Anybody but the Islanders

Now that hockey season is safely over, we can talk about hockey without drawing the ire and attention – and resultant bad luck – of the hockey gods to That Team We’re Still Not Naming. (You can never be too careful.)

Despite the weather – Press Room Eric says hockey shouldn’t be played when it’s warm out, but I haven’t heard that Blackhawks fan complain about it recently – the Little Professor and I are enjoying all the off-season hockey news. After half the season was lost to the lockout, even the out-and-out ridiculous speculation about contracts and free agency is a relief. It’s just nice to be talking about hockey again.

It’s good to see how many of the Little Professor’s favorite players will be coming back next year, since watching hockey is much more entertaining when we’re watching it as a family. (I have to nix the whiskey and cursing, at least until the children go to bed.) I learned my lesson on quickly breaking trade news to him after the “Spotting-Max-Talbot-in-Flyers-Orange” fiasco several years ago.

Apparently That Team We’re Still Not Naming is welcoming back That Guy Who Calls Himself the Piece and Also Won a Stanley Cup Last Year. He’s a fan favorite? Since we started watching during the Vancouver Olympics, we didn’t have a chance to see him on his last go-around, but we’re optimistic.

The hockey gods know TTWSNN could use someone to clear the crease. Even the Long Suffering Husband, who only suffers hockey for our sake, is bemused by the fact that opposing teams regularly camp out and even erect lemonade stands in front of the goalie.

The Little Professor and I also bid a fond farewell to Matt Cooke. We enjoyed his shenanigans when he wasn’t injuring people. Watching people go absolutely frothing-at-the mouth insane over Cooke, only to be summarily shut up with a short-handed goal was entertaining, although I couldn’t share many of those rabid comments with the Professor without heavy editing.

We’re already looking forward to the next hockey season. We might even make our way up to Pittsburgh and take in another game. The last one was a disappointment – when I saw TTWSNN was playing the woeful Islanders on the Professor’s birthday, I thought it was a sure-fire win.

He had a great time pre-game, posing in front of Mario’s statue and shopping in the team store and eating stadium food.

Then the game started, and the Islanders – the woeful, woeful Islanders – started scoring. And they just didn’t stop.

“Do they know they’re playing the Islanders?” a mystified Professor asked.

(I’m still not 100 percent convinced that it wasn’t another team wearing the Islanders’ uniforms, perhaps those villainous Flyers.)

We didn’t make it to a game in the shortened season, but maybe we’ll give it another whirl this upcoming season.

As long as they’re not playing the Islanders.

(Wallace-Minger, a Weirton resident, is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at