'O NHL, How I Love Thee

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'O NHL, How I Love Thee

With the upcoming NHL season, as well as NHL '09, right around the corner, my hockey fever is in full force. So I thought I'd slap together a list of things I love and can't wait to see this year.

Lord Stanleynone are more majestic, awe-inspiring or breath-taking than this big silver mug that has been dropped, thrown into pools and used as a giant bowl, amongst other things. Not to mention the list of names ingrained on the Cup: The Great One, Le Magnifique, Bourque, Orr, Pocklingtonoops. Scratch that one (oh wait, they already did).

I'm not even Canadian, but I love Hockey Night in Canada. You're not a hockey fan if you don't like HNIC.  It just feels like how hockey should be watched.  Plus, it makes me randomly say "oot", "aboot" and crave maple syrup.

Plus, HNIC has the immortal Don Cherry. No one's dislike of foreigners has ever been so funny. If you're from anywhere but Canada, you can do nothing right for Cherry. 

You led the league in scoring? But you're Russian!  You're an elite player? But you wear a visor, you pansy! And you're Swedish to boot! 

It's also fun when someone's clothing can induce seizures when you're not epileptic.

Speaking of those pesky Ruskies, my man-crush on Alex Ovechkin will resume in full force. How can you not like him? He's fast as hell, he scores in bunches and he looks and hits like a good 'ol Canadian boy.

If only Evgeni "Geno" Malkin could play with that kind of fire.  Oh, who am I kidding? I love watching Lurch play, too.

Those two are just a part of the kid movement in the NHL these days.  I've never been so entertained by a young group of players. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Carey Price, Jack "Mother F'n" Johnson, and so on. It's also cool to watch these guys, who are all younger than myself, and think about how much more they've accomplished. 

Oh, God, someone get my therapist on the phone.

(Did I mention there's a guy with the nickname "Mother F'n"? I like him just a little bit more than the rest.)

JMFJ has been known to lay the lumber, another favorite of mine during the hockey season.  There's nothing better than seeing a guy lay a good, clean hit that rocks someone so hard you can't help but cringe. 

Every huge hit also allows me the chance to reminisce about Eric Lindros forgetting Hockey 101: Keep Your Head Up.  This usually leads to me youtube-ing the clip of Brian Campbell demolishing R.J. Umberger in the 2006 Playoffs. Good times.

Another great thing that doesn't get talked about enoughGoalie masks. In all seriousness, these are the coolest aesthetic pieces in sports.  It's great to see all the quirky designs like Cujo's snarling dog (inspired by the movie Cujo, no doubt), Ryan Miller's "it's Miller Time" and, though I don't believe he plays anymore, Steve Shields' old mask with the Gerry Cheevers old-school mask painted on. That was cool.

One thing will be missing,though.  I realize that he's coaching now, but do I really have to watch Tampa Bay Lightning games to get a glimpse of the Epic Mullet aka Barry Melrose? No one will ever pull off the "Canadian Colonel Sanders" look quite like Barry.  I miss him already.

Hurry up and get here, NHL Regular Season.  The fever is in full-force.

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