There had to be a beginning to the Program itself. On January 15th, LS And Evan decided to form The NHL Arena Program. I had to admit I was a bit skeptical when the opportunity first arose to become a blogger here but I quickly learned that this was a pretty cool place to get some different points of view and then some. LS of course wrote the first post about his Maple Leafs (poor guy I do feel for him..well maybe not). It was aptly called On The Mend; On The Block. From there, there was a three part series on how the Devils are a model franchise or are they? Parts one, two, and three took a deeper look into the team and maybe to a side I even didn’t want to look at.
Then we got to the All-Star game and as always someone had a thought or two about it. Gump Worsley passed away on Jan. 27th and thanks to Bill, he wrote a small piece on his passing. February came and had us exploring the notion of a goalie being a captain. As the trade deadline approached…our blogger E (great Flyers fan) opined about Forsberg and more. Fighting then came under fire till the deadline came and went. Then our LS had to chime in.
March came in and my computer died. Slapstick tried to figure out which team was the easiest for the Wings to play in the playoffs. The Pens got a new arena. We got two hard hitting entries from Bill and Ed. We started a new column called the Hockey Roundup (later would go audio). This was to help get the fan ready for the playoffs…though it took a life of its own. The month ended with Erin gloating over her Canucks making the playoffs. April was coming and so were the playoffs but first the Devils coach got sacked!! Some goalie made history, the Isles sneak in, we said goodbye to CAA, and LS made some predictions. Vacation came and went. Hell even a first round game was liveblogged. Then came the Second Round and all the predictions. Damn sometimes you don’t realize how wrong or more right you can be. We humbly introduced Blog Of The Week as May came into focus and LS interviewed some people.
Finally we got to the Conference Finals and yes I was surprised how easily the Sens defeated the Sabres but not how the Ducks defeated the Red Wings. We did some grades in parts, said some goodbyes to our teams, LS brought us on to a trend, Then finally they played for the Stanley Cup! There was a tribute to Mike Lange. May turned into June and then we had a winner….the Anaheim Ducks. Then there were some awards (some disagreed) and a draft. Mr. Stevens got in, the Monday Ice Water Cooler debuted, and then there was July 1st…the frenzy!!
There were days of free agency recaps, and offer sheets. We started a bit of a quest that was tragically cut short (thanks to wife). Penner and Souray struck oil in different ways. August came and Niedermayer and Selanne still couldn’t make up their minds…this is a recurring story…don’t worry. Fantasy Hockey 101 was introduced, we did a good deed for one of our own, the Ice Bowl was a go, and September came.
We went through something called the LSHL draft..legend has it…it was longer than War and Peace. The pre-season was wearing thin and October fast approached. But first we interviewed a Hitman and did two (that counted) in London. October came with a fire…the regular season finally hit. Along with a bunch of games came a little something called Hockey Around The Horn. A coach got canned, the blog went mobile, we said hello to The Rock, I went on vacation again, and then there was November.puppet. We introduced the world to the fantasy turkeys and lamented on Flyers’ suspensions. Finally December came, the Devils were on fire, we asked what the toughest division was, did a couple wish lists, some more team reports, Pogo screamed, and then we made him happy. Now amazingly, we are at the end. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year from The NHL Arena Program and who knows, next year may just be more special than this one.