Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The NHL Pre-Season = Sam Is a Shiny Happy Person Again.

The game: Toronto vs. Ottawa. Hopefully Portland Winterhawk Brad Ross' new employers will see fit to guide the team to a better outcome than last night's shutout loss to the Senators. And indeed they are well on their way, complete with some serious fighting. Yep, Brad is definitely a good fit for the Leafs. But hello Ottawa, where is Peter Regin? I had one crap-ass day at work, the least you can do is give me some very honkin' tall Danish pretty boys to look at.

And across town in Ohio: NHL 4th overall draft pick Ryan Johansen made his debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. Alas, he did not get on the boards, but the only thing more exciting than watching from a downtown bar in Portland with fellow fanatics when Ryan was picked is watching him suit up for his new employers. And right smack dab in between Rick Nash and R. J. Umberger. Do I care that they lost to Washington 6 - 2? Do I care that Ryan didn't score? Ummmm....let's see... plus one, carry the three, divide by A quasi-hometown boy is out there living the dream. Game on and stop worrying about the stats, my little bean counters.

Speaking of's late and I really don't want to read another paragraph about contracts and hockey ages and entry-level compensation. So tonight I will just leave you with this moral of the story:

Life: I love the way the media coverage of rookies/draftees is all about stats, will they be returned to their junior team, are they ready for the NHL, are they good enough, blah, blah, blah. Excuse me, what do the rest of us who have never played in the NHL, never coached in the NHL and never been on an NHL payroll know about it, exactly? And who are we to judge? I can barely stand up on two skates, let alone skate and shoot at the same time. If I tried to, I'm pretty sure Vicodin and an emergency room would be involved. If I stressed out over hockey the way some fans do, I'd cease to enjoy it. So maybe I am a freak, but here's the deal:

Hockey is what we live for. It's what we love. It makes even the worst day worth living. And tonight, somewhere out there, young boys who just graduated high school are proving that yes, Virginia, you can live your dream. Perhaps rather than telling them how they ought to be living, playing or talking, we should be learning from them. They're not expanding their waistlines and shrinking their minds and giving up. They haven't sold out and they haven't given in. Why should they? For that matter, why should anyone?

Next time you feel the urge to pass judgment on your favorite players, may I suggest you take the time to remember the following before doing so: Did you live your dreams today, even for just a little while? Did you work out and keep your body in shape and operating at its very best peak physical condition? Did you go to bed at 8:30 the way Zach Parise used to when he was little because he read that that's what hockey players did the night before games? If you did, then good for you, judge away. But if not, may I be so bold as to suggest we suspend judgment until we have risen to the occasion ourselves? These boys left home at an early age, spent the latter part of their high school years in strange towns living with strange people and gave up pretty much everything to be where they are. Unless we have done the same or better, it is not our place to decide whether they are good enough, ready enough or smart enough. They made it. They did it. They got the dream. Be happy for them. And that for a little while, through them we get to be happy too.

There I said it. It's the shiny happy people entry. I feel better. And I promise to never, ever do it again.

Next up: Article 10, Free Agency.

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