In 1994/95 I was playing for the Sharks when we played 48 games in a lockout shortened season. That year we played our first game on January 20 … sound familiar.
Here is what I remember and what I assume most of the players are thinking right now:
- The best time of year, from a player’s standpoint, is the playoffs. It’s adrenaline, intensity, passion and all of it maxed out. The NHL playoffs are awesome!
- A 48 game regular season against conference teams only, is like 3 months of playoffs, before the playoffs. Players know you have to get out to a great start, especially with the extra point for OT of shootout losses that was not around back when I played.
- Case in point: In the 1995 shortened season our Sharks team started the year 5-1. We ended up with a 19-24-5 record, which was good enough for 7th place and a playoff birth against the Calgary Flames. The good start was the difference between making the playoffs and not. So the pressure starts game 1 of the season.
- The schedule is shorter but more grueling as the intensity is magnified every night. If you lose in regulation you are guaranteed to lose ground to teams playing that night. Players will be tired and injured but will play through it all as best they can because they are hockey players. It’s what we do, and love to do.
So if you like playoff hockey, get ready, because on January 20, 2013, we will be watching playoff intensity for 3 months to get us ready for more playoff intensity.
It’s going to fly by and be a lot of fun. Tune in, join in and enjoy the show. It’ll be worth it.