As a Faceoff-Factor writer, I’m not a professional. This is a hobby — and one that I thoroughly enjoy.

But even I, as a committed and dedicated hockey fan, find it difficult to drum up topics to discuss as the offseason progresses into and through the late summer months.

Let’s be honest, not a whole lot happens, especially when your focus is on one specific team.

That being said, I find it difficult to excuse the NHL, a professional entity with unlimited resources, for a complete lack of focus during the summer when it comes to NHL Network programming.

How many times can I — or should I be expected to — watch the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs? At some point in mid-July I stopped paying attention to the channel, which clearly lacks leadership.

Would it have been that difficult to run a 30 minute daily show each evening? You can’t tell me that the hockey world is so dead in the summer that Brian Duff and David Amber would have zero material to cover.

The last episode of the network’s news-related programming came on the first day of free agency. Apparently no players signed new contracts or were traded on July 2 or later.

Why not analyze the signings and trades throughout the summer, focusing on how teams improved or regressed? How about coverage of the NHL’s Research and Development Camp? And what about the NHL Prospects tournaments?

The fact is, even if absolutely nothing happened after July 1, there are 30 NHL teams. By my estimation, an entire month could be taken up if the “On The Fly” crew spent one day per team analyzing the offseason and previewing the upcoming season.

Instead, we got nothing. No “NHL Live,” no news segments, and no new non-news shows/specials. Heck, we didn’t even get classic games that might have provided a slight change of pace.

Fortunately the drought has ended with the start of preseason hockey. We as hobbyists now have something to talk about without relying on the mainstream media to provide topics.

It’s nice to be back!