Wait! Where are you going? Come back!
OK, it’s true that the days immediately after the deadline can feel like a letdown for hockey fans. The buildup to the big day can be so overwhelming that it can be difficult to make the sudden adjustment to a world without trade talk. It’s only natural that some hockey fans may find themselves, at least temporarily, struggling to stay interested.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, there’s still plenty of excitement left to come in the 2011-12 season. So just to refresh your memory, here are some of the important moments that fans can look forward to over the coming weeks and months
February 28 – After several days of trying, Leafs goaltenders James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson finally extract themselves from under the team’s bus and head off to Ron Wilson’s office to find out which one of them is starting that night.
March 1 – As he continues to get settled in with his new team, Ben Bishop wonders why the Senators are suddenly enforcing this new “Goalies may only ever eat ice cream and soup” rule.
March 4 - A confused Jay Feaster tries to figure out why nobody seems interested in talking trade with him.
March 8 – Jeff Carter returns to Columbus for the first time as a member for the Los Angeles Kings and is greeted with a lengthy ceremony, if Rick Nash following him around and sobbing “Please take me with you!” all game long can really be considered a ceremony.
March 12 – The annual general managers meeting in Florida features several days of discussions between all the various GMs preparing to guide their teams into the offseason and also Pierre Gauthier.
April 7 – As the regular season schedule ends, Robert Luongo magically forgets how to be a decent NHL goaltender according to diehard fans of simplistic narratives.
April 10 – The annual draft lottery is held to determine which team will own the first selection. With the best odds belonging to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers, top prospect Nail Yakupov watches intently to learn which team he will spend the first years of his career demanding a trade from.
April 11 – The NHL playoffs begin.
April 12 – The NHL playoffs end for whichever team has to play the Red Wings.
April 21 – The Coyotes are eliminated from the playoffs in what is almost certainly their final game in Phoenix, saying an emotional goodbye to their fans in a moment that is handled perfectly since it’s the ninth consecutive year that it’s happened.
May 4 – The 2012 World Championships begin in Finland and Sweden. Every star player from a team that missed the NHL playoffs checks a TV to confirm the tournament has actually started, sighs with relief, and stops pretending to limp.
May 18 – The Memorial Cup begins, causing every fan who was all excited about their rebuilding team acquiring all those mid-round draft picks yesterday to suddenly remember that there are actually only a dozen really good junior prospects and they’ll all be gone by the middle of the first round.
June 1 – The Stanley Cup finals begin after three hard-fought rounds that lead to a completely unpredictable finals matchup that nobody could have seen coming, but spoiler alert, it’s the two teams whose goalies got hot.
June 16 – The latest possible day that the Stanley Cup can be awarded.
June 19 – The earliest possible day that the booing of Gary Bettman can end.