by Patrick Hoffman on 06/24/11 at 03:03 PM ET
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NHL In Great Shape
By Patrick Hoffman
Many hockey fans and media alike thought that the lockout during the 2004-05 NHL season would kill the NHL going forward.
Well, fast forward to today and the National Hockey League is in excellent shape, thanks to a terrific 2010-11 season. Here are a few reasons why this past season was so great (in no particular order):
1) Excitement: The NHL showed this season why hockey is such an exciting sport. The perfect example of this was the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There were high-scoring games, closely contested games, many overtime games, lots of different heroes, stellar goaltending and unbelievable plays. It was a Playoffs for the ages and one that will not be forgotten any time soon.
2) Parity: Thanks to post CBA rules, every team in the NHL has a chance to make the playoffs and this season was no different. In both conferences, the playoff race came down to the final week. Even more interesting is that in the Western Conference alone, 10 of the 15 teams all had a legitimate chance to get into the postseason.
3) Terrific Stories: When talking about terrific stories this season, one has to look no further than Boston Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas. Thomas, who worked his tail off for many seasons to get into the NHL, won a Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and Vezina Trophy this season for his outstanding play. After undergoing hip surgery in the off-season, Thomas found his game and showed why he is the little engine that can.
4) TV Deal: The NHL striked up a 10-year deal with NBC/Versus. Since NBC now owns Versus, they will make sure that it gives hockey the full respect and coverage that it deserves. Sure, it may not be ESPN but ESPN never really cared about hockey, right?
All in all, it was a great year for the National Hockey League and with the NHL Entry Draft today and tomorrow and NHL free agency right arounf the corner, there are more exciting things to come for the great game of hockey.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.