Tomorrow is the first day of the first month of our favorite time of year. The ice is currently freezing on the floor of Nationwide Arena, and if you’re into keeping tabs of your favorite players on Twitter, it appears the vast majority of them are already starting to come “home.”  Just about a week and a half from now, the first installment of the new pre-season “Fan Fest” will be underway (RIP, Hockey Fest, we had good times together). That morning the kids bus off to Traverse City for the Prospect Tournament, where they will hopefully not embarrass us this time (no pressure). A week later, the big boys report for physicals, the next day they take the ice, the following day is the ever-popular Owner’s Tournament where we install false hope in players who look really good up against junior players. Soon there will be real games (that don’t really count), daily practices, an inevitable injury (I’ll take a refill on my Pepto-Bismol, please), frequent Puck-Rakers posts about which washed up veteran they should trade a talented player for. Then there will be Fox Sports Ohio broadcasts, John Michael’s corny jokes and Jeff Rimer’s incoherent ramblings, the Bill Davidge Drinking Game, and very, very soon it’ll be like we never counted the days, minutes, seconds between putting last season into its shallow grave and breaking the bottle on the bow of this year.

So with that, put on your big boy (or girl) pants, buckle up, and get ready to make fun of a whole brand new year of what hopes to be a lot less dysfunction and a whole lot more fun. And if not, keep the Pepto on standby.

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