There used to be a great sport around these parts, and it was called hockey. A lot of us used to enjoy it.
Back in 1994 my cousin was a big Rangers fan. I liked blue and orange teams so I rooted for the Islanders. The Rangers were on their way to winning a cup, and I needed to stop that from happening at all costs.
The Isles were useless in the playoffs that year, but I fell in love with a scrappy Devils team and their awesome goalie Martin Brodeur - and these Devils seemed like they would be the ones to stop the Rangers from ever winning so I could keep on chanting 19-40 every time I walked past the cousin's house.
We were really into hockey 15 years ago. I bought a Devils jersey. I would watch every game at his house. I'd show up with Devil horns and bring Devil dogs. Anything to keep 19-40 alive. Back in those days I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning for work. It didn't matter, I stayed up for the NHL playoffs.
We all know that the Rangers won, and I lost - but hockey was alive. It's good for leagues when the team from New York is good despite what those in the flyover states think. Hockey had a brand new contract with FOX, and FOX was proving itself to be really good at this sports thing.
Then the geniuses had a lockout and started the 1995 season late. The Devils won it, but they swept in the finals which didn't help the cause. Neither did threatening to move to Nashville in the middle of a cup run.
Still we loved our hockey. We played NHL 95 on the Sega Genesis like you couldn't believe. Mark Messier came and went and came back. Even the great Wayne Gretzky came to New York. However, little by little hockey was slipping away.
Eventually the NHL decided not to play a season and nobody cared.
Tonight is the All-Star game. It's 90 minutes away and I only got excited enough to write about it now. I'm going to check it out and hope I last more than five minutes. I couldn't tell you who is playing, I don't know if I get Versus in HD (they keep telling me "you gotta see hockey in hi-def!"), and I bet I won't recognize any of the players.
I have heard of Niklas Lidstrom, but he decided he isn't playing and the league has decided to make him sit out a regular season game as punishment. I've heard of Sydney Crosby, but he isn't playing either.
Well, I bet Martin Brodeur made the team. Oh what's that - he's been out with an injury all season? The Devils are somehow in first with the Rangers just a point behind. You'd think someone would notice.