Penalties: UP 44%
Attendance: UP 4%
Ticket Prices: DOWN 7.5%
Except for the penalty number which I suspect will go down as the season progresses those are all positives.
Speaking of ESPN they may no longer have the TV contract for the NHL but to compensate they got into the Blogosphere in a fairly big way for opening night with contributors at a number of games. Here's some exerts:
ESPN.com's Scott Burnside checks in from Pens-Devils (7:20 p.m. ET): As a Canadian, it's still a bit startling to show up to an arena like the Continental Airlines Arena and see full-fledged tailgating going on. Sausages on the BBQ in the backs of pickup trucks or under portable awnings. In Canada, you'd never see that! Restrictive laws surrounding the consumption of alcohol, plus the fact that it's freezing cold outside most Canadian rinks once the hockey season is in full swing, makes such revelry unknown.Hockey Tailgating? Now there's a good sign.
ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox checks in from the Sens-Leafs game at the ACC (7:59 p.m. ET): As has been the tradition in Toronto, the 48th Highlanders drum and pipe band has hit the ice prior to game time, as has been the case for every Maple Leaf opening night since 1931. They will conclude, as has been a more recent tradition, with The Maple Leaf Forever. But before they do, yes, Stompin' Tom Connors has stepped out to do a live version of The Hockey Game. What can I tell you it's a Canadian thing.Here's more on Stompin' Tom Connors and his song The Hockey Game.
And finally this from the Flames - Wild game:
Johnson (9:13 p.m. ET): Jacques Lemaire is using Wes Walz, Matt Foy and Stephane Veilleux against the Iginla line, which went shotless in the first period. Iginla's looking PO'ed. You get the feeling he may drop the mitts to give his passionless side some life. ... Calgary has doubled its shot total to six in the first 3:31 of the period. ... Kiprusoff's double save on Todd White and defenseman Willie Mitchell keeps his team within hailing distance.Check out ESPN's complete Blog coverage from last night.
It like the games played last night was pretty good and also like the games should steadily improve as the season progresses.
For a look at the summaries of all of last nights games go >>> here.