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Hockey

Courtesy of the Associated Press

College football has been out of my life for two whole Saturdays – this is a problem.

As soon as the garnet and gold confetti littered college football’s high church and Jameis Winston gave his Joel Osteen-like devotional, the 2013 season died while taking the BCS to the depths of the history books with it. The NFL has provided some solace, but it’s season too shall end in ticker tape, trophies and a smattering of product placement. This is my sporting soul’s lull period. January to August is just a slow creep minimally sustained by ‘crootin and coaching carousel story lines. I will watch MLB’s Opening Day with mild fanfare, I’ll research college basketball teams at the last minute come March and the NBA Finals may captivate me, depending on whether or not Kanye West drops another album. Yet, none of this will fully satisfy me until next year’s kickoff in late August.

With that being said, I’ve decided to immerse myself in a sport to pass through the doldrums of the offseason. A sport which, quite frankly, I’ve avoided mostly due to the conditions necessary to facilitate a game. I’m talking about hockey.

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The 2013 Stanley Cup Finals will be remembered for a variety of reasons: it was the first final in twenty years to feature at least three overtime games,  it was the first final since 1979 to feature two of the Original Six franchises and it included perhaps the most improbable Stanley Cup-winning comeback in NHL history, a 17-second burst of offense that began with the Blackhawks pulling their immovable force of a goalie, Corey Crawford, and ended with a rebounded shot from Dave Bolland.

Really, it was an alignment of all the things that make postseason hockey a seemingly different sport from regular season hockey, one which people are more willing to ingest as a result of the excitement and fervor with which each team plays its games. No one leaves anything on the ice during the playoffs, or at least that is what fans are led to believe, and when a team has already played a legendary first-round series, with a legendary game 7, it is hard to continue putting out the effort to defeat team after team in route to a championship.

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