It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, or it’s supposed to be if you’re a hockey fan. It’s an opportunity to take a break from the sport we love, relax, enjoy the warm weather and recharge.
Yet some fans are taking to Twitter or message boards complaining about the lack of hockey news and pining for next’s season start in October. For them, summer is the worst time of the year.
Early August is usually the midway point between the end of the playoffs and the start of the next season, which for some evidently feels like forever.
The excitement of the NHL Draft and the start of unrestricted free agency has long past, all the summer’s notable player movement via trades and free agent signings is pretty much done, so there’s little notable hockey news to follow.
On the one hand, I understand how they feel; even more so, since I rely on covering the NHL for my livelihood. August is usually a slow month, so my site’s traffic and revenue significantly drops. From a financial standpoint, I can’t wait for the start of the season. Heck, I can’t wait for September, when training camps open and there’s an uptick in player movement again, which in turn will boost my site’s traffic and revenue.
On the other hand, given what we NHL fans went through over the past year, a lazy August is just what the doctor ordered.
A year ago, a pall of uncertainty hung over the NHL, as the league and NHLPA were beginning their long, sometimes tedious, often frustrating and even infuriating CBA negotiations. By December, it appeared another season lost to a stupid, pointless lockout was a certainty.
Then came that breakthrough in early January 2013, and for the next six months, everything moved at a breakneck pace, with the league squeezing in 48 games and a full playoff season into that period.
As soon as the playoffs ended (in the last week of June), we were slammed almost immediately into a draft condensed into one day, a brief compliance buyout period, and free agency.
And oh, what a weak-ass free agent market it’s been! Apart from a frenzy of signings when the market opened on July 5, there’s been little notable action. Blame the yawnfest on a combination of the limited depth in free agent talent with the first-ever decline in the salary cap.
Considering all this, even at the risk of taking a short-term financial hit, I’ll enjoy the lazy August and the chance to rest up from a hectic, emotionally draining twelve months.
Look on the bright side. Fantasy drafts will likely start later this month, and training camps open next month.
Might as well enjoy your summer, because hockey season will be here sooner than you think. Hit the beach. Relax on your deck. Take a vacation somewhere. Go for bike rides. Barbecue. Go sight-seeing. Relax with a good book. Whatever you like to do in the summer. Whining about how far away the start of the hockey season is won’t make it arrive any sooner.
In the meantime, to maintain your hockey fix, I’ll keep tracking this summer’s notable hockey news and notes for you. It’s a dirty job (actually, it’s quite fun), but somebody’s gotta do it!