Players are skating, and NHL training camps are within sniffing distance. So we are warming up our emotional engines to conjure all the irrational excitement, hatred and other strongly worded feelings that accompany an eight-month devotion to watching men making billions playing a game.
This is part of a quick game of considering our rivals, with love (er, envy), and hate.
Object: The Red Wings
Hate: I'm pretty sure Niklas Kronwall is Swedish for "Human Wrecking Ball." Kronwall is known for putting the entire force of his body into devastating checks that often skirt the line between legal and rules changlingly illegal. Chances are if you're a Red Wings fan, Kronwall is an effective and misunderstood throwback to a time when men were men and Ted Lindsey was still Terrible. If you're not a Wings fan, Kronwall is like the shark in Jaws and you're hoping no one on your team turns into Robert Shaw.
(The video is two years old, but not much has changed)
Envy: It's good to be the king or, in this case, the Little Caesar. Pizza King Mike Ilitch bought the Red Wings for about $65 in 1982 and is now one of the league's most august and influential owners. He's got so much pull that he not only guilt-tripped the NHL to moving his team, once the scourge of the Western Conference, to the East because of "travel and the fans," but he also got the debt-ridden city of Detroit to foot the bill for a new $450 million arena.
And remember, kids: when your team is winning, your staid, antiquated arena built in the 1970's is a mecca of sport. When the team is losing, that arena is a poisonous, uninhabitable garbage dump.
And you? Which (current) wearer of the Winged Wheel do you hate and which one do you think is an alright guy? Will you zing Zetterberg or do you desire Datsyuk? Please show your work.