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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Keeps Me Casual on Hockey

It's been a long time since I've talked hockey on this. 

Wait! Huh? Come again?

Yes, hockey. In fact, the last time I posted anything, I was mesmerized by the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers. 

Fast forward to 2024, and my hockey fandom took another step forward. For years I've been the admitted casual. And you know what, I'm okay with that. Unfortunately, my unconditional love fandom for my New York Knicks presents a conflict that will forever curtail anything serious from happening between hockey and myself. 

Nonetheless, I felt like this post-season heightened my hockey fandom to another level. Hockey is amazingly awesome. I very much enjoyed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, caught myself choosing Rangers games over early April Yankees baseball, and overall, found myself playing NHL 24 on the ol' Playstation 4. 

Yeah, I fell hard. But before I shelf my spring fling with hockey until April 2025, here are just a few quick ponderings: 

  1. Hockey as a sport is such an acquired taste. For individuals like me who weren't exposed to the sport in an educated enough manner to truly love it, embracing it is bitter at first, then suddenly, you're getting picky and looking at how it's brewed and what kind of hops are involved. Once you've adapted and appreciated it, it's such a rush. 
  2. Hockey environments - all of them, are so awesome. So are the traditions. There is a beauty, history, and overall art to it all - again, so much of it seems weird if you're on the outside. But if you're in it, oh boy, are you in it!
  3. Connor McDavid is the biggest kept secret in sports. 
  4. The sport's culture is clearly in the way of generating crossover superstars. The game needs representation. Although, the NHL's approach is a good start
  5. This might be the first year where I've felt satisfied with television coverage of the sport. In a sport that is most definitely a better experience in person, the hockey coverage from ESPN and Turner (TBS and TNT) was outstanding. This casual never felt left out, and often, felt smartened up during intermission and post-games. It's an element the NBA's television coverage has lost. Kudos to Mark Messier and P.K. Subban who taught me something new every night. 
  6. Goalie saves are one of the best things in sports. 
  7. Ditto on the play-by-play individuals calling hockey games. 
  8. The Stanley Cup is the coolest trophy in North American sports. 
  9. I'm still not into the whole fighting aspect of hockey. I don't get it. I don't understand it. It feels gimmicky. All I do is think - what if this were allowed in [enter other sport here].
  10. Igor Shesterkin was absolutely amazing through this Rangers run. 
  11. The Florida Panthers, every time I watched them - including their series with the Rangers - just felt like such a deep team. 
  12. Canada not having a team win the Stanley Cup in over thirty years must be a blow to the nation's ego. 

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