The collective bargaining agreement has been signed and the NHL lockout a fresh but fast-fading memory.
No more talk, thankfully, about hockey-related revenue, make-whole, Donald Fehr or Gary Bettman.
The NHL promo says, "It's time." And guess what? For the Carolina Hurricanes and 29 other NHL teams, it is.
"It's go time – finally," Canes forward Tim Brent said Friday.
The Hurricanes will get the long-awaited season going on the road Saturday against the Florida Panthers. It's the first of 48 games, the start of a condensed regular season that will make, say, a three-game winning streak feel like only a respite and a three-game losing streak seem disastrous.
The Canes players, after a final training-camp practice Friday at PNC Arena, packed up quickly, as if eager to get on the charter flight to Florida.
"I'm ready and I think the guys are confident and ready to get this thing started," center Jordan Staal said. "Each game matters and will seem more important. It should be exciting."
For the first time since he entered the NHL, Staal won't be wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins sweater. Traded by the Pens to Carolina in June, he has waited month after month for this moment, enduring the frustration of the long lockout.
On Saturday night, Jordan Staal will join his brother, Eric, in the Canes' lineup for the first time. Each will center lines as the Hurricanes look to avoid a fourth consecutive season without postseason play.
Canes coach Kirk Muller said Friday he would keep Zach Boychuk at left wing on Eric Staal's line for the opener. Alexander Semin, who has look strong and sharp in training camp, will be on the right side.
It's time for Canes to play
Raleigh News & Observer | Jan 19