I know that I've been going on and on about how boring the off-season is. Am I wrong? No. It's really boring. So boring, in fact, that The Commish decided not to wake everyone up in the middle of the night to make a big deal about the Kovalchuk contract (finally!).
Seeing as training camp is a little under two weeks away (yay!!), I've decided to count down my Top 5 reasons I'm super excited for this season to start. Keep in mind, these are MY reasons I'm excited. It has nothing to do with the season outlook by all the prognosticators out there. If you don't like my list, make your own.
#5 - The Opening Videos at Ponda Center
Ok, this is super nerdy, I get that. For those of you who haven't attended a game at Ponda, this may be over your heads; the videos on YouTube don't do the openings any justice. The house lights dim, and a recap video comes on. It's not until that deep orange lighting, similar to a So Cal sunset, washes over the crowd, that you really feel the rush. I give it up to the video guys, the choice of opening music (sans Nickleback) always gets my adrenaline pumping - so much so that I put the songs on my workout mix at the gym. The highlight videos with hits and gorgeous goals get me even more excited for the game. Then finally, my buddy Phil gets on the mic and goes, "Ladies and Gentlemen, your ANAHEIM DUCKS!" It's sensory overload, and I'm ready to go.
#4 - A Healthy Getzlaf
Bring it on, haters! I love this man, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Ryan Getzlaf had a heck of a start to last season, running neck-and-neck with Joe Thornton for a good while for the league lead in assists. Then the ankle injury happened during the game versus the Kings. Watching it still makes me nauseous, knowing how much worse it could have been. Getz wasn't himself for the rest of the year. (Who knows how our season would have been different had he NOT played in the Olympics). I was at the game in Vancouver when he re-injured his ankle, his last of the year. By that time, the Ducks had all but eliminated themselves from the playoff hunt, and it seemed inevitable with Getzlaf out. Well, Getzy has had a very long summer to rest that ankle and ready himself for the new year. Hopefully that included some time to reflect, mature, and finally realize he needs to use his cannon of a shot more often. He's a beast and one of the best in the league. Oh, and you better believe that I'll be holding my breath every time he takes a sharp turn on that healed ankle.
#3 - Inevitable Sharks Disappointment
I'm not blind. The Sharks practically own the Ducks during the regular season. Their team is pretty much the same as last year with one exception - they got rid of human swiss cheese Nabokov. When the Ducks lit him up, it tended to be a big downpour. Anyways, that's not what I look forward to. The Sharks are going to be a good team, as usual. That's why it's so fun to watch them suck it up big time in the playoffs. For all the Fear the Fin fans reading this, yes, the Ducks didn't make the playoffs last year, and I should just shut my mouth, right? HA! At least no one expected too much from the Ducks; unlike the Sharks, where everyone and their mom seemed to say it was between them and the Caps for The Cup. There is just something about crushing the hopes and dreams of all Sharks fans that gives me the warm fuzzies. I blame the painted teal Sharks fan who threw a beer at me during Game 6 of the epic Ducks vs. Sharks series in 2009. I could tolerate Sharks fans before that moment. Now I revel in their disappointment.
#2 - My First Fantasy Hockey Teams
For some reason, I joined TWO fantasy hockey leagues for this upcoming season, having never competed in a fantasy hockey league ever before in my life. Teams "Magicians Alliance" and "Gobias Industries" will be attempting to not suck in their respective leagues. Here's the thing, right now, I'm treating this foray into fantasy hockey as a silly hobby that I won't get that in to. Then it occurred to me that I'm completely lying to myself. I'm a financial analyst. I went to college to specifically get a degree in analyzing and forecasting trends of numbers. I know that once I get going, I'm going to be obsessed with trying to forecast the perfect team. You guys may never hear from me again once the season starts, because I'll be shut away in my apartment, numbers written all over the walls, muttering bad hockey clichés while rocking back and forth at my desk.
#1 - IT'S FREAKING HOCKEY SEASON
I'll have something to write about that is actually relevant. No more reaching for creative ideas in my magic bag of BS. Also, my friends and family have been trained to know not to ask me to do anything or go anywhere if there is a Ducks game on TV (or I'm attending). I love this. No more bridal and baby showers. No more uncomfortable wingwoman duties. I have to focus on the game for the benefit of my readers, right? Right.
One more week of BS and then, finally, training camp begins. I can't wait.