I like hockey. You like hockey. We all like hockey - that's why we're here. But since June 25th we've been without it. Here's what I've been doing for the past couple months to compensate...
1. Read books about hockey
Being the offseason, there's not nearly as much to read as there typically is so I've had to find a replacement. There is no shortage of hockey books available to fill that void and I spent a good period of time with The Best of Down Goes Brown by Sean McIndoe, which I highly recommend. The great thing about that book is that it's a collection of blog posts so it's perfect for commuting regardless of distance. I also have Derek Sanderson's autobiography Crossing the Line and Hockey Abstract by Ron Vollman waiting for me. Sanderson, is one of the most colorful Bruins of all-time and has lived quite a life. If you're interested in a slightly different kind of hockey book, I've heard really good things about Selling the Dream by Ken Campbell, which explores the (astronomic) costs of youth hockey.
2. Watch hockey movies
I know hockey movies are few and far between and the number of good ones is even smaller, but I never get tired of them. And with no games to watch, I've had more time with them. Luckily, numerous movies have been running this summer so if you're like me and don't actually own any, this was a very good thing. I probably watched Goon, The Mighty Ducks and Miracle a couple times each. If only Mighty Ducks 2 was on TV. IF ONLY.
And also, regarding Goon, this. Yes.
3. Re-watch old games
The NHL Network broadcasts games all of the time. Granted, most of them are random playoff games that don't even approach classic status, but beggars can't be choosers, right? My advice is to record a good game so that you have it readily available. I recorded game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals a few months ago and it was put to use multiple times this summer. Favorite game.
NHL Networks also runs documentaries and some other original programming so you're not limited to just games. It's not hard knocks but nostalgia is a good way to kick the no-hockey blues.
4. Play NHL 13
Like the movies, having no games offered me some more free time. And what better way to spend it than with the sports game of the year? Best part of the video game version of NHL is no lockouts. Here's hoping that feature never makes a future installment regardless of their quest for increased realism. Speaking of future games, what do you all think of the NHL 14 demo?
5. More features
A lot of offseason hockey writing is bad. We've had Crosby/Gretzky debates and criticism of Chara taking a photo with Hossa and the cup. But there's also been some really good features coming out thanks to the free time. Puck Daddy's NHLeague of Nations and the 25 Under 25 and Advanced Stat pieces on the various SB Nation sites have been the highlights for me. But of course, the crown jewel of the summer is this specific post. And while not quite feature-y, the season preview pieces have taken on a higher level of interest because of the division restructures and salary cap. Plus, the Olympics are around the corner. Have you done your civic duty yet?
I assure you that I did do non-hockey related things this summer but until the Premier League season started, I clung to hockey as my lone sports fix. Fortunately the season's just around the corner so we can resume normal activity very soon - hang on just a little longer, everyone!
So how did you deal with no hockey?