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Finding a kindred spirit in Las Vegas

Tuesday, 03.31.2009 / 10:28 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

 
About seven weeks ago, I was doing what I do every day, searching the Web for hockey news. I spotted a "People in the Arts" feature from Kristen Peterson of the Las Vegas Sun on artist Angela Kallus.
 
I was impressed with this part of the feature -- Other interests? Ice hockey, Scrabble and various "interest binges," including dabbling in Facebook ("Time is collapsing, so I shouldn't be") and visiting NHL.com ("more than I should.") The usual daily reading.
 
I contacted Angela by e-mail, just a little interested in her passion for our game. Eventually we talked on the phone and I came away impressed.
 
Angela is a fan of the game, not really rooting for a particular team, just enjoying the game itself. She used to live in Dallas, and as a matter of fact, she was a waitress in a restaurant where many of the Dallas Stars players would meet for dinner. She was not into hockey at the time and only realized she was waiting on hockey players when she recently saw some of the pictures of the players and coaches.
 
Although she is a fan of the game, she does have a few favorite players. This from Angela:

I can say I've been an Ovechkin fan since I first saw him. I'm not a fan girl, I am a 40-year-old mom, and I don’t sleep in Capitals pajamas or anything like that. I just love to watch hockey. The Washington-Philadelphia series last year was the best series of the playoffs. I was on the edge of my couch, literally, heart beating fast, etc. I can't wait for the Eastern Conference Finals this year and if the Winter Classic is at Fenway Park next year, I will be dying to go -- my husband is from Boston.

Oh, there's one other guy I would like to see play -- Pavel Datsyuk. Of course, even though the Red Wings annoy me. I see them play in high definition glory here at home.
 
If I could move tomorrow, anywhere for hockey, I would move to Washington D.C.

One final note, whenever I meet hockey fans here in Las Vegas (kind of rare) I feel a (hockey) kinship.
 
 
Angela was introduced to hockey when her son began to participate in a youth league in Las Vegas, and when talking to her, I realized there are many more hockey fans like her than I realized. 
 
At times, many of us get wrapped in the game 24/7 and, yes, 365 days a year, and don't really understand fans like Angela exist. From this day forward, I will be thinking of her and all the other fans of our game, those who enjoy the game and want to know more about it.
 
I wonder how many others "spend more time than they should" on NHL.com?
 
***

I mentioned last week I would highlight some of the recent e-mails I have received from hockey fans all over the world.  You can read some of them here and feel free to leave your own questions there and/or answer some of the e-mail questions, too.
 
Here is a sampling, from John, a St. Louis Blues fan:

I've been a St Louis fan since 1967 and this playoff run since the break has to rank as #1 up to this point. For all practical purposes, this team has been in playoff mode since the Boston game just before Christmas. That is where the season turned for the Blues.
 
Think where they could be in the standings if they hadn't lost nearly 400 man-days to injury. Not injury of just any players, but most of the defense and key front-line offense. Even if the hole dug the first half of the season due to these injuries turns out to be too deep to climb into a playoff spot, the future is very bright for next season.
 
If John Davidson is smart, he will lock up the kid line in early long-term contracts. These kids are the real deal and they own the third period. The line of Berglund, Perron and Oshie is phenomenal with high skill and energy. Oshie for his size is a horse. He can take hits and has pancaked guys 50 lbs bigger while he is carrying the puck! Perron is stick handler with GORILLA GLUE on his stick. Berglund is a sniper coming into his own with some of the best goalies in the League notched on his tick.
 
Andy Murray has his team is playing the most complete and consistent hockey in the League since the break. They just keep plugging along and find ways to win games.  If they make the playoffs and Mason can stay healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
 
This BLUES TEAM since the break is the one of if not the strongest BLUES TEAMS I’ve ever seen since'67even though they might not have the most individual stars of any BLUES TEAM I've watched.

 
***
 
I can't let this day go by without wishing a happy 81st birthday to the greatest hockey player of all time, Gordie Howe. I do wonder if I met him today, if he would give me a slight nudge with his elbow like he used to when I waited for him after games at the old Olympia.


Quote of the Day

The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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