As passionate hockey fans there can be no worse time of the year than the portion of the summer we’re in right now. The lull before training camp. How many times do we all keep saying “Is it October yet”? There’s such a thing as the dog days of summer in baseball when teams are just finishing out the season with no hope for a playoff spot. But at least there’s games to watch. For us, the NHL Network tries to keep our interest during the summer, but really, how many times do I have to watch the press conference of when Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings?
Since the news around the league is rather “lite”, we held a meeting here at the Rat Trick offices to discuss how we’re going to survive the rest of the summer with no hockey. No actual meeting took place…. it just sounds more professional. But I did ask my colleagues how they’re coping with it. Five guys addicted to a “Game” we love.
Read how we’re surviving after the jump.
The offseason is a tough time for me….I really don’t follow baseball or anything else so most of my time is spent either thinking about hockey, talking about hockey, or playing hockey….at least on PS3. I spend a lot of time scouring the hockey blogs…but sadly most hockey blogs become static during the offseason and the podcasts shut down leaving me with out much fuel for my hockey addiction. This usually leads to playing NHL11 to relieve the stress I would normally relive watching a Panthers game (ironic right?). Most of the rest of the offseason times is spent focusing on work, or family….but all the while I’m waiting for the season to start.
What am I doing to survive the offseason? Evidently, not enough as I’m about to go stir crazy! For Panthers fans, it’s been an offseason of great news. Immediate team has been remade into something worth watching. Another outstanding draft. A return to red sweaters. A great three day rookie development camp that culminated with the looooooooong-awaited Erik Gudbranson signing. I was so excited, I bought a half season ticket package! But since then, it seems like time has stood still. We’re still over a month away from rookie camp to start. I’ve enjoyed the extra time that I’ve had to spend with my family, but I’m sure they’re sick of me at this point. Luckily, I start playing hockey very soon. But as much as I enjoy that, I’d rather see Guddy staple-gunning an opposing forward to the boards. I thought maybe I might get some reading done that has piled up but nightly, I find myself in my recliner with my laptop open, either writing or reading about hockey. And it’s still only the beginning of August! To quote Green Day: ‘Wake me up when September ends.”
For now, baseball is keeping me alive through the NHL offseason. Rooting against the Phillies and Braves is an all-year devotion, but it comes to a peak when I don’t have the Capitals or Flyers to hate. Perhaps even more frustrating is how the Panthers have a genuine possibility of winning next season, making the tension leading up to October even more unbearable. The Panthers really haven’t played an important game since before Tallon started dumping salary at the trading deadline, so I miss watching them chase the elusive playoffs. I could really use some hockey to take my mind off of college applications, but for now I’ll have to settle for sub-.500 Marlins and a weekly round of golf.
I realized how hard my favorite hockey players train during the offseason, so I decided to use the offseason to get in better shape myself. Jack Skille, Rocco Grimaldi, Johnathan Huberdeau, and others would sometimes tweet when they were headed to train. This helped motivate me. I also have heard that David Booth avoids unhealthy foods like cheeseburgers and fries. So I minimized my intake of junk food. I’ve lost 30 pounds in less than three months.
Depending on who you ask, I might be doing too much of nothing. While I have my softball league on Tuesday night’s, that’s about to finish off in a couple weeks and then nothing till after the labor day weekend. I’m so bored that I’ve changed my ritual of putting my left spike on first and then my right. I’ve mixed it up and for some reason, the hits are coming more often. I’ve also tried following baseball, a sport that I have loved since I was in diapers. I just can’t get into it as there’s not much to get excited about as an Oriole or Cub fan. As the NHL Director for FanSided, a lot of my time is taken up now recruiting writers for some of our sites, and trying to keep everyone else on track during the offseason. For the first time since the NHL lockout of 2005 I’m looking at the upcoming season with an abundance of optimism. Why not? New coach. 11 new players. The potential of Erik Gudbranson patrolling the blue line, all has me salivating for opening night. In the meantime I continue to search the web for news, ideas that will hopefully catapult me to write a story. I admit, I do peek at a baseball game here and there, but the snail pace of the game makes me want hockey too much to watch more than a couple innings. The chance to go to training camp in September and see how things shape up needs to get here quick. After 167 line combinations that I’ve figured out in my head, I need to see it live!
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