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Point to ponder as the season approaches

by Paul Kukla
Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Champs GearCan we really start getting excited about hockey again?

* I say we can since the weather is beginning to cooperate. Predicted low temperature for Edmonton Wednesday is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. That is hockey weather no matter what the calendar says.

* With so many of the NHL name-players spending their summer in Europe, don't you wish more media coverage was accessible to us so we could follow them a little more closely?

* I remember the very quiet 18-year-old Steve Yzerman being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. He looked too small to survive five seasons in the NHL. Now look at him, executive director of Team Canada. My, where have the years gone?

* The neighborhood kids have brought their street hockey nets out of the garage. Yes, we are getting closer to the season.

* Will we ever see a NHL hockey game broadcast in 3D? I refuse to put on those glasses, but in this case, I would make an exception.

* My prediction for most improved team this season -- The Los Angeles Kings.

* I am a fan of the Detroit Red Wings and also a citizen of the United States. Now the difficult question, what hockey team do I cheer for when the Winter Olympics start in February 2010? Mike Babcock is Team Canada's coach, Steve Yzerman is the executive director. Team Sweden will be built around many of the Detroit Red Wings. Team USA will probably have only one player from the winged-wheelers, Brian Rafalski. But when it comes down to the point where I am forced to make a decision, I will be wearing the red, white and blue proudly.

* Let's say I was asked to form a three-person committee to help promote our game. I would pick Brian Burke, Alexander Ovechkin and Scotty Bowman.

* It is about this time of year I make my prediction for 50-plus goal scorers for the season. This year we will see the names Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin on that list. I normally pick more players, but I think I have learned my lesson. It is still difficult to reach the 50-goal plateau.

* Is it too early to ask if anyone has seen their breath in the morning? Then we really know hockey season cannot be far behind.

* When a goal is scored we know the goal judge, no matter where he is sitting in the arena, turns on the red light. What would happen if that red light changed colors? Would traditionalists like myself go in panic mode?

* One day I hope I can show a kid how we used to put the bend on the blade of our wooden hockey sticks. Soak it in water, then force the blade of the stick into the gap between a door and the door frame, close the door and put pressure on the stick, thereby bending the blade to our desired curve. Boy, that sounds a lot harder than it actually was to do.

* Most of the hockey writers we read have returned from their summer vacations. You know what that means, we are close hockey fans, very close to the hockey season starting.

Soon we can say, drop the puck boys, let the games begin.

Feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions you may have at You can also follow me on Twitter too.

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