Canadian NHL fans won't stay away | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaCanadian NHL fans won't stay away

Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 | 03:13 PM

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Jarome Iginla's future with the Calgary Flames is just one of the juicy storylines that could draw in the fans of Canadian-based NHL teams. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Jarome Iginla's future with the Calgary Flames is just one of the juicy storylines that could draw in the fans of Canadian-based NHL teams. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Some fans have promised to boycott. Others have claimed to have moved on and replaced the NHL with other interests. But most of you can't go cold turkey. You know you will return as soon as the curtain is raised on the 2013 season.

The sound and the fury from NHL fans was loud and clear during the drawn-out 113-day lockout.

The fanatics will be annoyed, outraged, frustrated and fuming at the NHL's third lockout in the past 18 years. The wrath was more prevalent than during the previous two, with the rise of

Twitter no doubt heightening the fans' anger this time around. Some of you promised to boycott the league when it returns. Others claimed to have replaced the NHL with other interests.

I'm not buying it. Sure, some of you will be true to your word. But most of you can't go cold turkey. Most Canadians who follow the NHL will return as soon as the curtain is raised on the 2013 season.

In Canada, it simply will be too difficult to turn away from the intrigue with your favourite team.
Here's a glance at some reasons why the seven Canadian clubs will swiftly lure back their avid supporters:


What sort of an impact will new coach Bob Hartley have?

Captain Jarome Iginla, 35, is in the final year of his contract. Will he stay or will he go?

Can full seasons from Roman Horak, Sven Baertschi and 27-year-old newcomer Roman Cervenka increase Calgary's win total enough to put them back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009?


Justin Schultz was brilliant in his time with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons, notching 18 goals and 48 points in 34 games. Can the 22-year-old defenceman carry his good vibrations from his time in the minors to the big league?

Will the time spent by Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall piling up points in Oklahoma City, goalie Devan Dubnyk's outstanding play at the Spengler Cup, as well as the world junior experience for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov help the youthful Oilers in their bid to make the post-season?

How different will the Oilers be under head coach Ralph Krueger, an assistant coach under the departed Tom Renney?

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Can the new regime of general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien swiftly turn around the storied franchise, the last Canadian team to win a Stanley Cup 20 years ago?

How much better off will the Habs be with a full season from veteran defenceman Andrei Markov, whose injury woes have kept him on the sidelines for most of the past three seasons?

What sort of contribution to the cause will be made by the added grit of Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong, and how much will youngsters Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais be able to build on their breakout seasons in 2011-12?


How much can this team improve off its surprising season of a year ago, in which the Senators not only made the playoffs but almost upset the New York Rangers in the first round?

This likely will be 40-year-old Daniel Alfredsson's swan song. Can he continue to be as effective as he was last year when he checked in with 27 goals in 75 games?

Right wing Jakob Silfverberg, 22, was having a strong AHL season with 13 goals and 28 points in 32 games for the Binghamton Senators. Some believe he will be a Calder Trophy candidate.

Can he live up to expectations?


The Maple Leafs failed to make a playoff appearance in the seven seasons between lockouts.

Will the playoff-less springs continue for the struggling franchise?

How much better will Toronto be with head coach Randy Carlyle behind the bench from the beginning of the season, and will his past troubles with Joffrey Lupul affect the play of the 25-goal scorer?

Will the Maple Leafs land veteran goalie Roberto Luongo or will they lean on the young tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens?


Can the Canucks, still the best bet to win the Stanley Cup among the Canadian contingent, rebound from their opening-round loss to the eventual champions, the Los Angeles Kings?

He says there is no timeline for his return, but how long will Vancouver have to wait for Ryan Kesler to recover from off-season shoulder and wrist surgeries, and will defenceman Alex Edler return to form after his back troubles?

How long will it take for the Luongo saga to play out?


The Jets had the 15th-best home record in the league at 23-13-5 last year. But can they play better away from their dedicated faithful, especially considering their entire road schedule will keep the Jets in the Eastern time zone for half of the 48-game schedule?

Youngster Evander Kane hit the 30-goal mark last season. But the 21-year-old forward needs to be a better teammate and buy into the team concept, especially after his Las Vegas Twitter pic kerfuffle in December. He was signed to a six-year contract at $5.25 million a season last September, but will he mature enough to keep him in Winnipeg long term?

Thirty-four-year-old Olli Jokinen enjoyed a banner season in a contract year in 2011-12. Will he be as productive and motivated after signing his two-year no-trade deal worth $4.5 million a season?

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