Since I started blogging for NHL.com, I estimate I have received more than 20,000 emails from readers. I have tried to respond to most of them. Now, it is my turn to ask you some questions and your reply would be greatly appreciated.
I receive numerous e-mails on a weekly basis from fans of teams that are struggling. My message is always the same -- give it some time, things can turn around and turn around quickly.
Now, it's my turn to ask some questions. Here goes.
* My question to you is this -- How do you feel about both the short- and long-term picture of your team? Do you see enough positives to prove to you that your team has a bright future?
* The first two years after the lockout, fans were contacting me, complaining about the lack of physical play in the game. Lately, those e-mails have subsided. Do you feel the game needs more physical play or are you happy with it as it is?
* I receive e-mails from certain fans on a regular basis, often two to three times a week. Most ride the team roller-coaster, like most of us. "My team is playing terrible" is the first email of the week, then a victory comes along and the next e-mail states it looks as if they are turning it around, only to be followed with a third e-mail after a loss. Well, back to the drawing board.
With that in mind, do you live and die with your team on a nightly basis, or do you go with the flow and just want to be entertained when you settle in to watch?
* I am a little surprised by the amount of e-mail I receive from Europe. Most are huge hockey fans and seem to enjoy the game itself, with no true devotion to one team. They tend to enjoy the skill and devotion of the hockey players.
I would think most of you are passionate about one team, the team that you root for. But do you appreciate the skill of your opponent or do you only wish for a victory for your home team?
* There is nothing like the atmosphere created by a sold-out crowd, big game scenario and you are there to take it all in. Now let's turn the tables. What opposing team has the most rabid fan base? A place where your team has a difficult winning and when you look at the schedule, you mark that game as a loss?
*E-mails flow in from fans unhappy with the play of certain players. How about switching jobs for a day and you tell me what player you would want to be for a day? Make sure to tell my why and the most creative response will get special recognition from me (as if that means anything).
* Reaching the playoffs is the goal for many hockey fans. Other fans have only one thing on their minds -- the Stanley Cup. Still others want to see their team improve from their previous season. So this question has to be asked -- Where do you see your team finishing this season? Remember, it is early in the season and things can change quickly.
* When I say old-school hockey, I am referring to the time period on the mid 1930s through the 1960s. Now you may think of a different period of time, depending on your age, hockey history knowledge or stories you have read about.
One thing is certain, we are definitely in the new-school hockey age. Are you happy with the game as it is today, or do you dream of the way the game was played in your old-school scenario?
* Let's switch gears for a moment and talk about actually watching a hockey game. Without a doubt, HDTV has made the game easier to follow, especially for those fans that had trouble following the puck. Do you own an HDTV and has the HD experience turned on any of your friends or family to become more attracted to the game?
* One more quick question regarding watching the game. I must say I am "Gretzky-like," anticipating the play, watching where the puck should go. Are you the same way or do you concentrate on the center of your TV screen, watching the play surrounding the puck?
* Depending on the importance of the game I witnessed, it takes me anywhere from five minutes to two days (Game 7 Stanley Cup Final last year) to get over the game. You too or do you move on and resume normal, daily activities?
I have asked enough questions. To respond, either email me at email@example.com
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