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Leonsis expected it, citing his dealings with fans from last week’s open practice at Verizon Center. He wasn’t worried about the effect the lockout would have on the Caps.

“People understood. People knew were we going to come back,” Leonsis said. “And they’re back. We’re sold out. They’re happy. They’re happy to be here amongst their friends.”

General manager George McPhee was happy just to have hockey back. His hope was that fans were just as happy.

From the early looks of things, they’re excited for the return of the NHL.

“They’re fanatical fans. They miss the players,” Leonsis said. “I forget the energy that the fans bring to you.”