Okay, tonight offers a much needed break from the Sabres. Last night was pretty rough. I realized about half way through the third period the extent of my unhappiness. I was practically grinding my teeth with frustration, and I felt like I was wearing a child-sized turtleneck. Now, I ask you. Is this any way to live?
I love the Sabres, and I love cheering for the Sabres, but I do NOT love having my evening ruined by the Sabres. So, in my misery, I sent a pathetic email to the Ookies. What do you do when your team is sucking?”, I whimpered. Here is Schnookie’s response, reprinted without her permission, and edited to best prove my point:
See, this is where Center Ice comes in, and where loving hockey saved my life. Last year I was furious with the Devils (and Marty in particular) because they were absolutely ATROCIOUS at the start of the season. Just wretched. Putrid. Redefining the concept of sucktitude. But instead of letting myself be strangled, I was like, “Huh. I bet someone else is playing good hockey right now,” and I found the Sabres. And then the Penguins. I rediscovered my ability to love hockey and turn to another team or another good game whenever I was annoyed by the Devils. This is what I love about having the blogosphere now — back in the day, I’d just sit and stew in my unhappiness. Now I have places to go to talk to people who can cheer me up, or find out what compelling and adorable storylines other teams are carrying at that moment. There are 29 other teams! Step back, take a few deep breaths, recognize that the Sabres will, on occasion, stink up the joint, and turn to some team you enjoy just for fun. Maybe it’s Sid. Maybe it’s the Devils (ha!). Maybe it’s the possibility of seeing the Rangers lose. Maybe it’s some random team out West that’s hovering at .500 but they just seem cute. Maybe it’s someone new every night. Whatever it is, there’s so much to love about hockey!
What great advice! Listen, I will never love another team like I love the Sabres. Never, ever, ever. BUT, Schnookie is right. There is plenty to love about hockey, even when the Sabres are being lame. So, rather than dwell on the feeling that the Sabres are strangling me to death, I am going to turn my attention to some of the other teams that have captured my fancy.
In order of my level of interest:
1. New York Rangers: I believe I’ve mentioned this one or two thousand times, but I hate the Rangers. Without a doubt, my favorite thing other than watching the Sabres win, is watching the Rangers lose. The Rangers have delighted me with their slow start, but they could pull it together at any time, and I intend to pull the plug on this fixation at the first sign of life from my favorite team to hate.
2. New Jersey Devils: (avert your eyes, Sam) My affection for the Devils stems entirely from my affection for the Ookie sisters. I have been happily digesting a steady stream of Devils posts over on IPB for the last few months, which has lead to a comfort level with the Devils that I don’t have with any other non-Sabres team. I’m familiar with this cast of characters, and I like them very much. I know that the Devils supposedly play boring, defensive minded hockey, but that has not been my experience with them so far this season. They’re, um….not really in control of the games often enough to be killing hockey in their current incarnation. (No offense, Devils. You know I love ya.) I’m told the Devils are always pretty good in the end, so I look forward to watching them this season.
3. L.A. Kings: This is a hard one to explain. Rudy Kelly over at The Battle of California is seriously hilarious. He’s so hilarious that I have started to like his team. So, there’s that. I think it’s safe to say that I don’t care very much about my secondary teams winning. The Kings are totally welcome to lose all they want, I just kind of like them regardless. I liked them in London, and I like their hideous uniforms, and I like how they play late at night so if I can’t sleep I can watch the end of their games. I don’t know why, but I’m a Kings fan.
4. The Minnesota Wild: I’m a native Minnesotan and I really want to love The Wild, but I admit it’s not coming naturally so far. First of all, they are just WAY too winning. Second of all, they’re a bit of a snooze with their responsible defense and their impenetrable goalie; BUT they do have a few cuties, including their oddly compelling brute, Boogaard, who wears charming spectacles when he is not teaching little kids how to beat each other up. I am attending a Wild game with my dear friend Sam over my Christmas break. I hope to be a fully informed, passionate Wild fan by then.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins are super fun, no doubt about it. I’m not sure why they are not higher up on this list; it might be because they make me feel like a dirty, old lady. Like everyone else, I have mixed feelings about Sidney Crosby the person, but I sure like watching him play hockey- he gets all crazy intense and swirly eyed. Usually around the time I am noticing Sid’s intense swirly eyedness is when I start to feel like a dirty old lady, and that is when I purposefully turn my attention to Mark Recchi who I like entirely because of his Versus ad where he declares that he’s not retiring until they “pry the stick from my dead hands.” Honestly, there is quite a bit to love about the Penguins.
So, there you have my preliminary list of secondary teams. I am sure this list will morph as the season goes on, and I promise to keep you abreast of my non-Sabres interests. The Sabres can make me crazy, happy, frustrated, confused, elated and scandalized, but they cannot make me hate hockey.