The NHL is back!
It’s been nine months since the Red Wings slapped a puck, elbowed a face, mucked a corner, yanked a sweater over anyone’s head and flicked broken teeth out of their mouths.
Nine months since they dumped and chased, crashed the net and pulled the goalie.
Nine months. Babies have been conceived, baked and delivered since the Red Wings’ last game, when they were unceremoniously bumped out of the first round of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators.
Then came the 113-day lockout—a reverse strike. Nearly four months of dickering instead of stick handling, posturing instead of deking.
But the labor strife is all over with—for at least eight years. For at least eight years we can talk hockey without Fehr.
Did you miss it?
It’s been rather busy around these parts since early October, when the NHL season normally starts.
In October, the Tigers edged past the Oakland A’s, squashed the mighty New York Yankees and then were themselves blown out in four games by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
In November, the Pistons began another rebuilding year. U-M and MSU finished off uneven years in football. The Lions began their 0-8 second half. We all ate turkey on the fourth Thursday of the month. There was Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
December saw college basketball ramp up. Holiday shopping dominated our free time. The NFL season had its usual final, frantic weekends of playoff jockeying.
Suddenly, it was January, and oh yeah—those hockey people were still in the bargaining room instead of the “dressing room.”
But now they’re done negotiating. Done calling each other names, done trying to portray themselves as victims in the court of public opinion. A new collective bargaining agreement has been signed, sealed and delivered.
The NHL is back!
Did you miss it?
Whether you did or not, hockey is upon us. They’re about to drop the puck for a meaningful game for the first time since the Los Angeles Kings (of all teams) skated away with the Stanley Cup and took it straight to Muscle Beach last June.
It’s been nine months in Detroit, so perhaps a refresher course would be useful as you settle in for a 48-game sprint that will last 99 days and will take the Stanley Cup Final perilously close to the baseball All-Star break. The correct hockey definitions to the following are in there somewhere.
Icing. 1. Sugary, artificially colored and flavored substance spread on cakes, pastries and the like; 2. What hockey players do to their knees, elbows, ankles, nose and forehead after every game; 3. An attempt to make a place-kicker nervous.
Butt-ending. 1. Jumping into the end of a joke and giving away the punch line; 2. The final resting place of any player checked in the open ice by Niklas Kronwall.
Face wash. 1. Washing of the face; 2. The retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom.
5-on-3. 1. A “you better freaking score now” scenario for the home team, according to the home crowd; 2. Paying $5 for gas on pump No. 3.
The five hole. 1. The fifth spot in a baseball batting order; 2. When your team falls behind by five goals; 3. Again, the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom.
BC two-hander. 1. Just like a BC one-hander, only twice as good; 2. A player from British Columbia who can shoot lefty and righty; 3. A type of basketball set shot invented at Boston College.
Odd-man rush. 1. Rush Limbaugh; 2. Any rush up the ice that includes Sean Avery as one of the skaters; 3. Any fraternity event for new recruits that numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. in participants.
Screen shot. 1. An image you get from your computer; 2. A basketball move made famous in these parts by Vinnie Johnson; 3. What the video replay people look at during controversial plays around the crease.
Gross misconduct. Do you really want to know?
Rolling four lines. 1. Something they did a lot in the Haight-Asbury district of San Francisco in the 1960s; 2. When a coach writes his 12 forwards’ names on pieces of paper and tumbles them with a crank in order to create four lines.
Boarding. 1. When it’s time to get on the plane; 2. What you do with your dog when you go on vacation; 3. When you pay more attention to the ads on the boards than the action on the ice.
Hip check. 1. Making sure you understand what the other person is saying; 2. Part of what the media does to a player after they find out he has a “lower-body injury.”
Two-line pass. 1. A pick-up attempt at a bar involving two lines instead of one; 2. Skipping the first two lines of a newspaper story in order to get to the good stuff; 3. How many blue lines a player sees as he skates past after getting his bell rung.
Wraparound. 1. The kind of hug your grandma used to give you; 2. A sandwich made of pita bread that is fully closed; 3. The only way to stop Pavel Datsyuk.
Give and go. 1. Buying Girl Scout cookies from that person in the office who you would never otherwise see or talk to; 2. The philosophy of the management of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The above is only designed to be an at-a-glance guide. For a more proper way of remembering all the key hockey terms, listen to Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond on Fox Sports Detroit.
Bingo-bango! Katie bar the door! Holy smokes!