So sitting around my local watering hole today, I just happen to overhear the following conversation between two hockey fans.
One, beaming with a Wendel Clark jersey, is obviously a Leafs fan. The other, looking sullen and oozing of melancholy, was a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Two teams certainly going in opposite directions, and two fan bases that are overreacting, well lets just say, substantially.
Lucky for me, I have a great memory and can recall the entire conversation. It went a little something like this:
Leafs Fan: Man, did you see that game last night!? The Leafs are 3-0!
Pens Fan: Yeah, I saw it. I can't believe how awful everything in my life is right now. Do you have any uppers or know where the closest bridge is?
Leafs Fan: No. But you know who is great? CLARK MACARTHUR! He has four goals! I bet he scores 50, at least.
Pens Fan: You are just lucky that we have the worst goalie in the history of anything, and he just can't stop a beach ball and we should just trade him and start Brent Johnson every single game from here on in. Sigh.
Leafs Fan: We have the best two goalies in the NHL! The Monster and Giggy are unbeatable! We should easily win the Jennings Trophy this season, and if one of our guys doesn't win the Vezina, then it's a set-up by Gary Bettman because he loves Sidney Crosby and the Penguins!
Pens Fan: Speaking of Crosby, I'm so sick of him trying to do everything himself. He can't find chemistry with ANY winger since Colby Armstrong left. We should have SO brought him back to the 'Burgh this summer.
Leafs Fan: I love Colby Armstrong! He is the best power forward in the league. The fact that we overpaid for him doesn't bother me at all. I have his jersey ordered. Tim Brent's too! He has a goal this season! Remember him, he used to play for the Pens?
Pens Fan: When did he play here?
Leafs Fan: 2007-08. For like 18 seconds.
Pens Fan: If he wasn't on the Cup team or named Lemieux, I don't know him. But it makes sense that we don't have him anymore because Ray Shero is an idiot and doesn't know what he's doing. I can't believe he hasn't traded Jordan Staal for a winger yet.
Leafs Fan: Staal! That is the guy that your team picked ahead of Phil Kessel in the 2006 Draft! What a mistake!
Pens Fan: I know. I wish we had Kessel on our team instead of Staal. Staal had a couple of lucky goals in the playoffs two years in a row and is a good all around talent, but the fact that he is a center drives me crazy. We need more depth at wing, which reminds me how depressed I am about Bill Guerin no longer being in Pittsburgh.
Leafs Fan: Do you think Brian Burke is a great general manager or THE GREATEST general manager of all time?
Pens Fan: Well he stole Luca Caputi off us at the deadline last season for some guy name Ponikarovsky. I'm super depressed about that. Caputi is no doubt a huge part of your team early this season.
Leafs Fan: LUCA CAPUTI! What a trade! Love this kid. KRIS VERSTEEG! Love this kid too! I haven't even talked about Luke Schenn yet, have I? Playoffs are happening this year, at least!
Pens Fan: Well the Penguins aren't going to be anywhere near the playoffs come February, or whenever they start. Time for us to start thinking about the 2011 Draft and seeing if we can slide into a lottery pick.
Leafs Fan: Oh man, you just reminded me that we have NAZEM KADRI, too! He should be called up any second now! He is the future. Have you heard of him?
Pens Fan: You mean the kid that TSN had on SportsCenter every night since the beginning of August? Yeah, you can say I've heard of him.
Leafs Fan: I hate Kerry Fraser.
Pens Fan: I read on the PensBlog that I should hate David Volek, Droids and Ray Bourque's son.
Leafs Fan: Hey, I have a Droid! Let's look at the Eastern Conference standings. Yes! The Leafs are in first! Yikes, there are some bad teams ahead of the Penguins.
Pens Fan: I know. The Islanders are better than us this year. We will be lucky to get out of the basement of whatever division we're in. Gonchar is gone, and our powerplay looks lost. Why did we get rid of Mike Yeo? I mean, I hated him for two years, but whenever we scored a powerplay goal, he did a great job coaching the unit. We don't shoot every single time we have the puck; I KNOW that is our problem.
Leafs Fan: But how about that new arena? It looks great, except for the condition of the ice.
Pens Fan: The CEC is cursed, man. Some kid fell down on the ice on opening night. We aren't ever going to win a game in that arena. I like all the new bells and whistles though, like the sirens and new public address announcer. He makes it seem like I am at a monster truck rally. Good times. All in all, we should have moved to Kansas City. Bet their arena isn't cursed.
Leafs Fan: If the playoffs were to start right now, the Leafs would play Buffalo. I could go see a playoff game...in Buffalo. All the ACC tickets will be ravaged by corporate shills. Anyway, what do you think of that matchup? Think we have a chance!?
Pens Fan: All this talk about playoffs is getting me more depressed. No team has ever started the season 1-3 and won anything. Probably not, anyway. Even though the Penguins had one of their worst starts in club history the season we won our last Cup, that is just living in the past and far too long ago to even be relevant. I'm taking off. Going to go on LetsGoPens.com and create some ridiculous thread.
Leafs Fan: Okay, good talk! When April comes (that is when the playoffs start), you won't be hearing from me for a bit, alright? When we do see each other again after that, I will not remember the blind faith and optimism I had in October, after only THREE games. Maybe you'll be different, too. I'm off to pray to DownGoesBrown.