“Shut the Puck Up America”

“Shut the Puck Up America”

I got your attention with that headline didn’t I?

Usually, I pride myself in liking things that most people don’t. I think that it’s a slightly narcissistic thing that makes me feel like I’m more original because I don’t follow the masses. I realize what a ridiculous notion this is and know that this is my ego screwing with my head, and it could be a reason why I own weird jazz records, watch British Futbol, drink tea everyday, and could tell you more about Beethoven than I could about “Da Bears.”

I realize that doesn’t mean that that I’m original, it only means that I would be the first person to take a beating if I walked into certain establishments, and I think that I’m okay with that, because quite frankly, everyone needs to take a beating now and again. It keeps you feeling young.

Yet, I realize that you aren’t reading this column for a trip into my own psychological findings about myself so I’ll spare you the narcissistic jibber-jabber.

Usually, I can’t stand maniacal actions of sports fans like face painting, and sign making, especially the idiots that put Bible verses on signs. Furthermore, how do they always get the seats behind the goalposts? It’s almost as if there is a club of devout Christians who purchase season tickets to sporting events so they can spread the word of God to the millions of people watching at home on their Lazy-boys. I mean, I know that I found God because some yahoo got seats behind the goalposts and wrote “John 3:16” on a piece of poster board that I noticed while Morten Anderson was kicking a 46-yard FG in 1985, but that’s just me.

Speaking of little clubs, my friends and I are very excited about the NHL playoffs that are starting this week. Unfortunately, we still haven’t been able to find what channel VS. is on our cable dials, and I am going to call my Comcast people and ask them; but I have to wait a day or two and disguise my voice because I just gave a verbal lashing to a young lass that works the phones because they decided to cut the Fox Soccer Channel from my normal cable plan.

Hockey is about as popular in this country as badminton, figure skating, and women’s softball. It’s sad but true. The NHL is a league that is still trying to keep its head above water since the 2004-05 strike that almost ended the league. The players got their karmic reparations as the new collective bargaining agreement that they had to sign negated their dental plans.

Professional hockey players don’t have dental. That’s like racecar drivers not having collision insurance.

I’ve been a bit bitter with the sport since the strike because I used to cover the league for the AP, but post the strike, the AP cut the number of writers that it needed to cover the league, because most papers in the vowel states were picking up stories on NASCAR and neglecting hockey coverage. As a result, I had a photo of Gary Bettman (the league’s commissioner) on my dartboard for a long time. (Now I’ve got a photo of Cheney.)

So, it has taken me a bit of time to start embracing the game again, but I honestly don’t understand why hockey isn’t at least more popular than pro basketball in this country, at least, amongst white people.

Hockey is fast paced, violent, has permitted fighting, and is one of the most exciting things to watch on television or in person.

I can understand why folks dislike soccer, because it is like watching a chess match, and most people consider it about as manly as pairs figure skating. Apparently, men don’t like other men in shorts kicking a little ball around the field. They prefer men in tight pants and pads tossing a little ball around the field.

Here are the things that people say about hockey and why it sucks and next to it are my answers.

“I can’t follow the puck” – Take your Ritalin, put on your glasses and get a bigger TV.

“It’s a Canadian sport” – so is lacrosse but you have no trouble spending your weekends watching your kids Tucker and Conrad play it.

“I don’t understand the game” – If Barry Melrose can be taught the game, you can too. It’s not that hard. It’s not cricket. Now that game is confusing.

“All the players are foreign” – yes, I realize that it is tough to cheer for a guy name Pavel or Sergei and feel patriotic and I also realize that the game’s best player (Sidney Crosby) looks like he should be folding sweaters at the GAP, but so does Tom Brady for that matter.

Regardless, this argument is null and void, because no matter how much I complain or make a case for it, a rare few will care who wins this year’s Stanley Cup and though some may appreciate the game for certain aspects, most could really care less in the big picture.

Watching hockey is essentially like being a fan of the show “Monk.” It’s absolutely entertaining and brilliant but is on a station that I haven’t watched since college (USA Network) and doesn’t exactly have a household name actor as the star. (Unless, you think that Tony Shalub is wicked hot.)

For the people that really like hockey, stick together. You are skating rebels in a world full of gridiron followers. You may not care what the best way to defend the wishbone offense is, but you certainly know how to pull the sweater over someone’s head and win a hockey fight and you know that a real sweater is not something that you buy from the Tom Brady look-a-like at the GAP.

Any idiot can run and kick and pass a ball, but how many can do it while on skates?

You know what’s ironic though. Americans claim to hate the sport of hockey, but if you put a version of that sport in a sports bar…..we’ll excel at it.

The world champion of Air Hockey has been an American every year since 1978 except for one. Americans may hate hockey, but we rule at Air Hockey….just ask 6-time and current champion Danny Hynes (who looks anything but athletic.)

Sure, Tom Brady sleeps with supermodel Gisele and the most famous girl that any hockey player ever got was Janet Jones, (now wife of Wayne Gretzky) whose only memorable role in film was as the hot girl in Police Academy 5. But that doesn’t matter … it’s hockey time America, and for the next month or so, can you keep your comments to yourself about my sport.

I’d like to watch channel 254 in peace.

Don’t make me drop the gloves.

No one wants to take a beating from a tea-drinking hockey-loving narcissist like me.

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