Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dig: How Little Time is Lost Between the Time a Team Scores a Goal in Hockey and the Time the Puck Gets Dropped at Center Ice.

Despite what may seem like a cumbersome title, I struggled a little to narrow the scope of this here post. See, I dig hockey. But not all hockey. Mostly I just dig the Detroit Red Wings so this could have been a post about me digging the Red Wings but I'm not such a sports nerd that I retain a lot of information about each player's stats, history and skate size. I'm pretty easily fooled (surprising, I know) and someone could rattle off a bunch of statistics and numbers and junk about a player who may or may not be with the Red Wings and ask me to comment on it. Unfortunately, my comment would have to be something along the lines of "Duh". So this couldn't be a big broad topic of me digging hockey or even me digging the Red Wings.

So I said to myself, "Self, what is it that you dig about hockey if you are such a dumb-ass that you don't even know who plays what position." After much soul-searching, I realized that the thing I like about hockey is that when a team scores an all-too-precious goal, the puck is back in play before you can say Stevie Yzerman is the Man. Janet Jones (wife of Wayne Gretzky) might like to place a little wager on the over/under but that's beside the point.

Somehow, after a bunch of skating around, getting checked into the boards, losing teeth and getting into fights, the puck finds it's way into the net. Nice! The red light goes on, horns sound, fans throw hats (in the event of a hat trick) or an octopus (if it's the Wings scoring) and there is a change of players on the ice. But that's it. There ain't 16 commercials for things you don't need, there ain't much comment by the announcer dudes with their Canadian accents and there sure ain't a marching band or Janet Jackson exposing herself. Within about two minutes, those crazy kids are playing hockey again. Beautiful!

Let's pretend I looked up on-line someplace the average number of goals per NHL game and found it to be 4.3 (we have to pretend because clearly my time is too valuable to waste on such things). With so few goals, you would think that any time the netminder lets one through the five-hole there would be all kinds of analysis, discussion and general wasting of time. Isn't that what the NFL would do? John Madden would fire up his telestrater and blather on and on about who missed a tackle and the condition of the turf and the barometric pressure. There would be replays up the wazoo for even the most boring 2-yard run up the middle. And lets not forget the commercials. Some before the extra point, some after the extra point, some before the following kick-off and finally some more after the kick-off. The NFL isn't called the No Fun League for nothin'!

See, the kickoff after a score in football is to give the other team a chance to re-group and it's their opportunity to even the score. Not so in hockey. If I fire a 100mph slapshot past your facemask with the sweet paintjob, in about a minute and a half I might just do it again. You want your chance to score on me? You better win the face-off, punk, because I'm not going to "kick off" to you and just let you have it. Baseball is cool that way too but there is still too much time between batters with all that jockstrap adjusting and tobacco spitting. Basketball is dumb just because there are so many baskets made. Slam dunk? Big deal - wait a couple of minutes and it will happen again. And how de-moralizing is to score a goal, win the ensuing face-off and then score another goal all in the span of a couple of minutes. Super de-moralizing, that's how much!
The NHL on TV doesn't have nearly the following that other professional sports have so chances are pretty good that you're a big fan if you're watching the game. You probably know how to pronounce Patrick Roy's last name (damn him!) and you have given serious thought to what you would do with the cup if you had it for a day. So you just want to watch some damn hockey. When your team scores, you can't wait for the puck to drop so they can score again. And if by chance the bastards who are lucky enough to be playing your team are the ones who scored the goal, you can't wait for the puck to drop so you can show those sissies who's really in charge.
Don't waste my time with kick-offs and commercials and crap, just drop the friggin' puck!
Go Wings!

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