Thursday, October 3, 2013
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - The Fan’s Guide to NHL Opening Day
WARNING! This guide is for real fans only. Preds fans can go back to worshipping Ron, Satan's shiftless second cousin.
Hola, hombres di hockey. Last week we gave stunningly accurate letter grades to every Dallas Star for the 2013-14 season. This week, rather than admit that this is technically already the third day of the season, we're going to give you the long-awaited Fan's Guide to Opening Day. Follow each and every one of these simple rules, and you will be enjoying professional-grade NHL hockey in no time!
Rule #1: Avoid all human contact - It's been six months since your team has last hit the ice for an actual, meaningful game --or eight months if you're an Avs fan-- and the last thing you need is to be in a room full of your friends when you wet your pants during the National Anthem. Let's face it: things are going to get pretty emotional before crushing boredom sets in halfway through the second period, so it's a good idea to watch your favorite Dallas Stars hockey team in complete and utter privacy. Preferably aboard a spaceship in low orbit, if you've got one available, but if not you can always bolt and barricade your doors, ignoring the cries and pounding of your wife, kids, and local police.
Rule #2: Prepare your food beforehand - Hockey is a game of milliseconds, where the primal joy of a 1-0 thriller can be forever wiped out when you blink and miss the game's only highlight-reel goal. Don't let this happen to you: if you have to get up to scrounge through the back of your fridge for debatably-edible leftovers from last week's trip to the No Happiness Chinese Buffet (and the ER... probably should've paid attention to all the barking noises coming out of the kitchen) while your team's fourth line takes a defensive zone faceoff following a timeout, you've already failed your team, your country and your God. Surround yourself with vast cauldrons of hearty man-food --like, just as an example, the still-beating heart of a male Blackhawks fan-- before settling in for the next three hours.
Rule #3: Partake freely in libations - Hockey wouldn't be hockey without you flinging your feces at the screen whenever your team is called for another bulls**t icing, and nothing improves your aim better than a couple of cold brewskis. Your choice of beer directly influences your team's performance: IPAs are good for offense, dark stouts for defense, and American light beers for when you're down by six midway through the third period and don't want to live anymore but are too chickens**t to walk into oncoming traffic like a real fan.
Rule #4: Respect tradition - Traditions define sports, and are even more important to hockey than they are to autistic necromancers. This is why you must adhere to all of your team-enhancing rituals during Opening Day: starting off the season 1-0-0 is far more important than "saving up your good stuff for the playoffs." True Fact: Teams that start 0-1-0 never make the playoffs. Opening Day is the right time to pull out all the stops: if your team needs you to ritually molest the Ken Hitchcock voodoo doll you made out of detached barbie heads and expired LSD because it totally worked that one time in 2006, then you darn well better do just that.
Rule #5: Get mad! - "Enjoying things" is for the weak and infirm. You are better than that. Professional hockey is serious business, and professional hockey fans don't have time to prance around and play grab-a** while giggling like little pinko Care Bears. Your team, which is the Dallas Stars, needs 110% of your focus and 115% of your attention, along with 120% of your disposable income. If you ever see someone smiling during a game you climb down to their seat and beat them within an inch of their lives immediately, as the only reason anyone has to smile is if they are international terrorists and their evil plan is just seconds away from completion. The ushers will understand; if there are no ushers or international terrorists because, say, you are watching hockey in a space station orbiting the earth, then grimace and growl a bit at your television set. Maybe flex in front of it to make sure it knows that this time, you're not f***ing around.
Rule #6: Whip out the mental calculators - There is no better indicator of what will happen over the rest of the season than what happens in the first game. Your new second-line center scores a hat trick on Opening Night? Expect no fewer than 100 goals and a Hart Trophy the rest of the way. Your much-lauded, but objectively terrible "offensive" defenseman allows four goals while getting outscored by Mark Fistric? Peg him in for a record-setting -240 +/- on the season, with a 5 year, $25 million extension this summer. The first game is a microcosm of exactly what's going to happen over the next six to eight months: it's perfectly acceptable, and even somewhat mandatory, to completely give up hope when your team goes down 0-1 seven minutes into the first period. Remember: the hockey gods know not forgiveness.
That's it for this week's edutacional Cupcheck. Tune in next week when we post video of ourselves, red-eyed and covered in our own urine, blandly reading a list of Tim Thomas' demands as he levels an AR-15 at us just offscreen. His charm and force of personality may surprise you.