Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Hockey Returns. About Time.
There is nothing like the end of August to get me out of the funk that summer brings.
I've said it before and will continue to state this, summer is nothing but an endless serving of warm, stale beer. The city reeks of piss, sweat, rotting food and overperfumed tourists. And if that isn't enough to make you crawl into a hole for awhile, here comes two weeks of swimming, gymnastics complete with body glitter and basketball routs. Yes, the Summer Olympics make this little slice of hell even more intolerable.
But thankfully, this is pretty much all behind us now. The first sign of relief was the World Junior evaluation camp games in Plymouth, Mich., to start the month. I was in Colorado attending to matters concerning my parents. I walked into their ice cold basement and fired up the NHL Network to watch the United States play Canada.
Yep, Charlie McAvoy pretty much had me ready for the season with that legal hit. The United States would beat Canada and finish with a 2-1 record in the four-nation event (Sweden and Finland juniors also took part). Canada went without a victory.
And then Canada went without a medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic, which prompted a number of Canadian sites to predict doom for that hockey loving nation. That the United States won the silver medal at the Under-18 event only added to the stinging, warm beer feeling that some in Canada experienced.
Now, it's late in the month and the CHL junior teams across Canada, as well as the CHL teams in Washington State, Oregon, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are heading to camp, the college kids are getting ready to head to campus and the World Cup of Hockey is on the horizon. First, though, it's the return of the KHL in Europe and and Asia, with Kunlun Red Star of Beijing joining the league. The KHL opened the regular season Aug. 22 with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the defending Gagarin Cup champion, defeating CSKA Moscow (that's the old Red Army, to you and me), 3-2.
Still waiting for Red Star's fancy promo video, but it will have to go a long way to top the one produced for SKA St. Petersburg, at the top, which has Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup this season.
I'm back in the Lounge and the beer is chilling nicely. It's hockey time again.