November 25, 2010
(Ed. Note: It's Turkey Day here in the U.S., which means it's an untypical day here at Puck Daddy. Please join us in celebrating the game in these special posts; and tune in to Puck Daddy Radio on Sirius 98 and here on the blog at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST.)
Ah, Thanksgiving. A day for gluttonous consumption of food and drink; for tolerating family as they fight over the remote during what should be an NFL afternoon; and, eventually, for sitting in traffic at some point in the next 48 hours, be it at a shopping mall or an interstate.
Oh, and something about breaking bread with Native Americans or some such. We're hazy on the origins.
What we're not hazy on: That it's a time to give thanks, so that's exactly what we're doing. We've asked ourselves and some Friends of Puck Daddy a rather simple question: What are you thankful for in hockey?
Please answer that for yourselves in the comments, give our answers a read and have a great holiday.
This is the first batch of responses; the second will publish later today. So here are Ryan Lambert, Hockey Joe, Neate Sager, Lyle "Spector" Richardson, Barry from Deadspin, Paul Kukla and many more. But first: It's Leahy time.
Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy Associate Editor
Hockey Night in Canada in the US: In its third season of making VERSUS look like public access TV.
Garth Snow & Charles Wang: For reviving "The Gong Show" so this generation can enjoy it.
Colin Campbell: For allowing us to invent the "locker room talk" drinking game.
Lambert's "What We Learned" column: Because reading his feedback from people who didn't get it gets better every week.
Biz Nasty: Setting the bar for NHLers on Twitter so high that no other player will be able to match it.
Daryl Reaugh: For adding to my vocabulary each game and for being the best color man in the biz.
The guy who started the "What, no Jagr?" meme: My favorite meme of 2010.
Puck Daddy meet-ups: Because who doesn't enjoy getting free beer from readers?
And finally, the blogosphere: A diverse collection of opinions, original thoughts and fantastic work that helps make talkin' hockey on a daily basis incredibly fun.
Neate Sager, Buzzing The Net
The Toronto Maple Leafs: For being the guiding light on my long road to Chuck Klosterman-style sports atheism, where you're not a soulless hypocrite if you stop caring about your favourite teams, but you'll never root for anyone else.
Major junior hockey GMs: The last Trader Vic types left in the sport.
The OHL Action Pak: Channel-flipping between community-television broadcasts of Ontario Hockey League games counts as work, even on Thursday when that includes a half-hour break to watch "Community."
Hockey songs: From Warren Zevon's "Hit Somebody!" through The Tragically Hip's "50 Mission Cap" and "The Lonely End Of The Rink" through the Rheostatics' "The Ballad of Wendel Clark (Parts 1 and 2)."
The world junior hockey championship: So infectious it makes some Canadians buy Sweden jerseys, just to stand apart from the mob.
Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy blogger
One-timers: Holy crap do I love one-timers. They are the best thing in hockey. I love thinking about them. I love seeing a play develop so that a lane opens up for them. I love the sound they make. I love when they go in the net. Stamkos. Phaneuf. Ovechkin. Chara. These guys can shoot it through a wall with brutal force, and it is always awesome.
College hockey: This was my first introduction to the sport, and while there are the purists out there who think Major Junior is the way to go, I can't think of a better Friday night than going down to the rink and seeing some pretty great hockey for (usually) dirt cheap.
When an entire building boos one player every time they touch the puck: I don't care if it's because the guy left in free agency, is a long-time player for the team's archrival or once hurt a team's star player. There's something almost joyous in 17,000 people coming together to rain hate down on one guy every time he gets the puck. It's even better when that guy scores. Gamesmanship, man. Get into it.
Terrible organizations: If we couldn't talk about how terrible the Islanders are right now, or if Darryl Sutter and Glen Sather didn't make absolutely befuddling transactions every time they get the chance, or if every organization were as well-run as Detroit's, the world would be a much more boring place.
There's so much of it: There are about a million NHL games a year (I'm not doing the math), and that's pretty great. I like being able to choose between six games a night to watch. One day, I'd really like to watch every game in a single season. Someone should pay me to do that.
Sharing it with my buddies: Hockey's just not as cool if you're not havin' a couple wobbly-pops and chirping every play with your pals at a bar or in the rink.
What am I thankful for in hockey?
The madness of Jack Edwards: Things get a little too serious sometimes when watching a game and Jack Edwards makes sure to keep us shaking our head and laughing when catching a Bruins game. He's also very educational from time to time and who doesn't love learning about Revolutionary history?
The hockey sweater: Whether it's the old school beauty of a Habs, Hawks, or Wings sweater or the vomit-inducing reaction we get from the Canucks "V", the Isles Fisherman or the abomination of the Connecticut Whale the simplicity of a hockey sweater is pure. Whether we're reveling in its glory or having a laugh at its horribleness the joy of the sweater never ends.
Pavel Datsyuk's(notes) "dangle-dangle": The guy's a freak up and down the ice, he can deke and dangle a defenseman out of their jock and then give you the priceless odd-ball quote after the game. If you can't enjoy what he does in the NHL you're either not a fan or you're Corey Perry(notes).
The feisty, local beat writer/columnist: Yeah, that's right I'm thankful for the likes of Damien Cox, Larry Brooks, Bruce Garrioch, and Adrian Dater because without them, who would we have to get worked up at and vent our frustrations to/at? Just like every team needs an agitator, every newspaper or website needs someone to poke the community to make sure they're still awake.
Steven Stamkos' awakening: I'm thankful for this because just talking about Sid and Ovi was just getting to be old. The pantheon for discussion is open now and Stamkos is seizing the day. It's a shame that Oren Koules, Len Barrie, and Barry Melrose aren't around to see it happen in front of them. Sorry, I meant "appropriate" not "a shame."
The hockey fan community: You gotta close out on a high note, right? Without the fans and readers out there, we're all still slobs sitting in our mom's basements yelling at our invisible friends about the teams we love and hate. Getting to know and hear from everyone out there is the true joy of hockey. Hang on a second, who left the crusts on my PB&J?! MOM!
Rock 'em Sock 'em Videos: Sure, they are cookie cutter but they give us plenty of what makes hockey the best sport in the world: great goals, amazing saves, punishing hits, and big fights.
The Barilkosphere: Because otherwise Leafs fans would have to depend on the lamestream media and they are not nearly as entertaining or insightful.
Beer: It's helped many a long Leafs game go by quickly.
Amazon's Used Books Market: Only place I could get three copies of "Glow Pucks and Ten Cent Beer" for under two dollars.
Hockey Night In Canada: From Elliotte Friedman's Inside Hockey to After Hours with Scott Oake and all that is presented in-between, it is all hockey for us fans. No dumbing-down talk, no interviews while the game is being played, just hockey, just the way I want it.
The mainstream media on Twitter: I am all about getting the hockey news as quickly as possible and there is no better way than to follow those who cover the game for a living.
Red Fisher and Stan Fischler: I am a middle-aged hockey fan and saw my first hockey game at the Olympia in Detroit in 1962. Both Red and Stan bring back those memories for me and bridge the gap to the 1940's and 50's too.
Hockey fans who truly know the game: There is nothing better than starting or participating in a conversation with a fan who knows the game and doesn't wear team-colored glasses. "Your team sucks" is so out the window while "my team is good because ...." Is the discussion I want to be in.
Colin Campbell: If not for him; then who else would we complain about? Damien Cox? Damien Cox.
NHL GameCenter: If not for that investment; I'd have to listen to Joe Beninati 82 times a year. SCOOOORRRRRRREEEEEEE.
Mites on Ice: There's no better way to wait out a bathroom line than watching 4 year-olds swarm around a loose puck, then all fall down. Simultaneously.
The hockey blogosphere and Twitterati: Makes the work day bearable.
The NHL's YouTube Channel: It's shocking that a pro sports league would want to make it easy for fans to see their product.
The continued ban on mirrored visors: Because I don't think we could handle Ovechkin being any cooler.
The battle for Sochi: Quick and Miller have three-and-a-half years to show what they've got.
NHL '94: The Roenick wraparound is still the most unstoppable move in sports game history.
Canadian legal records: Because we knew Colie Campbell was a dick, but we didn't have it on paper.
Marty Brodeur's elbow: For bruising easier than a clearance shelf tomato.
1994: Because I was 10 years old, and I may not live to see another one.
At the risk of sounding schmaltzy: A frozen pond: because it's where hockey dreams are born.