national, Toronto-based scene, have offered up plenty of reasons for fans of Canada’s Capital team to temper their optimism. Whether it be lack of available offense, lack of roster improvement, too much youth, Bryan Murray’s contract extension – the detractions are as numerous as the prospects for a brighter tomorrow.
The talk has become nauseating. Every possible angle of every possible storyline has been examined and re-examined by columnist and blogger alike. Every piece of off-season news exploded beyond its actual impact, (by all accounts within the organization, Peter Regin’s ankle is fine!). I get it, it’s all we have to grasp on to during the dog days, but enough is enough.
In every possible sense, the hockey world needs something tangible to bite into, for Sens (and Pens) fans, that first tantalizing morsel can be tasted in approximately one hour.
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