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A Leaf-less playoff season

Margaret Sheridan | Interrobang | Sports | April 7th, 2008

It's that time of the year for hockey fans. After suffering through a packed, and alternately slow, 82-game regular season, it's now time to strap in for two months of that post season excitement.

It makes that joke about Canada having two seasons, summer and hockey, seem unrealistic. I mean, who has a 10-month season? Besides the NHL that is.

But it's gotten to the point that the audience is in shorts and tank tops when the Stanley Cup is finally awarded come mid-June, which I suppose is fitting considering the number of teams in non-traditional hockey markets like Tampa Bay and Anaheim the modern NHL is packed with.

But I digress.

The point was that the playoffs are starting, which for any hockey fan, is the best time of the year, save only for the first puck-drop of the season. And at the time I wrote this article I'd have to admit that, despite the fact that my team didn't make the post-season, I was starting to get a little bit of that playoff fever.

It's a time when hockey fans, no matter their team of preference, gather in droves and start the hockey debates anew. I'm not talking your typical low-key, over-coffee chats. I'm referring to the rush to gather as much information as possible on every single series, the injuries each team has suffered, how good they are on the road, do they have a North American captain (which increases your chances of winning the cup supposedly). All of a sudden we all have three or four teams we each want to move on to make the best possible final-four scenario and we're planning second and third rounds match-ups based on opening games.

At the moment, it seems natural. But I can't imagine what the hockey-mad portion of the country must look like right now to those less inclined to our national winter sport. Probably like the bunch of nutcases that we are.

While they laugh, we'll be picking players for playoff hockey pools, which provide us with either bragging rights or redemption after a regular season pool that didn't exactly pan out as expected.

As a resigned Toronto fan I'll be cheering for any team facing the Senators on the basis of ‘as long as they don't win before we do it's not that bad.' I have to keep happy somehow, no?

Oh well... the boys of summer are back, so maybe a little bit of baseball can help fill that void.
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