With pre-season underway, many people are definitely hyped up that the game they love is back. Plus, it also allows people on social media sites to be done with the annoying "Is it October yet??" battle-cry that makes me all stabby and what-not.
Even with the game back, it definitely doesn't feel the same. If anything else, the only good thing about the pre-season is just to see what your team has laying in wait for whenever players are traded or injured. More often or not, I'm usually watching pre-season games wondering who is wearing those unusual numbers ("Is that a fraction on the jersey??") and then wondering how long it'll take before they're sent back to the AHL or juniors.
That said, you will have stories like Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets, who has had a great rookie camp and pre-season-- it almost makes him someone to watch and see if he sticks with the main squad for the whole year. Scheifele was the first pick ever from the newly formed Jets and would have a great story behind him if he can keep it up. Oddly enough, though, I haven't heard much about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recently, which could be either good or bad depending on how you look at that.
More over, the big deal is that the pre-season allows teams to play in different locations. Last night, there was a game in Baltimore, while the rest of the month brings about locations like London, Ontario; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Orlando, Florida; Albany, New York; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Those are cities that may not get to see the NHL during the regular season, so I can actually see the excitement and hype that will come from those games.
In addition to that, these games are probably the only time some fans are able to afford a game since regular season tickets are pretty crazily priced.
The biggest risk in these games are with the star players on the team playing in the exhibitions probably getting hurt (especially in the neutral site games) or star players not getting enough time, then really getting off to a slow start. Even so, you hear guys like Jarome Iginla having nagging injuries at the start of camp; which will have fans waiting with bated breath when it comes to their return.
There's a lot of drama that comes around the pre-season and it's great reporting for the people who have starved for actual news during the summer. It's game action, it's something other than speculation to worry about, and it gets people ready for the impending weather change. It may not be my cup of tea, but at the same time-- guess it's better than nothing, right??