During these hot and lazy days of summer, there is a time honored tradition in hockey cities: building the next Cup winner.
Most fans in places like Vancouver and Toronto think we are just as good at it as the men paid millions to make those decisions. We will wail and moan about a player thrown in to make the deal, sure that he will come back to bite us in the future.
The first "wrong" move a GM makes will cause radio show phone lines to go nuts, wondering how this guy ever got the job. Men like Mike Gillis and Brian Burke often look tired and harried at times. With the weight of our expectations, it is no wonder.
Fans can be just as ruthless in assessing the talent, letting guys go, or knowing the cap hit to the penny and how a player's future contract bonuses will affect it.
Sure, all sports have fantasy leagues and virtual GMs abound in all sports. In hockey we are the same. The summer is a special time for us, though. The draft and free agency have finished and there are new acquisitions and potential superstars to discuss.
Training camp heralds the end of summer, but the start of the season.
And of course, that one deal that will make this team the one. The secret glee when first reading the trade details, when a fan knows in the heart that our team got the better of the other.
"We got him? And a pick? And we only had to give up that bum that was always injured? Nice."