Sure… what does THIS have to do with Production / Lighting / Etc? Well, I warned you that I might fall a “little” off topic.This week, I am just in one of those moods. It’s the kind of mood you get in when you haven’t seen a professional hockey game in over a year. The last game I saw was when my beloved Calgary Flames fell to the Tampa Bay Lighting in the Stanley Cup Finals (they were robbed!).This week, my local team, the Florida Panthers, will be back in training camp. I have season tickets for the panthers, and can’t wait to see the first pre-season game! That’s right, I am actually looking forward to pre-season. I know it sounds crazy. Crazier is the fact that several months ago, I actually drove from Fl Lauderdale to Ft Myers to see a Florida Everblades game! Like any other addict, I just needed a fix!This year, the NHL returns with all sorts of changes, and I am one person who welcomes most of these changes, including the much needed salary cap. Sorry NHLers, but you were bleeding this league dry. Any sports franchise owner will lose money for a while, but only so much, and only for so long. Some of these guys were losing $20 / $30 million per year! Ask any other business to do that for the love of his game and he’ll look at you like you’re completely nuts. Why then should these owners be asked to lose money while creating millionaires out of a bunch of guys who got into this game for the love of it. Sure, there’s money being generated, but not enough to cover these salaries.I remember when the first Million Dollar contract was given out to Mr. Gretzky – who, in retrospect deserved that and MUCH more. If anyone ever deserved the largest contract it was the person who single handedly changed to sport of hockey. At the time I didn’t say that because Wayne played for the Oilers who were the biggest rival of my Flames – but now I am older, and wiser and I fully recognize what he really accomplished. Anyway, point being, he deserved that money. Most of the players nowadays who are making $2,000,000 / $4,000,000 and more would not have been able to collect a quarter of that in the good ol’ days when players were paid well – but didn’t become instant millionaires. I once heard a story that the great Gordy Howe actually drove a truck when he wasn’t playing hockey. Not sure if it’s true, but I’ve heard several stories similar. Again, these guys played because they loved the game.The big problem is that the money just isn’t there to support the salaries these guys want. Other sports such as Football and Basketball have similar multi-million dollar contracts, but those sports have huge TV deals, and other revenue streams to support these player salaries. In hockey, they don’t have the same audience, and therefore will never see the same revenues.Other rule changes have been put in place to promote offense and I am all for that. I hate 1 / 0 games in any sport. I’d rather see a 7-6 game anyday. The big change is the center line being removed. You will see passes for breakaways much more frequently now. Less stopages for offsides, and for icing. Hurray! Goalie equipment is being changed and the goal has been moved as well. In addition, the goalie will no longer be allowed to handle the puck in the same way. Some guys, such as Brodeur in NJ have made a science of this and have basically become a third defenseman with their puck handling skills.Anyway, I am absolutely frickin thrilled that we have hockey back. I know there are people who don’t agree and would rather see the NHL die. Not me. I will be there early and will be spending money on merchandise, a couple of beers – maybe even a hot dog! Hockey is my sport – and the NHL is one of the greatest sports leagues in the world. I will be there with bells on!