A Few Cool Things About the NHL

The writers of SpreeGoogs were all in a state of mourning until Friday since we had no idea when the NBA was actually going to have another game (read our anguish here and here). With only nine weeks left in the NFL season, it was a legitimate time for us to start panicking at what kind of sporting fix we would get once the Super Bowl had come and gone.

Wait, what about the NHL? That’s right, hockey season always runs alongside the NBA season, and the games are usually on ESPN 2 and the highlights in the last 2:33 of SportsCenter.  Did the NHL season start yet? Apparently it has. I had to Google it to double check, though.

Since we were only recently able to fathom an NBA season, I proposed doing an NHL primer to SpreeGoogs and HardaMullin. My logic was we’d probably have to start watching hockey more since it would be the only thing on, right? And it would help to actually know something about it.

The general feedback was “You could write that post, but nobody would read it.” SpreeGoogs also noted that if I wrote a post about hockey, it would be the first of its kind on the blog – and for a reason. Constructive criticism, thanks guys.

This is not to say that we don’t like hockey. Personally, I think it is a great sport and I always have a good time going to two games (on average) I make it to each year. But there’s just something that makes the NHL terribly uninteresting. Maybe it is because none of us grew up playing it and therefore don’t really understand it that well (likely). Maybe it’s because the league’s marketing sucks so we never get any reminders that it exists (definitely). Or maybe it’s because a good handful of the players are Canadian (on second thought, that’s probably it).

So instead of an NHL primer, which apparently would have been the most boring post ever written in this blog’s history AND would have taken insanely long to write since I have no idea what is going on in the hockey world right now, I came up with a few cool things about the NHL that could potentially pique your interest in the frozen gridiron this season. Try to enjoy.

1. NHL Teams Have Cool Names

Penguins? Sharks? A couple of my favorite animals. And the Avalanche? What other sport could you name your team any of these and get away with it? The advantage of having ice be a part of your sport is that you can do some creative stuff with your team names.

Not to mention an NHL team was also named after a Disney movie. Yes, the movie “The Mighty Ducks” actually gave the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim their name. In  one of the all-time worst decisions in history, they have since changed their name to the Anaheim Ducks, and they are now 6-13-4 on the season (that last number is for overtime losses). Coincidence? I think not. Anytime you refuse the harness the transcendent energy of Gordon Bombay, Goldberg and Fulton, you’re just doing yourself a disservice.

Anyways, if you couldn’t tell, we here at SpreeGoogs love “The Mighty Ducks.” The following video needs no introduction or explanation.

2. The NHL Has Zambonis

The only thing cooler than a Zamboni is a shark Zamboni

Zambonis are just majestic to watch. They chug along slowly and methodically go to town resurfacing ice. Has a machine of burden ever captured our fascination quite like the Zamboni? Its legend only grew when it was included in Plants vs. Zombies, the most influential game of our time. I would venture to say no, and I can’t tell you exactly why. If anyone has a valid explanation, please send to me immediately.

Anyways, some fans go to hockey games just so they can see the Zambonis at the intermissions. What would make intermission even better is if the NHL fitted them with arcade-style bumpers so that the drivers could have a bumper Zamboni fest. It could become a sport within a sport, an immensely popular one at that.

3. NHL Players Are Good With the Ladies

At least its an upgrade from Tony Romo

It seems that every time I look at a gossip magazine, there’s a new story about an NHL player hooking up with a celebrity or model. This is on average once a week; sorry, I work in PR, and sometimes I have to scan for coverage in these outlets. I’ll keep my man card, thanks.

Recently, the New York Rangers’ winning streak has been attributed to Brad Richards dating Olivia Munn. Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars has been married to Willa Ford since 2007. And in an all-time coup, Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher scored Carrie Underwood. *Tipping my hat to you, sir.*

What is it? Is it the rugged/tough/bravado factor? I can only hope it is not the ability to ice skate, because in that case I am done for. My girlfriend has seen me do it, and I am proud to say she still loves me. I think.

4. The NHL Playoffs Are Full of Upsets

I did a little digging, and it turns out that in eight of the 16 years that the NHL has had its current 16-team playoff format, a No. 8 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed. And it almost happened again last year when the No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks took the No. 1 Vancover Canucks to seven games in the first round in the Eastern Conference. This is in stark contrast to the NBA playoffs, where a No. 8 seed has only made out of the first round twice and March Madness, where a No. 16 seed has still yet to defeat a No. 1 seed.

The sports fan in all of us loves a good upset, and the physical toll that hockey takes on players makes the NHL a prime setting for them. Since even the best players average only 25 minutes of ice time per game, coaches can’t simply put their top talent on the ice for the entire third period to clinch games or stem the tide during rallies.

5.  The NHL Playoffs Are Full of Beards

In 1980, the New York Islanders started the tradition of not shaving during the playoffs. Genius. The gallery below will do this pastime more justice than my words ever could.

Some of you might note that I did not include the fights in this list. You were waiting for it, weren’t you? Fights in the NHL are overrated, especially since the players are wearing a ton of padding when they go at it. Plus, who can legitimately throw punches while trying to stay balanced on ice skates? Obviously not me. Nor this guy.

And with that, SpreeGoogs has its inaugural hockey post! Somewhere, Bobby Orr is probably turning over in his grave.