As it was last year, camp will be intense and short before the first pre-season game, which happens on September 20 against the Phoenix Coyotes. Cuts will happen rapidly and decisions will have to be made about prospects, including Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly and Peter Holland, not to mention numerous AHL/NHL borderline players signed by the Ducks in the off-season.
The Ducks will have to get their act together quickly, because they will be taking the show on the road to start the season in Helsinki, Finland. I will also be joining them and I am looking forward to seeing how Europe agrees with them. When they went to London, England, in 2007, it had been a very short off season and the season began poorly. Hopefully this go round will fare much better.
For those who cannot make the trip (an expensive endeavor indeed) Versus and TSN will be covering the Ducks games in Helsinki and Stockholm, Sweden. It will not be their only nationally televised appearance this season, for a change.
In addition to the Europe games, Versus will also air the 11/1 game against the Washington Capitals, the 12/19 game in Dallas, the Valentine's Day game in Minnesota, the 2/26 game against Chicago and the 3/12 game against Colorado. Only the Chicago game will be home in Anaheim.
The NHL Network will air the 11/3 game against the NY Rangers, a second viewing for a national audience for the Ducks and Rangers (whom they play in Stockholm). They will also air the 2/10 game against hated rival Detroit Red Wings. Again, both of these games are away games for the Ducks.
Will we be watching games with a green verification line, shallower net, and hybrid icing? These are all possible changes to the game that are being tested at the research and development camp, using potential top draft picks for 2012. So far, the verification line would be the least controversial and falls under the "why didn't they think of that sooner?" line of thinking.
The line is placed 3" behind the goal line. If the puck is touching the green line, there is no question that it crossed the goal line. Currently, when plays are reviewed, the angles can be in question and it is not always clear if the puck did or did not cross the line. Having a "verification" line will certainly eliminate the borderline calls of did it or didn't it?
For now, it is just a pleasant thought to consider that hockey is on its way after being gone for what seems an eternity. Get those guys on the ice and let's get going!