|Nancy Koenig has been an NHL.com contributor since 2000. She will share her thoughts regularly on NHL.com's Blog Central.
Is that hockey on the horizon?
With August approaching in a few blinks of the eye, I'm starting to hear muttering about summer coming to a close. I don't know what calendar everybody else goes by, but mine clearly states that autumn does not begin until September 23rd.
Granted, that date will be here before we know it, but training camps will have commenced by then, so it's not so much a loss as a beginning. Two years ago, I mourned summer's end with the best of them, but the only emotion evoked during last year's seasonal transition was excitement.
I suspect I'll feel the same way this year. I'll never be one to wish away my favorite season, but it does work out quite nicely that the NHL picks up where summertime ends.
That said, I can think of few better places to be on a hot, humid day than a hockey rink.
Yesterday, I had the fabulous fortune of visiting the MSG Training Center, the envy of practice sites League-wide. The Rangers are currently hosting their second annual Youth Hockey Camp there, an event I will be writing about at length in the very near future.
For the moment, I'm just stopping by to say hello, share some of the positive energy I absorbed yesterday, and remind you just how quickly the new season will be upon us, just in case it still seems distant.
For me, it got closer with the sound of each stick blade hitting the ice, each sound of a whistle prompting the start of a drill and every smile spread across a young player's face. But you don't need to be at a hockey camp to feel the season approaching. Just look around.
The 2006-07 schedule has been released, printed and in some cases, memorized. There has been at least one signing every day this month; most days there have been several. There have been trades, some of them quite surprising, and entirely unpredictable front-office moves.
It's beginning to look a lot like hockey.