It’s about time.
Early Sunday morning the NHL and the NHL Player’s Association agreed to terms of a new ten year collective bargaining agreement. The work stoppage has ended and despite all of the damage generated by this nauseating process, it’s time to take New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello’s advice: focus on the game itself. At long last, it’s time for hockey.
In less than two weeks, Newark will return to the task of entertaining anxious fans of the New Jersey Devils. Those magical nights of last summer will return and all of the work associated with game day will be brought back to life! Everyone associated with the NHL will find their familiar role and the emptiness will be superseded by the energy, competitive spirit, and prosperity that Newark deserves.
The clan can begin to assemble. Anton Volchenkov and Ilya Kovalchuk will return from Russia and several will rejoin from Albany, although Adam Henrique will be out with a thumb injury. Scott Stevens can finally get involved in the coaching role. There will be a brief training camp and then the shortened 48 or 50 game regular season will immediately begin. This situation will bring a playoff atmosphere since there are less opportunities to make up lost points. Rumor has it that Jersey’s Team might start on the 19th in Winnipeg.
There is more good news. Jeff Vanderbeek has bought out the entire team and has refinanced. The New Jersey Devils are safe from more ridiculous talk of moving or bankruptcy. Now is a great time to be thankful for the first-class owner that we have in Jeff Vanderbeek. Not all sports team owners are as interested in the championship success of the team and the future of their club. His philosophy is first learn, then earn, then return, and he is in the third phase. Having a certain type of pedigree from top to bottom in an organization makes certain things possible every season.