Friday, January 18, 2013

NHL Season Starts Tomorrow, Anyone Else Having Hard Time Getting Excited?

Let me preface this post by saying I am a die hard hockey fan. My wife will be the first to tell you I am pissed off when the Rangers lose until the next time they win. I watch 82 regular season games per year plus every playoff game if my beloved New York Rangers make the playoffs. When I heard the news on January 6th that the players and owners had reached a deal and the lockout was over I was super happy.

As happy as I was (and still am) that the lockout is over, I'm having a hard time getting pumped for the 2012-13 NHL season. It starts tomorrow when 28 of the 30 NHL teams are in action. I'm hoping that the second the puck drops Saturday my juices start flowing and I pick up right where I left off when my Rangers were eliminated by those scumbags their rivals, the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

But, despite the fact hockey starts again tomorrow, something just is not right. I can't put my finger on it. You see, I'm pretty much a one sport fan. I live, sleep, breathe, drink and eat hockey. I read everything I can about the NHL, listen to hockey talk radio and watch out of town games as often as I can. From the minute the Stanley Cup is hoisted in June until the minute NHL training camps open in September I miss hockey. Once NHL training camp opens up, I am super pumped for the season to start and watch every minute of pre-season hockey (you know the games we aren't supposed to care about).

This year, it's just not the same. Maybe it's the fact I'm getting old (now almost 30!). The fact I have important stuff going on in my life - a wife, a house, a career, a busy life. But, part of me knows it can't be that because I've always had other stuff going on that should've distracted me from hockey just as much and it never has.

Nope - sadly, I think a lot of the reason why I can't get pumped is because I'm pissed off. That's right - super pissed off. I don't even know who to direct my anger towards to be honest.

I'm mad at Gary Bettman. The tyrant who runs the National Hockey League, the man with all the power who despite helping grow the league and break records in all types of categories including growth and revenue has been in control now for three lockouts! Even New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, who as we know blames labor unions for virtually all things wrong in the world today, placed the blame on league leadership. No other professional league does this. Despite the fact the NHL and NHLPA have a CBA that is good for the next eight years, fans know it's likely going to be another bitch-fest between the owners and players the second the next collective bargaining agreement is up for discussion.

I'm mad at the owners because it is they who caused the disaster to begin with! Giving players guaranteed contracts into their 40s (source), signing goalies who can't wipe their ass without pulling a hip flexor to 15 year deals (source), paying guys $6.5 million to play in the minors (source), giving a 31 year old goalie a 12 year deal and then making him your backup after two years (source) and signing two players for a total of 26 years and $196 million in one day! (source) And after all of that (and a whole lot more!) they bitch and moan that the system is broke, needs to be fixed and they aren't making enough money. Boof**kinhoo!

I'm mad at the players. I may blame them the least, but they are to blame, because they get paid a shit ton of money for the most part and in the end were fighting tooth and nail over petty crap just to say they didn't give in.

I'm mad at the fans because they let to the NHL do this to them. After all of the bitching and moaning about how no one cared about them and how the billionaires and millionaires were fighting and the little guy was the one getting screwed they come crawling running back. After their empty promises to boycott everything and anything NHL they do this, this, and this.

I'm mad at myself. Mad because I know that by the time the first whistle blows on Saturday night in Boston for an offside call I'll already have forgotten how mad I am. The passion will be back like it always is, I'll be screaming at my TV for the Rangers to shoot the puck on the Power Play and by the time a Ranger is being interviewed between periods I'll be on the internet  looking for New York Rangers tickets.

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