The 2009-10 NHL season is officially underway, the first puck drop of the season taking place in Boston where the Bruins were playing host to the Washington Capitals.
That game signalled the start once again for the chase for Lord Stanley's Mug, a quest that will end for many on April 11, 2009 when the Oilers and Ducks meet in the last regular season game of the year.
For some there will be playoff hockey and the eventual skate with the cherished Cup, for others there will be disappointment and change, much of that dependant on how they perform over the next seven months.
While the on ice activities both dramatic and mundane follow their course, there will be more than a few off ice activities to keep an eye on this year.
The fragile state of not only the Phoenix Coyotes (currently wards of the NHL but not owned according to law it seems) but a handful of other teams which may be setting a course for much the same direction as the Dogs of the desert.
During the season coaches will be fired, some will be hired, players will be traded, some may retire. Youngsters may shine and the long in the tooth may get that final tap on the shoulder that it's time.
Fans will enjoy that thrill of victory and for some the sadness of defeat, while the Television networks in Canada will find once again that Hockey season is earning season, below the 49th the NHL will battle with the tractor pulls, fishing shows and wrasslin matches seeking a slight bump in the numbers and glimpse of growth for the game.
There will be an Olympic tournament in February as Vancouver hosts the world and Team Canada tries to use home ice advantage towards its goal of Gold. A pressure that will surely test their resolve and lead the nation on to a roller coaster once again.
The puck dropped Thursday on a new season, there's fresh ice in the rink, fresh paint on the ice and after a summer of legal mumble jumble over franchise relocation, Thursday brought a breath of fresh air in that we can once again keep our stats on more than the number of legal briefs filed in the course of a day.
It's nice to have the ice back in, so lets settle in for the season once again.