During pretty well all of what was left of the NHL season last year, I didn’t turn on a hockey game. I didn’t even watch minor hockey last year–not that I did much watching of minor hockey before that. Even when Toronto actually managed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, I counted down the hours to first pitch of what would turn out to be a tanker of a baseball season. The NHL had locked out its players for the second time since the cancelled 2004-05 season. And so, for the remainder of last season after the lockout was lifted, I locked out the NHL.
I had no interest in the Leafs’ best season in a while. I had very little interest in the 7-game playoff series they could have had until they didn’t. I was done. I couldn’t even tell you who exactly the team was by the time playoffs came around. But that was a year and a soap opera ago. Now, it’s a little less than 36 hours to the first official puck drop of the 2013-14 NHL regular season. Now, I’ve kept an ear to the training camps. I’ve even had preseason hockey in this house for the first time in several years. I wouldn’t necessarily say all is forgiven. But from where I sit, it’s looking more and more like the death of a personal lockout. Welcome back, hockey. Don’t screw it up.