If you’re a sports fan, you may have heard about the NBA lockout. It’s kind of a big deal. Comparisons have been drawn to the NHL’s lost season, but the most common angle for hockey is the benefit to the NHL in terms of a potential fan migration. While some corners of the blogosphere caution that the effect will be minimal in the short-term, there are some ways that the lockout helps hockey. Sports bars, for instance, needing a major sport to fill their TV screens, may need to turn to the NHL in place of the NBA. And in cities with both an NBA and an NHL franchise, of which there are 14, individual fans with expendable income normally used to attend basketball games, may give hockey a try.
The writer of Caps Basketball is one of those people.
A hardcore Washington Wizards fan, he dedicated himself to become a hardcore Washington Capitals fan thanks to the NBA lockout. Having watched a grand total of zero regular season Capitals games, he was truly coming in tabula rasa, with only memories of NHL 94, a couple seasons of fantasy hockey played with no knowledge of the game, and some crazy experiences in the Czech Republic during the 2010 World Championships.
He picked a pretty good time to become a Capitals fan, seeing as they have started the season 7-0-0 and are currently first in the league. Must be unusual for a Wizards fan to watch his team win.
The best part about reading his blog is seeing him come into contact with the various eccentricities of the game and having no idea what to make of them. Or alternatively, jumping to immediate conclusions that line up incredibly well with how long-time hockey fans already feel. He already hates the trapezoid, points for an overtime loss, and vague injury reports. He also has an instinctive idea that the plus/minus statistic is evil. His instincts are pretty good.
Of course, sometimes his questions and assumptions are a little bit amusing to long time fans, but you have to give him some credit for putting himself out there. Like are forechecking and cross-checking types of bodychecks? Why aren’t “holding the stick” penalties called on every player on the ice? But some of the other questions point to things that some hockey fans might have missed: what’s with the “3 Stars” obsession in the NHL? “Sin Bin” really is a pretty stupid nickname for the penalty box.
So getting an outsider’s perspective on the NHL is great, but what makes Caps Basketball my new favourite hockey blog is that the guy is legitimately hilarious. His A-Z guide for hockey newbies is gold, his Night Before Christmas parody is spot on, and his brief list of changes to the game for fans of NHL 94 makes me chuckle. Here are a couple of my favourite moments so far:
“D” Dump & Chase: When a player doesn’t trust his 1 on 1 moves and doesn’t feel like playing offense he will pass the puck to nobody, and not score.
Pro-tip: become a Red Wings or Canucks fan to minimize your experience of this atrocity.
“I” Icing: Something one turns off while playing NHL 94
I have never met anyone in person that plays any of the NHL games with icing turned on.
“U” USA: A place that doesn’t produce that many hockey players, yet has all the teams.
Has anyone registered “MakeItThirty.ca” yet?
I think the glass needs to be higher, and possibly install a ceiling so that the puck doesn’t go out of play so much.
Bubble hockey! That brings back memories. Now I really want to see the idea transferred into the NHL: imagine a plexiglass dome over the entire rink, with no stoppages for the puck going out of play. Of course, a glass-shattering body-check could present some problems…
Finally, let’s leave you with a little excerpt from his poem parody, “The Night Before Capsmas” written the night before his first time attending a Capitals game in person:
With a little old leader, so lively yet slow,
I knew in a moment it must be Boudreau.
More rapid than eagles his skaters they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and cursed them by name;