Hockey is back and more riveting than ever

Published On February 2, 2013 | By Kathryn Tappen

Almost two weeks in to the NHL regular season and it’s all systems a go!

 After a lengthy lockout forced far too many people to twiddle their thumbs and hope for the best, the NHL is back with a vengeance.

TV ratings in the US and Canada are at record highs, there are sold out arenas league wide and the fan support is evident.

I attended the New Jersey Devils vs. Boston Bruins game on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. It was just like the good old days of years past: passionate, loyal fans, a great atmosphere and an incredible product on the ice.

There was so much discussion during the lockout about how the players were going to look after many did not even play a game for six-to-eight months. Would the game be slower as a result? Would we see sloppy play and inconsistencies on the ice? Would injuries riddle teams so much that new names would be unrecognizable to fans?

None of the aforementioned happened. Instead, what we have is the game we all love and more!

With 48 regular season games on the schedule, every single match matters most. With a string of losses, a team’s playoff hopes could be marred. It’s playoff hockey every night, and the players are delivering exactly how one might after being told for months that you can’t do what you were born to achieve.

I am also really looking forward to this year’s Stanley Cup Final, because unlike in year’s past, the two final teams would not have played each other during the regular season. The unknowns will be paramount, and the storylines at a premium. No comparisons to regular season meetings, no comparable numbers, and no bad blood, just straight up Stanley Cup Final hockey. I love it!

When the NHL returned, it was as if a weight was lifted off the shoulders of so many. It became business as usual overnight for bars, restaurants, team personnel, broadcasters, and players.

And most importantly, the fans who were directly affected and whose support allows this game to be the greatest in the world were given back the game which drives their passion.

For me, I couldn’t be happier. It’s back-and-forth with my commute from Boston to Toronto each week to anchor the NHL Network’s coverage on “NHL Tonight”. My nocturnal existence with West Coast games every single night is back in play, but you know what?

I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.  Hockey is back, and there are so many reasons to cheer.

Sit back and enjoy the final months of what will go down as one of the most exciting and riveting chases for the Cup in recent memory.

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About The Author

Kathryn Tappen is the host of NHL Tonight on the NHL Network. Kathryn previously worked for NESN as a studio host for Bruins games and as the lead anchor for SportsDesk. Kathryn is also an athlete, as she was an Academic All-American as a member of the track and cross country teams at Rutgers. She is a former record holder in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase.