And So It Begins

Not only is it OU/Texas week, where on Saturday the Sooners will cross back over the Red River with a win and the Golden Hat to prove it, but tonight, hockey officially starts again.

The thing about hockey is that it’s a long slog of a season starting in October, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs lasting well into June. (Unless you’re a Capitals fan, in which case the playoffs always end after the first round, so you’re done by early May.). The grind of the 82-game season is a feature, not a bug. Things can change radically between October and December or January and March, but you’d never really know that unless you watched. There’s something about the development that happens during the season — your team’s power play FINALLY coming together, or actually coming back from a third period deficit for once — that just feels like magic. You’re building momentum, chemistry, and cohesion. Then you get the playoffs, which are the greatest competition in sports. Skill comes to the forefront and it’s like a second season: every team steps it up, and the game becomes even more intense. As does the facial hair.

Plus, there’s the undeniable fact that hockey players are badasses. There’s no other sport where a guy will lose half of his teeth or break his orbital bone and get back on the ice a few minutes later.

On a football field, you spend more time during the game watching players stand around and move on and off the field (not to mention the refs moving chains and waiting for replay information) than you do watching the teams actually play the game — in fact, you really only get about 12 minutes of actual game play.  In hockey, you get 60 minutes. 60 full minutes of action, and unlike soccer, those 60 minutes are never boring. Unlike football, where the scoring situations are generally predictable, they can be much more surprising in hockey. Even in a low-scoring game, you get fast and skillful skating, big hits (Clean ones, please), and incredible defense and goaltending (I am not crazy enough to use my body deflect a puck going 80 miles an hour once, let alone 30 times a game, but I sure am glad that Marc-Andre Fleury is). You might even get a fight, if you’re into that.

You might even get to see a formerly beloved (well, sort of, underneath all of the Christmas sweaters, whore germs, and lack of effort in the past two seasons) player who went to a rival team during the offseason act like a turtle when someone else tries to hit him:

See you in December, Max!

You’re probably not a fan of hockey. But you should at least give it a shot, because it really is the best game going. Besides, what else are you going to do during the week — watch the NBA?

 

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