I don't know about you, but I'm starting to feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas Eve. All the waiting, all the patience, all the buying into the bullshit, all the daydreaming about cool new toys — some of which are sure to break just minutes after they've been unwrapped, others that will last for what feels like a lifetime — all the silly, manufactured, frantic hope. And here we are, almost there, all of us ready and waiting for Santa to stop by, whether we believe in him or not anymore. (Santa, meanwhile, has been busy tweet-ranting about the invasion of artificial Christmas trees — when he's not busy staring at his pet goldfish, that is.)
On Saturday, the NHL season will finally kick off at 3 p.m. Eastern on NBC as the Los Angeles Kings raise their championship banner before playing the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers resume their Hunger Games–style fight to the death against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eleven other games will take place that day, all of them the sort of intradivisional rivalry matchups we'll be seeing a whole lot of during a condensed and conference-only schedule this season. By the time it's all over, we'll be stuffed and exhausted, our presents unwrapped, most of them requiring batteries we don't have. We'll be sated, but we may also be incredibly cranky. Ah, yes, the NHL will be back.