yeah, that’s how bad of a hockey fan I am. I was looking at the blog stats and the recent hits are all on my “Best Hockey Songs of All Time” thread… so I figured I should check where the Stanley Cup Finals stand, and it turns out they were decided yesterday.
now, I could hide behind the defense that we lost power for 29 hours (yesterday afternoon until this evening), therefore missing the news yesterday and today and, obviously, the game last night. but the truth is that yesterday morning I didn’t even know they were heading into game 6 and the Red Wings were a game away from eliminating the Penguins.
I’m having a hard time feeling shame about this. there are precious few sports that compel me to watch the playoffs if I don’t have some kind of connection with the team. baseball? I haven’t sat through an ALCS or World Series in years, though I might watch if it was the Orioles (ms.st4rbux would be watching) or the Blue Jays (strictly for nostalgic reasons — “The Drive of ’85”, 1992/1993). basketball? I haven’t cared less since… ever. I take that back, since Michael Jordan and the Bulls won #1 and #2. I’ve watched more NASCAR in the past two years than any of baseball and basketball combined (…not that there’s anything wrong with that).
the NFL is the exception — having grown up with the CFL, there’s really no nostalgia factor. I’m sure the regular season games and the SuperBowl are broadcast throughout Canada, but I can’t recall a single memory of SuperBowls VII thru XXV. (now XXVI was a blast, drinking Brador and belting out “Hail to the Redskins” through the quaint cobblestone streets of Quebec City, all the way back to the hostel — that was after living in the US for a year, visiting Quebec with Americans on a ski trip…).
but, get this — I watched NFL playoff games (plural) every weekend the last couple of years. planned my weekends around them, practically, even after the Redskins got knocked out. the NFL just has a superior product; specifically, big games on the weekend. baseball, basketball, and hockey have to spread their games throughout the weekdays. I have to give up some of my favorite sitcoms and dramas to follow a playoff series (ok, maybe with Tivo this isn’t exactly true). football generally has top-billing on the local sports-news, so it’s easy to get a handle on what’s happening this week — and they have 5 days to hype the next game. that’s a recipe for success.
this year, my nostalgia team didn’t make the NHL playoffs, but the local team did. the Caps kept me in the playoff chase for almost 14 days — not quite long enough to grow out a playoff beard* — but that was it. when their run ended, so did mine. I didn’t watch another game of hockey this year.
OK, I’ll go to the box. I’ll feel shame. but every year, it gets easier to care less.
* Wikipedia has an entry for “Playoff Beard“, and even a section for Fan Beards; sadly, no hockey fans are mentioned.