Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things I Learned In 2010

Every milestone in my blogging impresses me. First, Hab It Her Way made it through a full season. Then we made it to a one-year anniversary. Now, we've blogged a full calendar year, from one Winter Classic to another. (I'm out of town, and there is less hockey than usual, but I know that all of this year's Classic goals were scored by Capitals or Evgeni Malkin, so I think I'll enjoy firing up the DVR when I get back.)
I've learned a lot this year, thanks to the great people around me (which may include you!). Also a result of taking notes during SportsCentre and stuff.

Sean Avery isn't the only jerkstore in the NHL. He's still very high in the standings, but this year I found out - in the worst way possible - that Matt Cooke exists. Thank heavens for Evander Kane punching his lights out, as a sort of preemptive punishment.

I like the Los Angeles Kings. I started 2010 trying to figure out why some of these West Coast defencemen made Team Canada instead of Mike Green. (Yeah. I know. They call me Rookie for a reason.) I didn't know exactly what I'd been missing out on all this time with Drew Doughty. Then the Olympics happened. Then a week later I watched my Canadiens play the Kings, who I swear weren't even worth talking about when I started watching hockey. Turns out that now, they're worth talking about, and not just Doughty. I'm not sure when I decided that I actually liked the Kings. It just kind of happened.

The Oilers are good too. Again, when I started watching hockey, they sucked. At least I think they sucked. I mean, who even heard of the Edmonton Oilers after Gretzky stopped playing for them? Then, after a few years of sucking and scooping up some prime draft picks, the oil change is on. This team is now interesting. Six Oilers have scored their first NHL goal this season. I'm not going to call myself an Oilers fan, because I can't hurt the Calgary Flames like that (as much as they've tried to hurt me) but the Oilers don't suck. They, along with the Kings and the Thrashers, are going through an awesome renaissance and we get to watch it happen.

Boys love the name "Logan Couture." It helps that he's leading the San Jose Sharks in goals and is in the top 10 league-wide, but boys aren't talking about his stats. Just his name. I've heard a bunch of boys (but no girls) say his name over and over, just because they like the sound of it. It wasn't until Puck Daddy linked to an explanation that I started to understand: "Maybe it's because I associate the name Logan with Wolverine. Maybe it's because I associate the name Couture with MMA fighter Randy Couture. Put them together and you have a badass name. Sounds like an international man of mystery."
Is that it, gentlemen? Mystery solved?

I'm not that superstitious. I try not to say "hat trick" out loud because I tend to jinx players, and I've eaten my fair share of certain desserts because the Habs win when I eat them. But during the playoffs I read about people who only eat certain things on gamedays - fans, not players, who restrict their diets for their teams. People who have to sit in the same chair every game. People who change their socks at puck drop. People who don't wash their lucky T-shirts (but only wear them during games, because that's gross). By comparison, my cupcake baking looks like child's play.

How to spell "Valtteri Filppula." No, not really. I just guess every time. I did, however, learn he has a brother, Ilari, who also belongs to the Red Wings and looks just like him. (Also, I didn't have to google that his name is Ilari. I just magically remembered.)

Don't mess with Bob Gainey. Throughout his career with the Canadiens, Gainey did everything he could to make the Canadiens the best they could be. You could see it in the way he played. You could see it in the way he ran the team. You could see it in the way he fired a colleague when the team needed a change in coaching, and in the way he completely made the team over in the summer of 2009. Then, ultimately, he realized that he'd gone as far as he could go, and ultimately decided that stepping down from his position as general manager was the best thing he could do for the Canadiens. That's dedication.

Hockey can be heartbreaking. I'll always say that I love all my Habs, and I always tried to be level-headed when a trade happened. Lately, though, I've found myself getting a little sad when I lose a Hab I like, regardless of the trade's benefits. I love the Canadiens just the way they are right now, but I think about certain guys who aren't part of the organization any more (Matt D'Agostini, Sergei Kostitsyn, Glen Metropolit, Greg Stewart, Shawn Belle, Ryan O'Byrne, and especially Guy Boucher) and it makes me a little sad that the Habs let them go. More heartbreak? The playoffs, where the Habs were sent home by the only opponent I desperately wanted them to beat. I usually say that there's no crying in hockey, but I might have to recant that eventually.

I learned a lot this year. I also laughed and wrote a lot, made some great contacts, and accomplished more as a sports fan than I thought I would. Plus, I sat in the best seats I've ever had for hockey games (8th row at Staples Center, 2nd row for the Bulldogs at the Bell Centre, and back of the reds for Habs vs Canucks). Not sure what more I could ask for. 2011 is shaping up to be a whole new learning experience, so let's see what the new year brings.  


  1. I'd like to say that meeting you (both Czechtacular and Rookie) in 2010 was just as enlightening.

  2. Thanks, Spez, that's not creepy at all.


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