Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/15/06 at 10:17 AM ET
If anything, it was going to be a shortened season, the first half wiped out by the work stoppage and the second half playing to near-empty arenas. Instead, it's been everything the owners, players and fans could have ever asked for. Wild playoff races through the final week of the season. The most amazing crop of rookies in decades. League-wide parity on a level playing field. Goals. Shootouts. Attendance records. As Edmonton ramps up for the playoffs - it's been so long, even Detroit looks good - it's hard not to shake your head at how remarkably the NHL has recovered from what could have easily been a fatal labour dispute. Here's a look back at the pros and cons of what might go down as the most important season in the league's history: PRO: After numerous bold attempts and embarrassing retreats, the NHL finally stuck to its obstruction crackdown all year. Well, most of it, anyway. Inconsistent officiating is still a problem, but games are infinitely better than the garbage we had to sit through before.read on
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