One week to goT-minus a week until opening night. Feels like longer doesn't it? It feels like 10 years since I've seen a professional hockey game. Though that could be because I'm a Rangers fan. Ahh, Madison Square Garden: Where every day is Old Timers' Day.
The adage is that this is the best time of the season to be a Rangers fan. It's the last time they'll be in first place until next October. The good news is I'm also a Mets fan, which gives me plenty of time to watch hockey in October.
And this year, I will use it to watch the Kings.
The thing you need to understand about what kind of hockey fan I am is that I don't really hate any teams. I didn't start following hockey closely until I was 13, so I don't carry any immature reasons for disliking teams from my childhood. One of the reasons I still dislike the Dodgers is because a nine-year-old Steve decided that they were from "Smell-A." I also hate them because they moved out of Brooklyn in the 50’s and ripped my father's heart out, but I digress.
My point is that I came to hockey because I, well, simply liked watching hockey. All hockey. Even as a Rangers fan, I thought the recent Devils teams were exciting -- mainly because I liked yelling, "Ma-a-a-a-artin Brodeur." I probably wouldn't have cared much about the Devils if they had Corey Schwab as their fulltime goalie. "Co-o-o-o-oh forget it."
I don't like the Dodgers, I don't like the Lakers, and LA doesn't have football. But I never had a problem with the Kings. Less than a week before I watched the Stanley Cup land in Florida (Florida?) in 2004, I moved to Los Angeles (in time to watch the Lakers get swept in the NBA finals – yes!). But I never really had to think about becoming a Kings fan, since I have yet to live in Smell-A during a Kings season.
But now hockey is back, and I've started following the Kings. I technically started liking them in 2001 when they knocked out the Red Wings and had all those octuple overtime wins in the playoffs. If my night-intensive comedy schedule allows, I may even go to some games this season. But that is another blog for another time.
The Kings were a game below a .500 team last year. They came just five wins away from making the playoffs. And they've never won a Stanley Cup. Kind of reminds me of my Rangers.
Whoever you root for, the important thing is that hockey is back. I know I'm excited -- I hope you are, too.
I'll try to guide you through my experiences as a hockey fan this season, and I hope I'll be funnier than watching the Rangers play the Capitals. NHL.com says they gave me this blog because I have a sense of humor. Though I'm not sure if they knew I had a sense of humor because I'm a professional comedian, or because I spent 10 minutes trying to convince them that the Rangers had a shot this year.
Only 43 years left 'til they're due.