It’s that time of year again. Pollen is in the air, flowers are blooming, people in New England are complaining about it being cold even though it’s spring, and–what’s that? Hockey is still on? I don’t understand. How long is the season? Are you joking?
No, friends, this is no joke. But for all of you who may enjoy watching the occasional game, yet find the 82 game regular season schedule punishing (I feel you on that), don’t worry. We have now reached the easily digestible part of the postseason: Conference Finals. That means there are only four teams left, only two sets of games, and hopefully that means the NHL has scheduled the games for separate nights.
So if you’re looking to hop on the playoffs bandwagon and watch the end of the season with the rest of us, here are some tips:
Do: Comment wisely that it’s cool neither of the Western Conference teams have won a Cup before.
Don’t: Say anything about missing the Blackhawks and/or Kings in the final. Depending on the audience, this could go over very badly.
Do: Insult/compliment/covet the beards.
Don’t: Try to grow one of your own. It’s too late. You’re too late.
Do: Complain about the refs missing calls.
Don’t: Forget that this is playoffs and therefore penalties are more of an abstract concept, like love and hope.
Do: Clap appreciatively and/or say, “Nice kill” when the team you’re cheering for defeats a penalty.
Don’t: Yell “shoot” during a power play because come on that’s just annoying.
Do: Groan loudly if the game goes into overtime, especially if it’s the Western Conference game.
Don’t: Stop watching, even if it goes into quadruple or quintuple overtime.
Do: Scream loudly and obnoxiously when your team scores in OT.
Don’t: Bet on two different players for the overtime challenge. Pick one. That’s not how this works. You don’t get to make different bets in horse racing. “Oh, $50 on Nyquist, but if he doesn’t win, then $50 on the winner.” That’s not a thing. Your bookie would laugh in your face.
Do: Comment that Nyquist, the horse, is named after Nyquist, the Detroit Red Wings player.
Don’t: Comment that Nyquist, the horse, is named after Nyquist, the Detroit Red Wings player, while things are happening on the ice. At best, no one will listen to you. At worst, someone may wrestle you into silence. They can’t do it to Pierre, so they will do it to you.
Do: Complain about coach’s challenges and how long they take and is that even worth a challenge, really?
Don’t: Say the word “shutout,” intimate that your team might win even if they have a four goal lead, take any lead for granted, agree with anything Mike Milbury says, spitefully chant a goalie’s name, chant homophobic or misogynistic (or racist or anything other ist) things, talk over a ref’s ruling, or touch the Cup. The last is unlikely to happen, but just to be safe.
Do: Cry profusely if your team gets eliminated. Also cry profusely if your team wins.
Don’t: Forget to hydrate.
Above all, Do: Enjoy yourself and remember: it isn’t just a game. It is highly important and don’t you dare suggest otherwise.