Monday, October 29, 2012

I hate what the NHL has done to me.

     I hate that when I sit down to write about Hockey it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I hate that sometimes when I compose a comment, post, tweet etc... I get so frustrated and angry that I simply walk away so I don't spew bitterness all over everyone else. I hate that I'm writing this post instead of something exciting about the Red Wings. I wish I were writing a post about how Jonas Gustavsson was proving to be a great acquisition from Toronto, or how Brendan Smith was showing great improvement from last year, or how having Gustav Nyquist on the first line with Datsyuk gave me a warm tingle feeling every game (hey I can dream). I wish I were writing a post outlining all the reasons why Henrik Zetterberg was the perfect choice for Captain, or even bidding a bittersweet farewell to Tomas Holmstrom, who served this team so diligently and selflessly for 16 years. I wish I were writing a post welcoming back Patrick Eaves and saying how wonderful it was to see his smiling face back on the ice and seeing how excited he gets when his team scores. I'm not writing about any of those things that would make me happy, and every day that goes by and the situation doesn't change, I get a little more apathetic towards it all. I still care, the fact that I'm writing about how much I hate the situation is proof that I still care. But if this drags on and on, and we lose the season, the Winter Classic and a year of watching the players and game we love, will I reach the point where I don't care about the NHL anymore? I've talked quite a bit about this topic with different people over the last few weeks and the more I talk about it and express my frustration and sadness, the more I realize just how much I've cared and invested of myself into Hockey, the NHL and the Wings.

This is what it feels like I've been doing.

     When something that means so much to you is suddenly withheld and you can't do anything to get it back, you're forced to re-evaluate things. I want to make it clear that my love of Hockey hasn't changed, my love of Hockey continues to grow, despite the NHL's attempt to kill our Hockey loving souls one bull shit filled statement at a time. I started playing Hockey in April and playing the game I love so much has allowed me to grow to love the game on a deeper, more intimate level than only watching on TV ever could. A friend asked me teasingly if I was cheating on the Wings because I was watching the Griffins, my response surprised me a little bit.

"No. The Wings walked away from me, they decided we weren't going to spend any time together and they were gong to look for fulfillment elsewhere. If that's the way they want to be, then I'm not going to spend any more time sitting around feeling sorry for myself and wishing they'd come back. If/when they decide to come back, then we'll evaluate our relationship and see where we stand. As for right now, I'm going to spend my time and energy on people and things that are more important and who value me more."
     Really? That's it? "We'll re evaluate our relationship and see where we stand"? There was no groveling, no air of desperation, just a somewhat apathetic evaluation. Even as I write this there are reports that then NHL is expected to announce the cancellation of the Winter Classic on Thursday. Do you know what my reaction was? Eh, it was just a matter of time. I'm an optimistic realist and I'm usually the one encouraging people to look on the bright side and not give up. Maybe it's the realist in me, or maybe it's my self defense systems raising shields to mitigate damages, but I don't care as much as I used to... or at least I don't think I do right now.

Does this image really need any further explanation?

     As much as my give a damn level is sinking, I still know that when we eventually have NHL Hockey again, and I have the opportunity to watch my beloved Red Wings, I'll be right there glued to my TV drooling and overdosing on the Hockey I've been craving and missing for far too long. I suspect however, that when once the NHL does come back, it will be bittersweet. Sure I'll be right there watching the Hockey I've been yearning for, but there will still be that twinge of pain and betrayal where the knife was. I'll probably eventually get over, but I'll never forget this. I suspect it will be one of those things that you hide under rug in the closet and don't think about; until one day when you need the box of glass eyes you keep in said closet (hey I don't judge you by what you keep in YOUR closet). Then all of a sudden it jumps up at you and makes you scream like a little girl (I'm talking pig tails here) and you remember for a horrifying moment what the lockout was like.

I'm never going in that closet again, guess it's time to get the patch back out.
     I'm getting pretty tired of writing posts like these instead of the happy kind I mentioned above, and I'd bet my pet space monkey that you're getting pretty tired of reading them as well. Sometimes I read through the articles and thoughts of the day and am disappointed that most of them are negative, bad news, or the same regurgitated  news we've been hearing and talking about since the Playoffs ended (D'oh). But then I remember that there isn't a whole lot of other Hockey things to talk about and most of our options are pretty depressing at this point. But there's something therapeutic about venting, about letting out the anger, frustration, sarcasm, snark and hurt; especially among friends who understand exactly what you're going through because they're in the same boat as you are. Sure the life boat it a bit crowded, and someone's feet somehow end up in your face when you wake up in the morning, and you have to fight back the reflex to gag everyone someone gets seasick.

The Lochout Monster is no laughing matter.

     I think the venting helps up cope, so I think until the lockout ends, we have NHL Hockey again and the sting fades a little, I'm going to embrace this new form of venting and I encourage you to do the same. Go ahead if you haven't already, it can feel oh so good.This lockout won't crush our Hockey spirits, most of us won't emerge unscathed, and sadly many who love Hockey and the NHL will leave and never return, and that truly makes me sad. But the love of Hockey will live on in us, no matter how badly the NHL screws up. We'll continue to play Hockey, love the game, watch at other levels, and for those people who posses enough knowledge and experience, maybe even help others appreciate, love and learn the game that means so much to us. Please don't lose heart Hockey fans, Hockey doesn't live and die with the NHL. Hockey lives on in each of us. We will take it with us wherever we go and spread the passion and Hockey culture.

     Most days are an emotional Hockey roller coaster. I go from disappointed, to frustrated, to angry, to apathetic, to hopeful, to thinking about all the great people I've met because of Hockey and the meaningful friendships that have come from it. When I think about those things, I'm reminded that there are more important things in life and I achieve a sort of zen about the whole thing. I know that this place I'm at in my life is exactly where I'm supposed to be. Regardless of what the NHL does or doesn't do, life will go on and all the great things and people in my life that I have because of Hockey will still be there and I will continue to hold them dear and enjoy them.

Long live Hockey!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Introducing The Dollar Hotdog Power Hour Podcast!

     Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes those desperate measures lead you to something awesome that you might not have otherwise discovered or attempted.  With the NHL and NHLPA still having their collective heads up their asses and no NHL Hockey being played now, nor in the foreseeable future; Hockey fans have been forced to come up with other ways to get their Hockey fix and entertain ourselves. 

     We do things like keep up with how our favorite players are doing in Europe, watch and attend Grand Rapids Griffins games, start blogs to help us cope, vent and bond with our Hockey family for support and comfort, and even….. Start a podcast!

In case you're slightly confused by the name of the podcast, Larry Murphy's love for dollar hotdogs was the inspiration. 

Since this whole idea was Mike's I'll let him explain: from his blog

In trying to keep spirits alive, I've been thinking of doing a podcast. Without games to break down, without trades and signings to discuss and strategies to analyze, this lockout has been excruciating  I can't watch and read about hockey and the Red Wings, so I've lost one hobby. Now I can't even write about it, thus killing another hobby. I could write about the lockout, and honestly I should be, because it is important, but it just gets me angry.

Both sides are showing themselves to be obstinate, although there was been some significant movement. And I tip my hat to the NHL for being the first ones to really move. And I shouldn't be writing about CBA negotiations, I should be writing about hockey. Granted, a podcast won't fix that entirely because there's still no Red Wings hockey to talk about. But at least it'll be something new and different for me to do.

I've invited
Michelle of Twitter and blog fame, as well as a fellow up and coming Red Wings blogger and Tweeter Kevin to collaborate with me on this project. I'm hoping to get more voices in to keep it fresh and interesting, and I want my handful of readers to submit questions or topics of conversation for us to discuss. We want to be responsive to what you want to hear.

So kick back, grab something to drink and tune in. We hope you enjoy it so we can keep doing it. Follow us all on
Twitter and we'll let you know when we're going to record next so you can submit ideas, and for general hockey and Red Wings commentary. Please check out both Michelle and Kevin's blogs and keep coming by here.

Also, I want to apologize for the poor audio. Being new at this whole thing and not having the ideal equipment to do it, there were some feedback and audio issues that I hopefully got resolved later on. I hope you'll give me the chance to get them worked out, and I hope Michelle will forgive me for fucking up her early segments. In general, it doesn't do justice to Michelle or Kevin. The quality of their words was above and beyond better than the quality of my recording. All the more reason to follow them both on Twitter and read their blogs!

Let's Go Red...aww I'm sad. Go Griffins!

     I'm honored to be a part of this fantastic new venture two very smart, knowledgeable members of my Hockey family. If you have half as much fun listening to our podcast as we have making it, then I'll consider it a success. I hope you enjoy listening and check out both Mike and Kevin's blogs for awesome Hockey content. 

Let us know what you think, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Screw the NHL and NHLPA and Go Griffins!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The AHL is doing it right.

I had the pleasure of attending my first Grand Rapids Griffins games on Friday and Saturday. Since it was my first AHL game I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but the details weren’t that important… I was going to watch live HOCKEY. I commend the Griffins for making the entire game experience fun and enjoyable. The Red Wings games I’ve been to are fun and I enjoy myself, but the Griffins (and from what I can tell other AHL teams as well) really have fun with the pregame, intermission and commercial break activities. There was a T-shirt shooting machine gun, sandwich and hot dog cannons, goodies parachuting from the rafters and raining down like confetti, and the mascots came onto the ice riding in the Griff Mobile and doing donuts and having a good time.

                              Did I mention they shot hot dogs and sandwiches out of cannons? 

I have a lot of fun and enjoy myself at Red Wings games (stupid lockout) but I honestly had more fun taking in a weekend of Griffins games. I met some friends down there and watched the games with them, good company and Hockey discussions while watching live Hockey added to the experience. Friday night was $1 hot dog and $1 beer night (I'm starting a petition to change the name to Larry Murphy Night) and after the game they opened up the rink and we got to skate around for close to an hour. This is an awesome event and I give kudos to the Griffins for doing it. How cool is it that I can say I learned to do crossovers on the Griffins ice at Van Andel Arena? It’s pretty darn cool. 

                                                    Almost as cool as these two... almost.

Saturday night after the game, the Griffins had 3 players available for autographs- yeah for adding to my signed puck collection! I was surprised there weren’t more people taking advantage of both the open skate and opportunity to get autographs, but as someone who did take advantage of both; it was nice that there weren’t that many people involved. This was my first AHL game and even though the Griffins lost both nights (3-2 Friday and 4-3 SO Saturday) I still had an absolute blast. If you can get to any AHL games, I highly recommend you do so; it’s relatively cheap, a lot of fun, and it’s Hockey.  I will definitely be attending more Griffins games this year regardless of what the NHL and NHLPA do (or don’t do). 

                                At least we still have an opportunity to watch Goose in action.

Because of the NHL lockout, other Hockey leagues, clubs, and teams have benefited from increased awareness and interest. I sincerely hope that the increased interest in the AHL remains higher, even when we have NHL Hockey again. I want Hockey to thrive anywhere and everywhere and I want as many people as possible to watch, enjoy, play and be addicted to Hockey. I would love to see some AHL games broadcast on TV, and maybe the increased awareness and demand will help the process along. In the meantime, you can listen to theGriffins for free here and the AHL offers online streaming video packages or single game access here. I encourage everyone to support Hockey at any level they can. I had already planned to attend a few Griffins games, even before the lockout started, but the lack of NHL Hockey gave me extra motivation to do so. I’m extremely glad I did and the AHL will be have  larger part of my Hockey life going forward. Go Hockey! Go Griffins! 

Go ahead, puff your cheeks out and give it your best shot.

Don't get shut out of Hockey, get off your 5 hole and check out some other opportunities.

Ok, I'm done now... I swear.