The players are back on the ice

It’s hockey season again.

Some things are the same this year; some are different.

Things that are the same: The Long Suffering Husband is confused by icing; my Little Professor and I are still engaging in ridiculous, voo-dooesque rituals meant to somehow improve our favorite team’s chance of winning; the restraining order keeping the Sassy Saint at least 5 feet away from our (can’t prove it isn’t) magical hockey totem is still in effect; and the LSH and I are still arguing whether football is much slower-paced than hockey and, therefore, brain-numbingly boring.

Just for the record, I’m right and he’s wrong. I have never seen a football play last longer than a minute. Also, someone needs to explain to me why icing is difficult to understand, but touch-backs aren’t. What is a touch-back anyway?

Things that are different: The realignment of the conferences (Hi, Columbus and Detroit; see you, Oilers!); the putrid name given to the local conference; the Bad Luck Kid isn’t malfunctioning (for the moment); and the Philadelphia Flyers are really, really bad (wait, that’s not different, just recent!).

I probably shouldn’t gloat too much over the Flyers losing seven of the first 10, since they’ve finally managed to put together back-to-back wins and have managed to claw their way out of the Metropolitan (ugh) basement by planting their collective boot (skate?) on the face of the even-more-woeful Rangers. (I miss John Tortorella, but nowhere near as much as Henrik Lundqvist does – and for far different reasons.) Chronic gloating leads to hockey gods smiting people (see the Bad Luck Kid).

I should probably say something here about how it’s a long season and hockey is more exciting when teams like the Flyers, Rangers and the Capitals are good. But that would be a lie (except the long season part). The Metropolitan Division is weak and bad, and the Atlantic Division would eat its lunch in a heartbeat, let alone the Western Conference.

When the division was announced, I would have sworn it was going to be good. I was wrong, but I’m not losing any sleep over it, as long as my favorite team is winning. Other teams’ fans can complain about arrogance, band-wagoning and the bankruptcy that didn’t happen – that team I’m too superstitious to name has a winning record, and everything else is just background noise. I might not be a nice person or a “fan of the game,” but at least I’m honest.

Honestly? I feel like a Southeast Division-Ovechkin era Capitals fan, and it feels good.

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