Friday, March 11, 2011

The Hartford Whalers Have Finally Been Replaced - JMR's Decision

Everyone was getting a little tired of my act.  Yeah, the Hartford Whalers were my favorite team - they would say - but they left Hartford almost 15 years ago!  Get over it, already.  Well, no one was that impolite to me, they would usually just nod at me and stare at the wall hoping that I would soon stop talking whenever the subject of the Hartford Whalers came up.  The Whale Bowl a couple of weeks ago reminded me that I had to move on, and my boys wanted me to be able to talk about hockey without getting pissed off.  So I've decided that now is the time for a new NHL team.  It's time. 

 Are these banners still at the XL Center?  courtesy of
I decided that to be fair I would start my search from scratch and at least at the beginning, all teams were eligible for my new allegiance.  Even the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers had a chance (who am I kidding - they had no chance).  Come with me for the JMR version of "The Decision."

I had four prerequisites that teams had to satisfy before their consideration would go any further.  Unfortunately, most teams were knocked out in this fashion.

1.  I could never root for a team that was in the Adams Division with the Whalers.  Never going to happen.  Sorry to see you go, Canadiens, Sabres and Bruins.  Even the Quebec Nordiques, who were awful patsies throughout the 1980's and early 1990's, would have been disqualified - as bad as they were.

2.  Similarly, if I had a bad experience with a team, you also stood no chance of gaining my allegiance.  See you later Hurricanes, Penguins, Rangers and Lightning (last game played was against Tampa Bay). I'm sure I don't need to go into the other three teams and why I would never root for them.

3.  No Pacific or Mountain Time Zone teams.  If I'm going to root for a team, they can't play at 9 or 10pm more than half the time.  So long Kings, Ducks, Sharks, Canucks, Oilers, Coyotes, Flames and Avalanche.

4.  I am not going to subject myself to another team moving or being contracted, so I have also removed from my list the Thrashers, the Blue Jackets, the Islanders, the Stars, Panthers and Predators.  Mark my words, at least half of these teams are moving in the next 12-24 months. 

When all of these teams have been removed, we're left with the following teams:

New Jersey Devils
Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers
Chicago Black Hawks
Washington Capitals
St. Louis Blues
Minnesota Wild
Detroit Red Wings

Too many teams to decide.  So I enlisted the help of C and G, who at this point were sitting next to me but looking longingly at their homework.  "Only a couple of more minutes" I'm sure they were thinking to themselves.  I asked them which team I should start rooting for.  It took about 10 minutes for them to consider this question since they asked approximately 7,000 questions about these teams before we started.

C:  What about the Bruins, Dad?  Why can't you just root for the Bruins like me and G? (Because I'm not, and I'm your Father, so stop asking me!) OK, Probably the Capitals because they have Alex Ovechkin.  They are a good team.  Alex Ovechkin is one of the best ever.  Oh yeah, we visited Washington D.C. a couple of years ago.

G:  [The Blackhawks] because they are a good team.  They have Patrick Kane who played in the Olympics against the Canadians last year.  And they win every time.

"Do you like Chicago?" I asked him after he finished writing.

"Uh no." He commented.  His sister started playing his Nintendo DS; he was clearly getting a little distracted.

"Do you like the Chicago Cubs?"  I then asked.

"Who?" asks G.

Then C chimes in.  "The Chicago Cubs, dumbo!  They play football against the Patriots!"  Before G gets in his zinger, I shake my head and move on. 

OK, So I have a choice of the Blackhawks and the Capitals.  I'm still not sure, but I do know that I'm starting to run out of time - the boys are in full-out restless mode and I told them they had to sit with me until I picked a team.  So I pick up the quarter that DLG dropped next to me a couple of hours ago, I mean this isn't life or death or anything.  Heads its Blackhawks and Tails, its the Capitals.

...Waiting... as I flip the coin.....

Chi-Town it is.

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