Stanley Cup tours are great and all, but there’s not a whole lot of excitement there for me. Ya know, a real person. The keeper of the cup, Philip Pritchard has not only the greatest haircut in the history of hair styles, but he also has the greatest job. He goes where the cup goes – hence “keeper of the cup” being typed earlier.
If the offseason were like that for the rest of us, we’d love it all the more. Why wouldn’t we? Foregoing the long waits in line at your local Meijer with the rest of the mouth breathers? Sign me up. Exotic locations with foreign women who only care because they think you have money (we’re Bob in this fantasy, not Patrick Sharp)? Deal. Bring more sunscreen. A chance to visit all nine major cities in Canada? Rampage World Tour, bro.
But, we don’t. We can’t. We have lives that sadly, weren’t plucked by the fates to allow for such extravagance. It’s okay though. I have to go to Meijer anyways for watermelon, a pack of socks, whiskey, a new easy chair, some pet fish, and maybe a book or two. Might as well lick the Stanley Cup.
Thankfully, the dark time of sad baseball, college football, and Super Bowl Bound 2-0 Chicago Bears is behind us. With the start of preseason, we can start to breathe again. Turn off the air conditioning, open a window and let the sure signs of fall rid the house of sock smell and stale beer. But don’t wash your Hawks jersey. Are you crazy?
People say preseason doesn’t matter. I say that’s why you don’t play professional sports. If there wasn’t a preseason or exhibition games, guaranteed you’d be wishing for them during the first two weeks of the regular season. Sure, you can accomplish what they do in scrimmages between Red and White, but you need the feeling of competition. You need the unfamiliar pushing back against you (are we going clubbing?). And I don’t care who you are, winning anything is a lot better than losing.
Speaking of which, the Hawks won their preseason opener 2-0. Corey Crawford pitched a 19 save shutout, Sharp and Ben Smith potted goals and a couple of Red Wings decided to end their evening early and got thrown out of the game.
Typical Eastern Conference, amirite?
Given the circumstances, you’re not going to see headliners every night. Twitter was moist with anticipation regarding Sidney Crosby’s travel plans for Thursday against the Hawks. Everyone can grab the baby powder and relax, he’s playing. Evgeni Malkin isn’t, so there’s a chance this game will be televised (because he’s a fugly, get it?).
To that end, don’t get comfortable seeing the likes of Joakim Nordstrom, Michael Kostka, or Teuvo Teravainen either. You were fine with the first two and broke a bottle over the person next to you at the mention of Tervainen, didn’t you? Liar.
Here’s the thing about Teravainen – he isn’t ready. End of story. When Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were drafted and signed, the team was still at the start menu of an organizational reboot. The Hawks didn’t have the luxury of time to allow for growth in the system. Nor were they drafted for that reason. It’s why at first glance many questioned the pick of Kane entirely. The Hawks needed an NHL ready player and they took someone who all thought was too small to compete at the pro level. Because all of these people are so damn smart.
Heading into the title defense, questions are numerous:
– How much longer before Kyle Beach is shown mercy and sent to Florida? Or the glue factory?
– We can assume playing in front of a real defense will help Nikolai Khabibulin improve his Edmonton stat line of being 40 years old, right?
– Now that the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup again, will we stop hearing about Dustin Byfuglien and his “amazing net presence”?
– How many nationally televised games will it take before we stop thinking NBC/everything hates Chicago?
– Pierre McGuire?
– Over/Under on use of phrase “2nd Line Center”?
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