By Brian Metzer
In searching for the words to describe today, one need look no further than the words of the great Badger Bob Johnson: “It’s a great day for hockey!” and today will be a great day for hockey as the National Hockey League finally makes it return to the ice.
The day will be celebrated with the first games of what is sure to be one heck of a shortened season. The games kick off at 3:00pm and continue through the late starts on the West Coast this evening.
Hockey fans will be able to get a look at almost every team in a jam packed first day and will be treated to hockey for 99 straight days as the league works through its 48-game schedule.
With the return of hockey, things will be ramping back up here at FTP. I have gotten confirmations from some great friends (who are also great writers) that they will be coming back and/or joining the team.
Here is a bit about the group:
Pittsburgh native, Metal/music fan, sports fan and all around great guy, Dan Scifo, will be bringing you all of the “Scifo on the Pens” stuff that you have come to know and love. The Assistant Editor of the Latrobe Bulletin Newspaper will continue to break down Penguins’ games as only he can, but he is also looking to bring a bit more insight in some different ways this season. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what he has in store.
Al Willig, who has enlightened me on the magic of the band RUSH and become a good friend, tends to jump in with news, info and opinion on the Ottawa Senators. However, if I know him, he be returning to his ESPN.com roots in bringing some Fantasy Hockey flavor, providing general commentary on the league, as well as participating in our group collaborations.
Though he is a Flyers guy, Keith Filling has been a great friend for many years. I believe that we met sometime during my first year writing over at Hockey Buzz and developed a great friendship over the years. He also helped me found and continuously maintain the epic IOMTHL Dynasty Fantasy League that we dreamed of building many moons ago. Filling has a great mind for the entire league and fantasy hockey, is a big music fan (starting with RUSH) and you never know exactly what he’ll be touching on when he submits a piece. I look forward to his insights and commentary throughout the season.
One of the busiest guys in the league, Patrick Hoffman, might also chime in from time-to-time on the site. He is one of my oldest friends in the business and our friendship goes back at least six year. You have seen his general NHL works over at NHL Network Radio’s website, Sportsnet.ca and Kukla’s Korner, as well as his Rangers coverage on sites to numerous to mention. He is a great hockey guy and an even better human; I look forward to working with him.
The PUGGER, Todd Wyant, will also be back in the fold. I never know when he’ll pop up with some off-the-wall idea or a GM’s Inbox (w/ Eric Blevins), but he is a student of the game, who has become a great friend. He, not unlike the others I have assembled, is a huge music fan and accompanied me to the “Big 4″ concert at Yankee’s Stadium last year. He has followed hockey most of his life and has great information, but is afraid to add some levity to the situation. Great to have him back in the fold.
Last but certainly not least, newcomer Jason Huskins will be joining the team. Jason has long been a Penguins’ and hockey fan, but I have watched his passion for writing grow over the last year or so. He started his blog, Random Rants, to share his thoughts on movies, TV, music, sports (hockey), and his love of all things Marvel Comics. He has become a great friend and has an ability to get me excited about things. I hope he’ll be able to do the same for you. I am thrilled to add him to my crew.
You will start to notice that we aren’t just covering straight hockey here anymore. Sure that will be the focus, but there will be general commentary on some other things if one of the writers is feeling froggy. The pieces will be marked “non-hockey related,” “Tangential Realty” or something along those lines. It is a work in progress! Never fear though, hockey will definitely be the focus and we’ll have a lot of it.
In addition to my work here, I wanted to share some other things that I will be doing this season. They are as follows:
NHL Network Radio (SiriusXM) - Pittsburgh Penguins Correspondent
TSN 1050 Toronto - Pittsburgh Penguins Stringer
PensWeek Co-Host (Penguins Radio Network) - I will be co-hosting this show on Saturday mornings at 9:00am EST with Bob Grove of the Penguins Radio Network. The show will air on 105.9 the X, Penguins 24/7 and ESPN 970 AM here in Pittsburgh. All are available to stream online as well.
Beaver County Times - contributing writer – assisting Chris Bradford (Beat Reporter) with coverage throughout the season.
NHL.com - Will be writing the fantasy column “On the ‘D’-fence” again this season. It will run on Wednesdays.
PensLive on Penguins 24/7 - Regular contributor with weekly appearances.
TribLive Radio - Regular contributor with weekly appearances.
It should be a big season here and around the National Hockey League and I am looking forward to getting to work. Thanks again for all of your support over the years; hopefully the site can continue to be a part of your daily Penguins/NHL internet surf!
Al will get us started with an in-depth look at the Senators. It’ll be posted shortly.
Enjoy the action today!