Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Like chocolate in a traffic jam

My first actual contributing post! Here goes nothing:

What is your favourite thing about the NHL?

I know that people have probably already touched on what I'm going to write about, so forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but the intensity and the love of the game are what draws me to hockey. There is nothing more exciting than being at a high-intensity game, standing and shouting because the ref just overlooked a hold on your favorite player. I love the noise, the cheering, the booing, the cat calls and the overwhelming joy of the crowd at seeing the game winning goal for their team come with 12 seconds on the clock after a rambling fight to get to the net.

Hockey has a purity that I think a lot of other sports are missing. Take for example the ever excellent Sidney Crosby. He has been talked about, stalked by the media, and generally hyped as the next best thing since sliced bread since he was 13. Yet, anyone who has watched him play can see the intensity, the focus, and the pure love of the game that he brings with him when he steps on the ice. When he scores, he is completely happy, and when he misses the net, gets roughed up or sees a fellow teammate get knocked around, he is completely pissed. He smiles, and it's full of love for what he does.

Sure, he could be faking it and completely hate hockey, just be doing it for the money, fast cars and faster women, but I don't think so. Most of the players that put one skate on the ice have the same open drive as Sidney. I'm not saying that more material things aren't a consideration (the lockout proved some of that), but overall, hockey players play because they just love hockey that much. In turn, the fans can see this in their game, in the way they play and give themselves completely to the game...and they can tell which men don't as well.

I also love the smack. In no other game do you get fast-paced action, fights, hard hits, and a great view of a player as he makes his way to the box, swearing the entire way there (and often inside the bench...and when he comes out...and when he goes to the bench). Even on the benches the practice of talking the smack is carried out...sometimes right over an announcer (I'm looking at you, Ruutu). Even goalies get into it.

What is your least favourite thing about the NHL?

As with everyone, I have a few gripes about the schedule. I'd like to see more West coast teams come over here, and I would like to see the Pens play over on the other side as well. It would give them a bigger depth of games, more variety, and let the players and fans in each division have a chance to see some of the stars they might not be able to other wise. While I love all of the players and positions on a team, I have a soft spot for goalies...and where else can you find some of the league's best but in the Western division? I know that many other people and teams have said that they'd like to see our offensive talent (and I don't mean our ability to cat call), so why not share? I'm not talking about a huge number of games like that, since that would wear out the players, cost more, and be rather hard on the staff all around, but a few a year would be nice. Its understandable that they want to fire up some interdivisional rivalries (my vote is just to reinstate the old Patrick division and see how that works), and that is interesting to watch (anyone who followed the Leafs and the Bruins earlier this season, or the Canadiens and the Pens last week can see the effects), but I don't think it would be substantially lessened by adding a few away games to the schedule.

One little added nugget of irritation would be the high ticket prices. I know they have to support the organization and the arena, but for those of us who are not wealthy, tickets can sometimes be more than a poor student can handle. Leafs and Canadiens fans, I know you can agree to this one.


kristin said...

Love the Biron clip! Funny!! Sounds like me at a game! Except I am usually yelling "cmon bitches!" or "shoooot it!"

As far as outrageous ticket prices go, there is always the AHL if you have a team in your area. You can get ice row season tickets for the same price as an 11 game nosebleed NHL plan...

Elly said...

Biron is great, I just can't get enough of players cat calling.

I'd love to go to AHL games, but like the NHL ones, they're all 3+ hours away. We do have great college hockey teams, like UVM where St.Louis and Thomas went. Their prices aren't bad, but they sell out super fast.

kristin said...

Yikes, 3+ hours is a long way to go. I didn't notice your location until after I posted. How do you get your fix? I would have to move somewhere closer to a team!

Elly said...

Honestly...I suck it up and drive. : ) And listen to the nhl radio on the net, watch as many games as I can, and visit the bars that have center ice more frequently than my liver or my wallet would like me too.