Published on December 3rd, 2012 | by Alex Veeneman0
Around the NHL: What Happens Next Season?
Alex Veeneman, Opinions Editor
Anthony Lyen, Tempo Editor, contributed to this story.
Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.
What would have been the 2012-13 season of the NHC is halfway over. As the lockout progresses with talks remaining at a standstill, players have been going to foreign leagues across the globe or to the AHL to keep their skills up. Yet, when the lockout comes to an end, teams will have a short amount of time to get in shape for the next match and create the excitement we hockey fans have come to appreciate.
It is important to keep the skills up. Ensuring that the essentials of hockey for the player are not forgotten is crucial to the performance of the whole team. If you forget that crucial move, offensively or defensively, let’s just face it. It’s not going to go down very well.
Although there was plenty of anguish and despair once the lockout began, there were a few optimists who saw some benefits to the season being postponed.
Superstars Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, just to name a few, experienced some pretty serious injuries this past season. Concussions continue to be an issue for the players, and the league is taking steps to preventing certain hits from being legal.
Whether a team has an all-star or fourth line-caliber player who is injured, this extra time off will certainly be crucial for recovery. Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, for example, was hit hard during the Western Conference Quarterfinals by Phoenix Coyotes tough-guy Raffi Torres.
Hossa was injured so badly he needed to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. Hossa was seemingly rushed to recover for the start of the 2012-13 season, but now that the season has been put on hold, Hossa can take some time to relax, refocus and make sure his skill is back to the way it was. With so many of the players taking their talents overseas, however, there has still been a risk of injury, and so far several players are already succumbing to the “injury-bug.” Hopefully, they can be ready when the NHL season eventually starts.
With the lockout dragging on, teams and players alike know the importance of continuing to build strength and talent, even with a season seemingly gone. The abundance of talented young guns are currently playing in either their NHL team’s respective minor league affiliate or the junior leagues, depending on age restrictions. This is incredibly important for many teams.
This year’s draft class was pretty impressive, with a huge crop of talented defensemen. These players, including the highly coveted Ryan Murray, now have a chance to develop their talent and skills further. The more time these players have to become “NHL-ready,” the better off each team will be.
Next season will be confirmed whenever the NHL and the Players’ Association reach a deal. That could be next week, that could be next month, heaven forbid, that could be next year. One thing is for sure — there will be a next season, and the players and the teams must be ready to face up to that fact.