The Learning Curve

So, here we are, a few weeks into the season and here’s a summary of what I’ve learned:

1. Goose holds his pants up with tape.

2. In recognition of the fact that I am a very, very, new fan, I won’t say too much about it, but my initial experiences with a trap defense have been very annoying. I don’t think I mind a low scoring games, but hugely BORING low scoring games? Ew. In my mind I can imagine a fast paced game in which very few goals are scored. That can exist, right?

3. Jochen Hecht doesn’t open the sides of his mouth when he speaks which causes him to look like a duck when he talks. The jury is still out on whether this is cute or irritating. Today I’m leaning towards “cute”.

4. Overtime is only five minutes long. Who knew? Heh.

5. I love to hate the Rangers. Almost all of my despair and rage following Chris Drury’s departure this summer was directed towards the New York Rangers. It’s not logical, but there you go. I knew I would enjoy it if the Rangers stumbled out of the gate, I just didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy it. Second to watching the Sabres, watching the Rangers lose is my favorite game in hockey. I realized how much I enjoy watching the Rangers lose when I found myself cheering for the Islanders against them. Just a few days prior, the Islanders had humiliated the Sabres and still, I was all, “GO, MIKE COMRIE! GO!”. Cheering for Mike Comrie is a mighty testimony to my hatred of the Blue Shirts. On any given night I have my pick of a whole stable of appealing secondary teams on my Center Ice roster, but until the Rangers start winning, they’re my second “favorite” team.

6. The handsome guy I thought was Simon Gagne, is actually Jason Smith.

7. I wasn’t so sure at first, but I love our rotating captaincy. The Sabres clearly have some leadership issues to be ironed out. I am thoroughly looking forward to watching how this all shakes out over the season, because from where I sit, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious choice for the “C”. I love that Lindy is taking his time and that we get to witness the process.

8. Good seats are totally worth the money.

9. I don’t really mind missing games because I work on weekend nights. I am happy to watch a DVRed win the next day, and I don’t mind missing the losses.

10. I don’t care what anyone else in Buffalo thinks, I love Alexander Ovechkin.

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23 Responses to “The Learning Curve”


  1. 1 Schnookie October 22, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I think these might very well be the ten most important things to know about hockey. Especially the bit about how Jochen Hecht speaks. UTMOST importance!

  2. 2 markberm October 22, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Kate, there’s definitely such a thing as a fast-paced, low scoring game especially when the goalies are on top of things. One one hand, there’s boring trap play and then there’s 3-2 or even 2-1 games that feature a lot of scoring chances and smart, defensive play.

    Keep your eyes peeled for it!

  3. 3 margee October 22, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Hating the Rangers is a career unto itself. I sometimes can’t decide if a win for the Isles is more important to me than a loss for the Rangers.

  4. 4 Meg October 22, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    In my mind I can imagine a fast paced game in which very few goals are scored. That can exist, right?

    Yup. It’s always fun when the goaltenders put on a show.

    I would also note that there’s boring defensive play that’s not technically the trapping as well, something hockey announcers generally fail to point out. The trap is a particular variety of boring defensive play.

    And I love Ovechkin too. People just need to get over it.

  5. 5 Sam October 22, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Well, I’m glad Meg said it. As a fan of a team coached by the inventor of the trap, I get awfully tired of listening to announcers (particularly Canadian announcers) call any slow-moving defensive maneuver “trapping,” and then blame Jacques for it.

    The trap is a very specific form of defensive cycling from the center line to just behind the defending blue line, and more than being simply boring, I think what really annoys fans is how frustrating it is when you have to watch it working repeatedly against your team. The flip side of the coin is that few plays are as exciting as the breakaways and 3-on-1s that frequently occur as the result of a well-executed trap. I believe the Ookies would agree that their beloved (shudder) Devils have won a couple of Cups with that strategy as their cornerstone…

  6. 6 Heather B. October 22, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    And I love Ovechkin too. People just need to get over it.

    Yeah, if we hate Briere now, shouldn’t we actually be CHEERING Ovechkin?

    I can see how the Jochen thing would be annoying – it’s definitely quirky – but I usually think it’s cute. As you pointed out, that’s part of what makes his smile so nice. It’s one of the few times he has his hole mouth open.

    Listen, I hate the Rangers too. But this? GO, MIKE COMRIE! GO! This is not right. Ever.

    The trap is frustrating to watch for sure and I’m sure that’s part of what people don’t like about it. But it’s also boring. I will agree though that people lump all tight defense in with the trap. I hate watching pucks bounce off the 13 guys collapsed around the goalie for 60 minutes too, maybe even more.

  7. 7 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Oh, I don’t know a trap from my ass.

    All I know is that I found out after the fact that the two most boring games I’ve watched this season (Anaheim/Minnesota [it helped that there was lots of punching in that game], and Blue Jackets/Buffalo) were both won by trapping teams. Those games were undeniably boring to me. I don’t care if it was trapping, or stacking, or whatever, I just didn’t really enjoy those games. That’s all I’m saying. I didn’t mean to unfairly target the trap.

  8. 8 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    …..I suppose the boringness of those games could also be the fault of the sucky play of the losers too. :D

  9. 9 Sam October 22, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    You thought the Anaheim/Minnesota game was boring? Wow. Among Minny fans, there was general agreement that that was the most exciting game the Wild have played all year! Maybe there’s something to this Eastern Conference/Western Conference skating style divide I’ve been hearing so much about…

  10. 10 Sam October 22, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    And not to belabor the point, but the Wild actually don’t trap all that much these days. It tends to be situational, but Jacques seems to be leaning more towards a “beat the crap out of them” style than his usual “trap ’til they fall asleep” scheme. I’m sure the change had nothing to do with Minnesota getting its ass handed to it by a “beat the crap out of them” Ducks team last spring.

  11. 11 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    You thought the Anaheim/Minnesota game was boring? Wow.

    Well, I enjoyed the punching, Sammy! I guess it just seemed like The Wild had a pretty tight stranglehold on that game. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong. I’ll admit I was practicing during a lot of that game.

    I will not waver in my assertion that the Blue Jackets/Buffalo game on Friday was truly mind numbing, but again, maybe it’s because the Sabres were so nervous with me sitting so near to them that they couldn’t play AT ALL.

  12. 12 Meg October 22, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    All I know is that I found out after the fact that the two most boring games I’ve watched this season (Anaheim/Minnesota [it helped that there was lots of punching in that game], and Blue Jackets/Buffalo) were both won by trapping teams.

    The Blue Jackets aren’t really what I’d call a trapping team, though. I’m pretty sure I saw them trapping in the third period of the game against Buffalo (the only part I saw) but I’ve seen bits of other games this year (I have a couple of them on my fantasy team) where they definitely weren’t trapping. They were dropping 4 guys back (something a lot of defensive teams will do) but not actually executing a trap. I think they probably only trap when they’re up by a couple goals.

  13. 13 Steph October 22, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    The handsome guy I thought was Simon Gagne, is actually Jason Smith.

    Oh Jason Smith :( Kate, you have great taste. I expect you to love him in my honor, since you’ll see far more of him over there than I will out here in the west. Okay? PROMISE?

  14. 14 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    I’m really sorry I ever brought up the trap! This is what I get for talking about shit I don’t understand! The trap has made a fool out of me. I take back everything I said! Look, a hobo!

    Why isn’t anyone commenting on Paul Gaustad’s belt made out of tape?
    This to me is by far the most interesting thing I have learned about hockey thus far.

    Steph, just for you, I will love Jason Smith! :P

  15. 15 je October 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    as a newish sports fan with an eye for detail you may enjoy: http://www.uniwatchblog.com.php4-3.websitetestlink.com/
    “an obsessive study of athletic aesthestics”

  16. 16 Sam October 22, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I think the BJs aren’t so much boring because of their style as they are boring in the way that really consistently bad, hopeless teams are always boring. It’s like watching the Wolves play basketball, or (forgive me) the Bills play football. Just depressing in a profoundly unengaging way.

    Apropos of our Columbus friends, by the way, does anyone else remember them unveiling a uniform back in their first season that actually had “BJ” on it? I swear this happened, and I was in tears from laughing so hard. I have no idea if they ever wore it on the ice, and the official history shows that they wore the “CB” sweaters in their inaugural year. Am I totally imagining the existence of the BJ jersey?

  17. 17 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Hee. Sam, you totally want a BJ…..jersey.

  18. 18 kristin October 22, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Hey! Hey! Back away from Jason Smith! You can have Gagne, he really is handsome, but not Smith. (Steph can have him though because she loved him before I did.)

  19. 19 Blitzen October 22, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Katebits,

    I noticed from the photos that you are not wearing a jersey! I thought you were a fan. Gotta get a jersey and get it signed!

  20. 20 Sam October 22, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Not that anyone asked, but SI has a good article up on what a supposed trapping team really does when it has the puck:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/darren_eliot/10/22/team.identity/index.html?section=si_latest

  21. 21 Katebits October 22, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    I know, Blitzen! I’m working on it. First I couldn’t decide which jersey to buy, and now I’m just dragging my feet. Sadly, you can’t walk into the HSBC arena store and buy a Lydman jersey. (I have NO IDEA why not! :D)

  22. 22 Heather B. October 23, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Sadly, you can’t walk into the HSBC arena store and buy a Lydman jersey. (I have NO IDEA why not! :D)

    He’s a defensive defensman. It’s his lot in life to be overlooked and ignored.

  23. 23 Steph October 24, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    I’m sorry, as interesting as tape belts are, when I see “Jason Smith” I just start sort of whimpering and asking the hockey gods why :P

    Steph can have him though because she loved him before I did.</i.

    Aww Kristen, I’ll share. The whole world needs a little bit of Gator.


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