At long last, and after roughly 500 cancelled games, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association have reached a tentative agreement to end the lockout and salvage the 2013 part of the 2012-13 season. There are precious few details, but this piece has the most I can find at this point. (UPDATE: Here’s another summary.)
On the Columbus Blue Jackets front, my DBJ blog compadres and I took some time going into the anticipated mid-October start of the season to do a series of season preview posts, loosely arranged around the notion of the Blue Jackets being at the ground floor and ready to start the elevator ride to the top of the league. I’ve collected the links (both here at DBJ Plus and over at the other blog) right here: Go take a look to get back up to speed.
Beyond that, some interesting decisions will need to be made. The Springfield Falcons AHL affiliate are flying high, leading the AHL Eastern Conference’s Northeast Division by four points over their closest competition. That’s in no small part due to leading scorer Cam Atkinson and other familiar faces to Columbus-ites like Ryan Johansen, Matt Calvert, John Moore and David Savard. Then you have relatively new faces like the second and third-leading scorers, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Nick Drazenovic. Point being, the young talent is performing quite well in what appears to be a winning environment. Which, one could say, is as it should be.
Then you look at the NHL roster. I think it safe to say that the inclusion of at least a couple cogs from Springfield will improve the talent level in Columbus…but will that sacrifice long-term development for short-term gain? Or is it really a sacrifice? This, my friends is The Big Question for the team going into the shortened season.
But that’s another question for another day. Right now, I think it best to exhale, dust off the hockey swag and look forward to NHL hockey again…