Back when I wrote this plea for the NHL to do “a hockey version of the NFL’s Hard Knocks” I never could’ve imagined how great it would eventually turn out, let alone that it would happen. Last season’s four-episode lead up to the Winter Classic won an Emmy Award for a reason.

As someone lucky enough to be attending in Philadelphia this year, I’ll once again be paying close attention.

Philly is probably the most interesting team in the NHL this year after their crazy off-season. Two studs in their primes (on long-term contracts) were shipped out, an all-star goalie was brought in, and one of the NHL’s greatest players from nearly two decades ago was brought in after three years away from the NHL. And damned if they didn’t end up staying a really good team after all those moves.

And don’t look now, but the Rangers are on an absolute tear after a summer where they nabbed the big prize in free agency, Brad Richards.

The dynamic of these two locker rooms is something we can all appreciate getting to see, especially with names like John Tortorella and Chris Pronger in the mix (he’s out for a month for knee surgery, but he’ll still be around), so let’s take our first look at this season’s preview.

I’ll be doing a full recap of every episode once they start airing December 14th. Enjoy your first look!