The Herald Bulletin

January 9, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Start of NHL season no longer on ice


— It is a day that I thought might honestly never occur.

Granted, the day isn’t actually upon us yet, but all signs point toward there actually being an opening day later this month to the National Hockey League season.

I understand that some folks wouldn’t miss the NHL if it went away permanently. Some have gone so far as to point out they enjoy the sports highlights shows more because there is no time wasted with clips from hockey games of the evening before. Those aren’t my sentiments.

Every time the NHL goes into one of thesea work stoppages, its popularity does a freefall in the mainstream sports consciousness.

With the NHL Network available locally and with the NBC Sports Network carrying many hockey games last season, this could have been a year of increased visibility. Now the visibility will be compressed to be sure.

The date of Jan. 19 has been bandied about as a likely opening day and 48 games seems a probable length to the season. That will seeem woefully short to fans.

Hockey has been regularly available through this lockout. The Indiana Ice have been playing USHL games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The team has a dedicated, if not overaly large following. Anyone yet to experience the sport in person should try to take in an Ice game this winter.

While I am waiting, watching the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Hoosiers have been time well spent.

On Saturday, the Pacers took care of the Milwaukee Bucks in fine fashion with Roy Hibbert having his best all-around game of the season.

Then Tuesday, the Pacers faced the Miami Heat and had a remarkable win against the team with the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Indiana got a stalwart performance from Paul George. Perhaps the people who will make the All-Star decision will take note. Next up tonight is the New York Knicks with a TNT national audience.

This is a good place to admit that I really can’t wait to see what the Pacers can do when Dany Granger finally gets to play this season. The intensity of his rehabilitation has increased recently, though there is still no timetable for his return.

While on the topic of confessions, the IU men’s basketball team continues to be a source of great enjoyment.

I was fortunate to get to see most of the Hoosiers’ Big Ten game monday at Penn State. Though the visitors started the second half very slowly, they were never in any danger after a sparkling showing over the first 20 minutes.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of IU’s game is the way the Hoosiers share the ball and make that extra intelligent pass.

Defensively, the Hoosiers incorporate all of the best team concepts that make them tough to score against.

As a fan of both the Pacers and the Hoosiers, Victor Oladipo is the current IU player I’d most like to see wear the blue and gold when his days in cream and crimson are completed.