Huffing Zamboni Fumes

Aw NHL Naw: The only hockey column blessed by the new Pope!*

by Dan MacRae

*Legal Note: The self-proclaimed Pope that blessed this column was a dude with two eye patches made out of Rice Krispies boxes. He threw a half-finished Ginger Ale at me on the bus. I believe his name was Dale. God bless him.

MEET ME HALFWAY

The 2013 NHL regular season has passed the halfway point. Exciting stuff, right? We did it! We’re halfway to our goal! WE’RE GONNA SAVE THE YOUTH CENTRE, 1/2 PRICE SMOOTHIES FOR EVERYONE etc.

Now put away the 2013 first-half-of-the-season commemorative plates, everybody. Things are going to be moderately different for the second half.

The first half of the season doesn’t mean shit this year. If you’re a Florida Panthers fan (which is like being a “despair fan” or an “I dropped my cheeseburger behind the washing machine fan”), your crappy team can still make the playoffs. As I type this, the Panthers are only eight (eight!) points out of a playoff spot. Shit, your beer league team is probably only 14 points away from the top spot in the Southeast Division. (Yes, even with Geoff selling his goalie equipment for meth again.)

Shortened season fever: catch it!

ADDITIONAL FLORIDA PANTHERS GRRR, SWIPE, WTF NOTE

Six of Florida’s 20 points this year have come from overtime/shootout losses. This is because ice hockey is dumbcakes sometimes. The National Hockey League awards one point for an overtime or shootout loss because a team has “earned” that point. I understand handing out a point for a game that ends in a tie or distributing additional points during The Great Depression, but there’s no need to give teams a point for a loss because “NICE HUSTLE, FELLAS.”

I’m like 60 per cent sure that each franchise pays players for their hockey services.**  Hockey players are tough. They can handle the loss of a charity point. The NHL could give the leftover points to needy families.

**Exception: the Phoenix Coyotes. In Phoenix, each player gets to pick something from behind the glass at Ruckers. (WHAT ARE YOU DOING, DAVID MOSS? YOU CAN’T FEED YOUR FAMILY WITH KOOSH BALLS!)

THE LONELY ISLAND

Speaking of ice hockey good-at-it-ness, does anyone else feel bad for John Tavares? I mean, I have it on good authority that Tavares is compensated for his services in U.S. currency and not Nassau County’s, but it is just plain heartbreaking watching the dude carry the Isles on his back. It’s like Wolverine slumming it with Alpha Flight or Nightcrawler hanging out with Excalibur. There’s more important work coming to you in the future, John. Y’know, provided that bits of Nassau Coliseum do not collapse on you and your hands aren’t gnawed off by rats while you’re trapped under a rotting arena rafter chunklet.

(In my clunky Excalibur analogy, Travis Hamonic is Meggan. Please feel free to point out the flimsiness of this comparison in a letter to the editor.)

ROUGH TRADE

The trade deadline is coming up in a couple weeks *throws confetti in the air*. So get ready for loads and loads of trade rumours that aren’t based in reality (Claude Giroux to [whatever Canadian city is reporting the story] for two prospects and a unicorn!). Sure, trade deadline day is all sexy and exciting as an idea, but in practice it becomes “hope you like Mike Commodore being a thing day” blue balls in a hurry.

It’s probably impossible to watch any trade deadline stuff as a Flames fan. The Flames have committed to never rebuilding. Nope. No future for Calgary, thank you! Presumably, Flames management somehow has information that proves the future is for Terminator robots, not human beings (Harvey The Hound will lead a scrappy resistance but it won’t pan out).

Seriously: JUST FUCKING REBUILD, YOU GOOFY FUCKS! Who is this 9th Place Fever franchise strategy benefitting? Jarome Iginla could be made out of papier-mâché and some dumbass franchise will still trade you draft picks for him. TAKE THEM. Get your Orange Juice on and rip it up and start again. Give people hope, for goodness sakes.

Shit, at least fans of the Islanders and Blue Jackets have the illusion that things will get better. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, N. MURRAY EDWARDS? CHARLES WANG LOOKS LIKE FUCKING MOSES COMPARED TO YOUR OWNERSHIP GROUP! I HAVE TO WATCH YOUR SHITBALL TEAM SOMETIMES AND IT IS JUST THE FUCKING WORST! YOU ARE THE AIRPORT APPLEBEES OF HOCKEY FRANCHISES!

Start over, you ridiculous cowboy dicklicks!

I’ve given up on believing in trade deadline day. It’s not fun anymore. It’s a slog. At least with March Madness there’s gambling and booze and pretending you give a fuck about student athletes. (GO WHATEVER SCHOOL HAS THE LEAST ASSHOLEY MASCOT!) Trade deadline day is just a day where you try to mentally will your team not to make the terrible trade that you know they’re just gonna make anyway. (The Jets are gonna trade Evander Kane to the Blues for a bag of flour and a two-four of Standard. You heard it here first.)

I can be drunk and angry with TSN anytime. I don’t need a special graphic and a day on the NHL calendar that grants me that right.

Dan MacRae is eating Twizzler Pull-n-Peels as you read this. His life is on fire. You can follow him on Twitter: @danmacrae

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