If you hadn't noticed, the NHL dropped the puck on its 2014 preseason schedule this week with games beginning last Sunday. It's the time of year that hockey fans have been waiting for since the Los Angeles Kings lifted the Stanley Cup last June. In celebration of the start of the preseason, I thought it would be nice to watch the Top 10 plays of last season with the help of the good folks at "SportsCentre." Yes, "SportCentre" - the Canadian version of ESPN's "SportsCenter." With them being a show from Canada, I'm going to trust their judgement on these.
Any plays they missed?
The NHL lockout stole three months of hockey, including 34 games per team, the Winter Classic, and the 2013 NHL All-Star Game; understandably, it upset many, many hockey fans. When the lockout officially ended, teams went into full fan repair mode, in an attempt to win back all those fans who were sick of players and owners squabbling over money, something both parties had a lot more of than the average fan. Now that the season has been back for a little over a month now, have the fans come back?
The answer is.... yes!
Oh, and the answer kinda is no, too.
Let me explain — unlike the other major sports leagues, the NHL and its franchises are really divided into two classes: the haves and the have-nots. Hockey-crazed fan bases, which include mostly cities in Canada and the Northeast U.S., have returned in full force, filling arenas on a nightly basis. According to ESPN.com's attendance figures, all seven teams located north of the border have 100% attendance or better so far this season. Same goes for major hockey markets including Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit. Some of those have even improved from last season.
When in comes to sports, fans know that the regular season is just the warm-up for the playoffs, where everything gets ratcheted up to a new level. No where will that be more apparent than in Los Angeles this weekend when the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings all host home playoff games.
From May 17 through May 20, Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles will be the epicenter of sports with six postseason games taking place in that span. Normally, playoff competition in L.A. is reserved for the Lakers who have 16 championships to their name, compared to zero from the Kings and Clippers. This season has been different, though, with the Clippers and Kings shedding the losing mentality that has hounded them for years.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins are still in the thick of defending their championship (or have been eliminated, depending on when you are reading this), but one thing they will not ever be beaten at is making hilarious commercials and advertisements. The star of these ads is perhaps the most underrated mascot is sports, known simply as Bear. Name me another mascot that is funny, intimidating and lovable...YOU CAN'T!
The commercials below came out last season, so yes I am a little late to the party, but these definitely stand the test of time. I have seen them too many times to count and they never cease to make me laugh. As a casual hockey fan, it makes me want to watch more Bruins hockey games. This season the genius Bruins marketing department are back with a 70's style sitcom called "Bear & The Gang" and, once again, they are awesome.
Having said that, nothing beats the commercials from last season. Check them out and you'll find it hard not to be a Bruins fan afterwards:
This was the first one of these ads that I saw and it remains my favorite. That guy really should have known better.
Obey the Restroom Code
From a young age, people learn not to cut in line. Unfortunately for this dude, he forgot. Luckily for us, Bear reminded him.
The 2012 NHL playoffs are finally here, and for a casual fan it is the time that the season actually begins. It's when everything gets ramped up to a new level. The game gets faster, the players hit harder, the goalies make saves that you have to watch again just to believe, rivalries get even more heated and the green men (see right) get a little more awesome.
The puck gets dropped for the 2012 postseason on April 11 and will run straight into mid-June. Before you tune into the playoffs this year, check out some random facts you may not know (and some you might):
Did you know that no team located in Canada has won a Stanley Cup since 1993? Well, if you are a fan of any of the seven teams in Canada you probably did. They have had opportunities though; five times since 1993 a Canadian team has made the finals and lost, including last year when the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks. In a sport that was created in the country, you'd think that the NHL teams from the Great White North would have a little more success.