Monday, November 10, 2008

Greetings and Salutations

Good Evening HLOG!!!!!! Gray and I are super excited to be able to bring our brand of blogging to the wonderful readers and ladies of this site. Before we start inundating you with stories about why the San Jose Sharks are amazing (and trust me, you'll grow to love them.....or maybe just us), we felt it only right to let you know what you are getting into...

We are the ladies of Couch Tarts, a wonderful site full of Gray's cartoons and Mina's attempts to sound like she can analyze hockey stats. We will be posting as one entity, but will sign and tag our posts so you can know who to praise or blame.

Meet the incredible Graydarka

1. Where you're from, what you do - basic things.

San Francisco Bay Area native by providence, artist by day, sports fan 24/7.

2. Your team and why you like them.

The San Jose Sharks. It's sort of like Doctor Who; you have the greatest attachment to the Doctor you saw first. The Sharks were the first hockey team I saw play in person. Mina dragged me to the 2005-2006 home opener because she had an extra ticket. I enjoyed it and went to 5 or 6 more games with her that year. By the end of the season, I was hooked. It helped that I got to attend some amazing playoff games that cemented my new found love for the sport. Baseball has seemed slower and more laborious ever since.

3. Your least favourite team and why?

The Ducks. I'm a Sharks fan, hating the Ducks is required.

4. Your favourite player of all time & now?

My current favorite players are Ryane Clowe, Jeremy Roenick and Kyle McLaren, despite his being demoted to the AHL. Nabokov also won himself a place in my heart for being absolutely-frickin-amazing this past season.

I don't have an all time favorite yet. I think one needs a few more years of fandom under their belts before they can declare a lifetime favorite. (As a side note, I have been watching baseball for many years and I still don't have an all time favorite player in that sport. Don't expect an all time favorite for hockey any time soon.)

5. Which hockey player is your least favourite and why?

Chris Pronger. Sometimes I feel like he plays in a disrespectful manner and I find that very off putting. I'll leave it at that.

6 What do you hope to gain from joining HLOG?

To be able to meet and discuss hockey with fellow fans. Most of my friends aren't fans of any sport, so it would be nice to be able to meet and discuss hockey with people who are actually interested enough to not tune me out after 5 seconds. Being able to help advertise the fact that the Sharks, (and hockey in general), have a loyal female fan base would be an added perk.

7. What role do female fans contribute to the game of hockey? What does female fan support do for the league/team/player she supports?

Female fans seem to be pretty loyal and supportive of their teams, even when things get rough. We can be extraordinarily passionate and I think we cheer the loudest at games. We demand excellence from our players, both on and off the ice. We go to meet a greets, support the charitable events the team is involved in (man, does Mina buy a lot of mystery pucks!), and we tend to be the ones buying sweatshirts, shirts, license plate holders, stickers, jerseys/sweaters, etc for no only ourselves but the other fans in our lives. We make the signs you see during playoff time and yes, some of us even help fill up the time between periods by dressing in tiny outfits and "dancing" during the section dance offs. Anything to get on that jumbotron.

8. Hockey just isn't the same without __________!

PANTS! Lady who only wears tights, (no really, TIGHTS, not even leggings TIGHTS), and a oversize shirts to Sharks games, I'm talking to you. And could you stop with the tights and the ankle boots? We're not in the 80s anymore.

9. If you could make your own team, regardless of whatever players, what would it be called and where will it be/how would it be like?

It may or may not involve ice skating cats. It depends on whether or not could get pads in the proper size and if I could amass an army of willing, ice skating felines in a relatively short period of time. Uniforms would be green. To reduce the chances of cat scratch fever breaking out during fights, all players would be required to wear soft paws at all times. The team would be located in the Bay Area at a custom made rink, perhaps an add on to Sharks Ice in San Jose. I'm not certain what the name would be but it would adequately reflect the fear that ice skating felines would strike in the hearts of their competitors.

10. Who gets your squee and why? (keep it short & sweet, y'all!)

I try to keep my like of the players to pleasant and respectfully distant levels. I did have a ridiculous attachment to Vesa Toskala, or was at least very enamored with the idea of a Toskala jersey/sweater but he's gone now and I've moved on.

Meet the fantastical Minako

(It's never a good idea to give open ended questions like these to a history major. It's like our catnip. I tried to keep it short…but I've never been good at that.)

1. Where you're from, what you do - basic things.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, born and bred where hockey isn't a major sport. My dad raised me a baseball and football fan, but my college roommate took me to my first hockey game in 2001 and I was hooked. It started out as a nice sport to help pass the time between the Super Bowl and Spring Training. But soon I came to love the game more and more; it had the physicality that I loved in football and the tension and anticipation of baseball. Soon it became my primary sport and I was live blogging the NHL Entry Draft. Crazy.

In my "spare" time, I teach high school social studies to students in a performing arts academy and do all the "fun" tasks that go along with teaching. I also play hockey in a local recreational women's league. Other than that, I spend an alarming amount of time hanging out with my computer, my TV, and my cat.

2. Your team and why you like them.

The San Jose Sharks are my one and only team. Being in Northern California, I have limited access to hockey, so it was realistically the Sharks or nothing. As I went to more Sharks games, I fell more in love with the team and the game. It is important to know I was once described as a drinker of the "Faithful Kool-aid" when it comes to my sports teams. I love the Sharks when they win, I love them when they lose, I love every player who puts on a Teal sweater (whether or not I like how they play is up in the air), and I love the orange on the new sweaters. Since I am not unreasonably fanatical in my support (I like to think of myself as being able to be reasonable when it comes to criticizing my team), I have learned patience in the moves that they make and in how the season unfolds. I want nothing more than to have them lift the Stanley Cup, but I am able to try to enjoy every game for the experience it is.

3. Your least favorite team and why?

I have a game of NHL Monopoly that I didn't open for about 2 years for one reason: I had the hardest time deciding which team should be Park Place. I have never had a great deal of interest in Easter Conference teams and most Western Conference teams have given me reasons to be bitter with thing. Some teams have defeated my team in the playoffs, some have former players playing very well, and others just win too damn much. However, hands down, my least favorite team has to be the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks. Some of the dislike comes from playing them 8 (and now 6) times a year, part of it has to do with players I don't like (Selanne, Pronger, Bertuzzi), and part of it has to do with them being the first California team to win the Cup. Most of my dislike is of the Anaheim fans, not the knowledgeable ones, but the ones who showed up only once their team made the championship round and stole a championship from my team (yes, I am still bitter with the 2002 World Series). The smart, non-bandwagon Anaheim fans still have my respect.

4. Your favorite player of all time & now?

I wasn't watching hockey at all when the "greats" (Howe, Lemieux, Gretzsky, etc.) were playing so my "of all time" is decently limited. However, following my general favorite player trend, Mark Smith, late of the Sharks, then Calgary, and now musician (*cries*), is my favorite hockey player. During my first Sharks game, a player went hard into the boards and had to be taken to a local hospital for observation. When they flashed his picture later in the game to report on his condition, I fell in love. But he worked his way to favorite player status with his hard work and consistent all out play. He will never be the best player on the ice, but you'll be hard pressed to find someone who works harder than him. When he moved off to Calgary, I found myself current Shark from the same mold as him in Torrey Mitchell. Then again I am a sucker for a guy who scores goals like this and takes his team photo with a mouse under his eye.

5. Which hockey player is your least favorite and why?

There are several players who have given me cause to be bitter with them over the years. Realistically those guys are players who have harmed a Shark in some way. Raffe Torres (for his hit on Milan Michalek), Teemu Selanne (for being a terrible waste of a contract with the Sharks), and Jordan Tootoo (for destroying Cheechoo) are three players who I am no longer on speaking terms with. However, my least favorite player has to be Chris Pronger. When I was first becoming a Sharks fan, I was told by my friend that I was to boo Chris Pronger every time he touched the puck. "Why?" I asked. "Just because. He sucks," I was told. I have held to that idea ever since, though to be fair, he has earned my ire over the years with his elbows of doom.

6 What do you hope to gain from joining HLOG?

I hope to gain the chance to have a community of intelligent hockey fans to be able to discuss the game with. The fact that these fans are female is simply icing on the cake. I make no secret of my general ignorance of the majority of teams in the Eastern Conference (even when I was dating a Senators fan) and I look forward to getting to know more about those teams from their fans. I also want to increase people's understanding of the Sharks beyond Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. In addition, I am looking the credibility that goes along with those who are selected to be part of this community. Selfishly, I hope this will help me on my way to internet celebrity and world domination.

7. What role do female fans contribute to the game of hockey? What does female fan support do for the league/team/player she supports?

Honestly, I don't think that there should be a difference between male and female fans in terms of what they bring to the game. All fans love the game and the players and they all contribute to supporting the team in their area. However, as is the nature of things, girls are different from boys. I think in many ways women are more emotionally attached to their teams and the players on it. I think female hockey fans contribute their passion and intelligence to the game. Just because female fans have favorite players who are hot does not make us the kind of girls who will give up our dignity and self worth to be with one of those players, which I find as a misconception. Cause seriously, just cause we are intelligent fans doesn't make us blind, I just think it makes us special.

In terms of what female support brings to the league/team/players, it often times boils down to the power of the purse. Women purchase tickets to games for themselves, their children, spouses, and friends. They purchase the swag and other merchandise (don't even get me started on all the mystery pucks I have). They support their favorite players by buying sweaters and showing up at public appearances. And for the league, women could be considerably more valuable than men for they are raising the next generation of hockey players: taking them to games, buying their gear and other equipment, and preparing them for playing at high levels, including college. However, I have always maintained that I would prefer to be thought of as a hockey fan first and a female hockey fan second as the later often is seen as some kind of circus curiosity.

8. Hockey just isn't the same without __________!

…enforcers. I know that the league felt like it had to clean up the went-to-a-fight-and-a-hockey-game-broke-out image, but I think that they did a disservice with the enforcer rule. I'm not advocating head hunting hockey by any means, but I sincerely think that if there were some real physical consequences for the actions that players take on the ice. I have seen a number of hits over the last two years that probably would not have happened if players were worried about a visit from someone like Scott Parker. I believe that punishing players for sticking up for their teammates with a possible suspension is not a good thing for the game.

9. If you could make your own team, regardless of whatever players, what would it be called and where will it be/how would it be like?

I tend to like players who play hockey like me: the ones who aren't the most talented but give their all every shift. So I would probably end up with a team full of grinding, 4th liners. And I would make sure that I never sacrificed team chemistry for the sake of a great player. I would most likely have the team in a non-traditional market that would support a team, maybe somewhere like Seattle (I love that weather). As for names, since I am so terrible at naming things, I would have the fans vote for a name and let them have input on other aspects of the team, like colors and uniforms. I like to focus on my strengths and get help with the things I am weaker with.

10. Who gets your squee and why? (keep it short & sweet, y'all!)

My general love for goalies is well documented: Rick DiPietro, Veas Toskala, Cam Ward, Michael Leighton, Hot Dan Cloutier, and a small crush on Ray Emery. The rest of my list includes (but is not limited to) Shawn Thornton, My Eastern Conference Hockey Boyfriend Matt Green, Jason Spezza, Jeff O'Neill, Steve Bernier, Torrey Mitchell, and the great Mark Smith.

So there you have it. Again, we're super excited and flattered that y'all have considered us worthy of joining the group.

~Gray and Mina


Kerri said...

Welcome to both of you!

Especially my fellow history major :-P

Lucky13 said...

Welcome to the fun and games!

Gray - what kind of artist are you?

Mina - I did NOT see Henrik Lundqvist on that list - must have been an oversight ;)

Earl Sleek said...

The Ducks. I'm a Sharks fan, hating the Ducks is required.

My, my. I had no idea we were at such diametric odds with each other.

I've always had a general fondness for the Sharks, they're so cute when they lose! :)

Welcome aboard.

elise said...

Welcome, ladies! I've always had a soft spot for the Sharks (even if the do beat the Wild every single game.)

Gray - Good call on the pants.

Mina - I like Torrey Mitchell too! Excellent.

Gray said...

Sleek, you had to know we disliked your team. I mean, it's in our blood.

No seriously, they inject you with Ducks hating serum when you become a Sharks fan. That stuff gives you hallucinations for days.

I consider myself a blend of illustrator and cartoonist, if that makes sense.

Earl Sleek said...

Sleek, you had to know we disliked your team. I mean, it's in our blood.

No worries, you're on a very long list of Duck-haters. And my skin gets thicker by the day. (Hating Teemu, though? That's low. Remember--Friesen and Shields weren't any real trade prize, either.)

Here's hoping for a postseason BoC so we can properly get the blood a-boiling.

Nadine said...

Welcome, Gray and Mina! I loved reading through your intros.

Ellie said...

Welcome ladies! Interested to see how far your sharks go this year - off to a good start!

Elizabeth said...

Welcome! I've been hoping for an increased Shark fan presence here, and your intros made me so happy. Good to see I'm not the only one missing Smitty (who, by the way, has been incredibly friendly and cool whenever I've run into him at his band's shows). I adore Torrey Mitchell...sigh, each game without him has been so bittersweet for me to watch, I hope he returns quickly. And yes, I too have resented the rest of the Western Conference at one time or another for various anti-Shark infractions. Heh heh! Take care...