Megan Gailey is one of our favorite stand ups. She’s also more knowledgeable than everyone on the BYT staff about sports so we’re asking her about sports. Today’s column is about the professional sports league she knows the least, the NHL.
NHL? That’s how I feel sometimes. I didn’t grow up in a city with a professional hockey team. The Indianapolis Ice sadly do not count. And I didn’t ever play or have siblings that played. Hockey was reserved for the kids at my high school that were rich but not too showy about it. Think soccer boys but quitter. You’re either born with a love of hockey or it’s acquired at some point in adulthood when everyone you know likes it, kind of like Pinot Noir.
Then I moved to Chicago and that place loves pizza, talking about being from Chicago, racial segregation and lots and lots of Hockey. There’s obviously lots of other sports related distractions there but over the time I called Chicago home, the White Sox won nothing but the title for easiest tickets to get, Cubs clearly have fans that are elderly and hopeful or young alcoholics (the elderly may also be alcoholics), the Bulls suffered through 3 seasons of heartbreak with their dearly beloved hometown hero Derrick Rose’s injuries and then there’s Jay Cutler’s face. So two Stanley Cup titles was a BIG CHICAGO HOT DOG DEAL! There are bars that shoot of confetti rockets every time they score!
I can not say I am a Blackhawks fan or even really a hockey fan. I am true product of the ESPN era: football, college football, March Madness, NBA playoffs, any criminal trial, PTI, wondering what Sage Steele’s life is like off camera, sick kids that love RBs, Tiger Woods doing something, a dash of Barry Melrose in the spring (hint: that was the hockey part) and then tons more FOOTBALL.
So I’ll give you everything I know! And then I’ll give you some stuff I didn’t know but I will pretend like I knew. And by the end you will be able to watch any NHL playoff game and look like a complete jagoff!
Original Six: These are, as the name implies, the six teams that survived for 25 seasons without any others. There were ten teams at one point but then the Great Depression happened and, you get it. So the teams were: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.
Current (Sexy) Stars: I added the sexy part because hockey is pretty sexy. And it seems like more famous blonde actresses date, marry and divorce NHL players than any other athletes. Elisha Cuthbert, Hilary Duff, Carrie Underwood, DJ Tanner!!! I am currently partial to Alex Ovechkin, Mason Crosby and Jonathon Toews. Added bonus, NHL players, especially playoff time, are known for wild mangy Eastern European assassin type beards. They also are much less recognizable because of helmets and the sports up and down popularity so it is easy to lie and say you are dating one without ever having to actually be seen with him.
The Playoffs: They’re exciting. Playoffs are all inherently exciting. That’s why the NCAA currently has its offices at the top of a 78 story building made of gold, autographed Ohio State jerseys, and cash $$$$$$. But these are really exciting and really the only time everyone actually cares! And in the words of my former co-host and fellow comedian Joe Kilgallon, “In hockey you never know when your team is going to score. The game moves so fast…there are scoring chances every 30 seconds. In other sports, the moment is set up. 4th and inches, bases loaded.” So hockey is that spontaneous, exciting, mysterious guy you’ve been swiping right for this whole time!
Unsolicited advice: If you do not know anything about hockey, do not pretend you do! You do not need to showboat and write a column that goes on the internet claiming you know things you clearly had to look up on Wikipedia. No one will care. Just love yourself for who you are, accept your shortcomings and if you get asked to go to a bar to watch the NHL Playoffs, admit your true intentions, “I’m here for the tater tot nachos” and move on.