I’m experiencing a resurgence in NHL hockey. This can be attributed to 3 (4) things:
- The Wild made huge news with the signing of Parise and Suter last season – and then the season was shortened.
- The Wild signed Thomas Vanek – s favorite of mine when he won the National Championship with the Gophers.
- My brother is wild about hockey.
- I’m losing interest in the NFL
So, now that the Wild have those three studs, the younger skaters and a full season – I’m all in. I’ve purchased the NHL package and am watching more hockey in these first few weeks than I’ve watched since the Stars fought the Hawks for playoff wins.
And I love stats. So, here is the first shot:
How many goals does a team need to score in order to win more than 50% of their games? Based on the 2013 season? Four.
Okay, so not really pond hockey, but close. There were two games played outside on Sunday in Chicago. Minnesota got the late game with Wisconsin, Minnesota losing 2-3.
I’m pretty sure the hype of the game is better than the game itself. Two things immediately jumped out at me; the crowd and the ice. With the crowd being relegated to the stands at Soldier Field, there was no fan element on the boards. And that surprisingly made a difference to the flavor of the game. I’ve always said that there is no better game in pro sports that play-off NHL hockey. A close second is college hockey. And to lose the fan element is not worth the game.
Second, the ice made a remarkable difference; that may have been the point. It was messy and slushy and in the first game, almost unplayable. I joke when the weather gets down to 25 here in Carolina that it’s “too hot to play hockey.” And it is. The ice is simply too soft, turns into a snow cone mess and turns the game from hockey into something else.
I was annoyed that we lost but was even more annoyed that a great rivalry game was taken away from the fans and a gimmick game took away from normal quality conditions.
One last thing, they kept talking about the cold. The players had extra gear on, the Badgers had Packer’s cold weather jackets and even the benches had warm air blowing on ’em with feet heaters on the floor boards.
It was 26-28 freakin’ degrees!
Back when I played hockey we were in sleeves, no coats, at 10 and some of us took off our sweaters at 15. Zero was cold but not painfully. Not until negative numbers did we need the warming house. I was gonna crack on the players for not knowing this, but then I realized that these kids have probably been playing advanced organized hockey all their lives. Which means regulated indoor rinks with glass ice. I’m not sure how many of them ever played night hockey on a frozen sheet of water subject to wind, snow and the cycle of afternoon melt and night freeze.
Anyway, fun to watch college hockey for a change.
In full disclosure both my finals teams are in the Dance; I have Kentucky Beating Kansas for the National Championship.
This breaks my heart.
I love Carolina and my only regret is that it took me 31 years to get here. I do so wish that it was going to be the Tar Heels beating Kentucky, but, sadly, our boys in Blue didn’t have the guns for the fight.
However, all of this is secondary.
You see, the University of Minnesota is in the Frozen Four having defeated The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux to get there.
There maybe one team we hate more than any other team, and that’s the bastard Badgers of Wisconsin. After that comes North Dakota. Historically we simply love to hate BU.
Here’s to what really matters. College hockey; there isn’t a better game in all the world.