With the first week of NHL action consuming fans at a ravenous pace, it’s amazing to note the skill, action and intensity that was missing during the lockout. Though the first few games of the season have shown the rust that a four month lockout can cause, it has reminded us of the incredible plays and efforts that make you love the game in the first place. Whether its overtime heroics like that of Nail Yakupov of the Oilers last night, or gorgeous backhand passes – perfect examples offered up by NHL leading scorer Tomas Vanek in Buffalo, and Stanley Cup hero, Patrick Kane, of the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, we can’t forget the resurgence of Andrei Markov in Montreal, with 3 goals in his first 3 games back, and how about Eric Staal or Patrick Marleau? Staal recorded his 13th career hat trick against the Sabres last night, while Marleau picked up another two goals to add to his league-leading 6 goals in 3 games. With players still missing a step or two, the hits are flying and tempers are flaring as well. Wild as it may have been so far, things will only get crazier as the season winds on and the playoffs get even closer!