First, some background. Back in the mid- to late-1990's, I dove into the newsgroup phenomenon as the popularity of the World Wide Web was getting off the ground. People would write back and forth regarding issues of the day, longstanding "barstool" sports arguments, and of course, good (and bad) natured smack over rivalries between different teams. Responding to a message looking for online correspondents, I signed up to write columns for a hockey magazine called "In the Crease", which covered minor and major pro hockey through local columnists in various cities. It was a great opportunity to interact with readers from all over the world, and while it didn't pay a dime, was rewarding strictly from the hobbyist sense.
Of course, it didn't hurt when we actually scored some press passes through the NHL office to cover some games. My first was the infamous March 26, 1997 game between Detroit and Colorado at Joe Louis Arena, when Darran McCarty exacted some revenge from Claude Lemieux. The next year, I got to cover Games 1 & 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit. Game 2 ranks up there as one of the greatest games I've ever seen, with the Wings coming back twice from 2-goal deficits to beat Washington in overtime.
Later that year I got married and moved south to Indiana, with only my satellite dish to provide my link back to Red Wings broadcasts and Hockey Night in Canada. I wrote occasionally in my journal over at Slashdot regarding hockey, but mostly let other things take precedence in my life.
But after so long without writing, and especially so long without NHL hockey, the time has come to launch this column - where you'll find commentary on league happenings, speculation on what's to come and (this is your part), lively discussion between some of the most rabid fans in all of sports. The NHL and NHLPA have done a number of incredibly stupid things over the last year to wipe out a season over labor negotiations, but they can count on a hardcore, loyal fanbase that is ready for a new day.
So drop the puck, already, eh?