I have to say that late summer is my least favorite time of the year. Not the least of my reasons is how hot and sticky Nashville summers are by the beginning of August, but there are other reasons as well. Summer is winding down and school preparations have begun – which means daily fluctuations in my son’s viewpoint between excitement and dread. Vacations are past, and we’ve run out of new and different ideas to fill time and beat the heat.
But the biggest problem I have with this time of year: life is void of hockey. Sure, there are still some UFA and RFA signings, minor trade deals and filling in of the depth charts, but there is very little real excitement right now. Yes, we’re all waiting to hear the arbitrator’s ruling on the Kovalchuk hearing and its official that Mike Modano is going to be a Wing, while in Preds’ land we’re awaiting a deal with Hornqvist. But the real fun of the summer of hockey is over. We’ve been through the thrill of the Stanley Cup Finals, the anticipation of the draft and the opening of free agency has passed, and even Preds Skate of the Union and prospect camp have come and gone. My son’s youth league is even taking a break right now. Alas, no real hockey fix is coming until camp opens in early September.
My husband went to the Sportsplex this week and skated during Stick and Puck. He said it was the best thing to do when it was nearly 100 degrees outside, and it got him a temporary hockey fix. I will not be participating in any on-ice activities myself (I’ll leave that to the boys in my family) so I’m still left with an emptiness. During this time of year, the experts and serious fans are all looking at the newly crafted rosters and putting their thoughts together on what the coming season will hold. Will the Blackhawks be half as good as last season with their depleted roster? Can the Lightning finally figure out how to put a team together? How will Montreal follow up their surprising post season? I have pondered these questions and others like them, but even that grows old after a while.
I can only read so much predicting and prognosticating before I’ve had my fill. I don’t want to guess about what’s going to happen this season – I’m ready to watch it happening. Now, I’m not known for my patience, but really – does the off season have to be this long?
So, how do you fill the void of hockey? Do you read the blogs about prospects? Jot down potential line combinations? Start working on your draft strategy for your fantasy league? Go down to the rink and watch the local guys battle it out? There has to be some way to keep the excitement of hockey all year round. I just can’t seem to make it last through the dog-days of August, but at least it’s only for a month.