Rick Nash was added to the Rangers in an off-season trade and has three points in his first four games. (Getty Images)
Thankfully the NHL and NHLPA resolved their issues to bring hockey back to the ice. Here is what I am looking forward to:
1. Length of Season
Some would argue that an 82-game regular season is too long anyway. Now every game and shootout counts. It's an all-out sprint. You can’t go on a 10-game slide and hope to get into the playoffs. No team will have a cushion in the standings where they can just ride out the schedule. This is providing some fast-paced hockey.
2. New teams take shape
Yes, we are looking to the revamped Minnesota Wild with Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, Carolina with the Staal brothers, plus Alex Semin... not to mention Rick Nash will finally have a center to play with. He may even lead the league in goals this year.
3. Hockey pools
I love to debate and chat about hockey, so these are always enjoyable. I went defense and goalie heavy and drafted ninth out of 13 teams. Draft details: Snake draft, 1-G, 3-D, 6 Fs + 1 mystery player (pre-draft blind ballot extra player who will not be taken in the draft)
G- Jonathan Quick, LA
D- Shea Weber, Nsh
D- Kris Letang, Pit
D- Justin Schultz, Edm
F- Alex Ovechkin, Wsh
F- Corey Perry, Ana
F- Jeff Carter, LA
F - Jordan Staal, Car
F – Dany Heatley, Min
F – Mikko Koivu, Min
M- Curtis Glencross, Cgy
Hopefully they will do their fantasy GMs proud, or there will be some phone calls to make!
Daniel Tkaczuk was Calgary's first round pick in 1997 (sixth overall) and played professionally in North America and Europe for 12 seasons. He is currently president of iHockeyTrainer.com, an online hockey school for skill development, and assistant coach with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL.