Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Lubomir Visnovsky #17 of the Anaheim Ducks is pursued by Sergei Kostitsyn #74 of the Nashville Predators for the puck in the first period of Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 13, 2011 in Anaheim, California.
Tonight for the first time in 10 months, NHL players will take to the ice in Anaheim as the Ducks face the Vancouver Canucks in their home opener.
For Jen Neale, a diehard Ducks supporter who also runs a fan blog called Anaheim Calling, the 4-month lockout could not have ended soon enough.
“I was annoyed at all the posturing that was going on,” said Neale. “I just wanted to see hockey again.”
For only the second time in their history, the Ducks are off to a 2 -0 start.
That’s in contrast to a dismal start for the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings, and to last season’s Pacific Division cellar-dwelling Ducks.
“I mean, last year the Ducks just stunk it up,” said Neale. “They were like the Lakers are right now.”
Restaurants and bars around the Honda Center are also pleased to see the Ducks return.
“The four months they were off were trying,” said Ann Marie Conroy, a manager at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Orange. “But they’re back!”
After the last NHL lockout, which wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season, attendance increased for most teams.
For Anaheim at least so far, that appears to be true this time, too: Tonight’s game is sold out.