The Quiet Before The Storm

 

My friends and co-workers have been very concerned about me lately. None of them have come forward to ask if I was okay, but I can sense it. It is not that I had become quiet or withdrawn because I have always been quiet, preferring to listen rather than talk, ‘eavesdropping on silence’ is what my dad called it. But they were treating me with kid gloves as if I had suffered a loss.

The hockey season had come to an end and they were worried about what I would do without hockey. Let me assure all of my good friends, that this is just the quiet before the storm, a brief break before the immensely tense fortnight that precedes every season.

This years’ off-season will begin like many others. On June 20, the NHL will have their Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas (still on my ‘bucket–list’ of events I want to attend) and put to rest the 2011-12 season. Two days later the league will hold the 2012 NHL Entry Level Draft and a new season of hope will begin. Arenas around the NHL will be hosting  ‘Draft Parties’ to announce and welcome their teams respective first round picks (an event I will attend this year and remove from my ‘bucket-list). Three days after the draft, on June 25, qualifying offers must be given to existing free agents. On July the first, free agency begins, and my phone will prove its’ worth keeping up with all the tweets, and messages that I will receive that day.

This years’ off-season will begin unlike many others. On September 15, the NHL’s agreement with the players, which have made the league the success it has become, expires. More players given qualifying offers will opt for contracts abroad than one would normally expect. Talented players such as Mark Katic, Ty Wishart, Justin DiBenedetto and Rhett Rahkshani, to name a few, might be lost to the elite teams of Europe or the KHL.

This years’ off-season will be one of the most unique in recent memory for Islanders prospects. A June mini-camp that precedes the draft could be a make-or-break competition for a lot of players. The gifted that survive will move on to the regular pre-season camp and battle again for a roster spot or a contract on either the Sound Tigers or the Isles. It will be a very interesting few weeks for Islanders' and Sound Tigers’ fans alike.

I am fine, just anxious for the storm and next season to begin, and thanks for caring.

 

- Mike Flannery

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