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Players not only ones getting ready for season

by Paul Kukla
We know the season is close when we read about players organizing informal workouts to prepare for training camp. In just about every NHL city, players are gathering at local rinks to get their legs in shape and their timing down to be as sharp as possible before camps start.

As fans of the game, we need to start our informal workouts, too, in order to prepare ourselves for the upcoming NHL season.

Have you ordered Center Ice or the NHL GameCenter Live package yet? If you are thinking of purchasing a new TV, this is the time to do it. If you really care about getting the best picture possible, make sure you get your HDTV calibrated by a professional, which gives you the best picture possible.  After all, you do want to see the ice chips fly, don't you?

The sounds of the game greatly can be enhanced by adding a receiver and speakers to your entertainment system. You will hear things you never heard before and sometimes you may hear things you don't want to hear, especially when the rink microphones pick up the on-ice banter.

Also, start clearing out space on your DVR by watching the shows that have been sitting on the hard drive for months. You will want to record some games, and if you don't have the space on the DVR, that could cause some problems.

Is your viewing room cleaned? You certainly don't want a messy area at the start of the season. It would be like starting a game on bad ice. Get it cleaned and take a picture of the area after you do, because it probably will go downhill once the season starts.

One last thing you want to do is add the phone number of your cable or satellite provider to speed dial. When the picture goes out while watching a hockey game, you will want to let them know about it. Having the number at your disposal will save you from searching for it in a time of need.

There are other things to do before the season starts. Download your team's schedule to your online calendar. That way you won't double-schedule something important. You certainly don't want to plan a night on the town only to find out later your team is playing its most-hated rival on the same night.

Have you bookmarked your favorite hockey websites? If not, do so now and begin a habit of checking them on a daily basis. I even bookmark online radio stations that are known to talk hockey most of the time. If a hockey story breaks, I am able to quickly tune in a station and get the latest on that story.

One thing many fans forget about is e-mail addresses. Don't you wish you could talk to a story's writer, or have a complaint or a concern about something hockey related. Well, most websites list either the e-mail address of the writer or a general inquiry address, which will get forwarded to the person you are trying to reach. The majority of writers will respond to your e-mail, so go ahead and add those e-mails to your address book.

What I do when watching a really important game is mute everything around me. I turn the sound down on my computer -- heck, I don't want to know I have 100 e-mails or 200 tweets waiting. I put my cell and home phones into silent mode. Things can wait; I am watching a game of utmost importance and nothing else matters, until the next big game. So make sure you know how to mute things, too.

We are close, folks, so prepare yourself for the season. Get everything out of the way now. This will allow you to sit back in your favorite chair or couch (have you thought about buying a new one?) when the season starts. Preparation is the key when it comes to hockey -- even for fans.

As always, feel free to e-mail me at or follow me on Twitter.

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