For the time being, no NHL season. Now what?

It's taking a toll on all of us. Between reading the news everyday about the chasm currently between the NHLPA and the owners, to seeing players leave for the KHL, to watching every day pass where a few months ago you anticipated your favorite NHL team to be gearing up for preseason, its bothersome.

What is our solace? How are we supposed to occupy our time with some 82 games from now till April slipping through our fingers? Now, there's a chance we could watch some NHL hockey this year. We saw the NBA muscle through an arduous CBA to eventually watch King James finally get some hardware/jewelry. It could happen, it could.

In the meantime there are a few things that hockey fans need to keep in mind. In the first place we need to keep abreast of our favorite players playing across seas. Our own Corey Allen linked up the post with current and former Pens players Malkin and Gonchar talking about the lockout and their involvement in the KHL. That's the first thing.

The second thing is keeping an eye on the players who are spending their time in the AHL. Goalies Brad Thiessen and Jeff Zatkoff, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait and forward Eric Tangradi all signed deals today. Most (if not all) of these players are potential NHL caliber players. Other players like Despres and Sammuelson should entertain us as well. It'd be in the true fans interest to keep an eye out for each of their progressions throughout this season. Also note their training camp starts tomorrow.

Finally we have another league to place our faith in, the ECHL and the Wheeling Nailers. The Nailers are celebrating their 20th season and should be sure looking at some solid players this year because of the lockout. In the past, the better players would often get a shot at the big leagues, but as of now that's not going to be the case. With NHL-esq players finding their way into the AHL, that's sure to trickle downward, which should create more interesting games in the minors.

 A word about the OHL for a moment. Two of the Penguins most recent draft picks are going to be playing for the London Knights this year, Scott Harrington and Olli Maata. As Pens offish' writer Sam Kasan notes, Harrington was names the Knights captain while Maata was named to an alternate role. Each of their leadership positions will surely be a key indicator to what they'll hopefully be able to bring to the Penguins organization someday.

And now the good news for yinz Pittsburgh locals. They'll be playing against the Erie Otters next Saturday, October 6th. Here's your chance to watch some solid prospect hockey, and for a pretty cheap price. It looks like tickets are going to be around $13 a piece. It sure beats going to the movies (unless it's to watch the Dark Knight rises again, of course). 

So there you have it, some things to think about and watch for as we eagerly wait for our favorite sport to come to an agreement.


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