Throughout the year as spring turns to summer, summer to fall and so-on, a different emotion arises. Everyone knows the four astronomical seasons consist of spring, summer, fall and winter. These seasons coincide with a date range every year. As a hockey fan, one tends to experience great emotion throughout the entire season, however the four seasons in life could be tied to a typical NHL season more closely than you’d believe. As each season changes you tend to notice drastic changes. Throughout an NHL season a fan goes through drastic changes as well.
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SPRING=The Start of the Season– Now I know spring occurs from March to June, however I propose Hockey’s spring occurs from July to October. Spring brings budding flowers, grass seems to grow at an epic rate, trees gain their leaves back, and all is right with the world. It’s an exciting time and the start of a new year.
In the NHL this is when optimism is at an all-time high. The slates are clean, and you and your team can try to act on those New Year Resolutions. You are excited to see your new shining free agent signing don your favorite sweater, or you are excited that your team had the number one pick and selected the great Connor McDavid. You and your favorite team are currently experiencing one of the following during Hockey’s spring:
- Build off of last year’s success and try to push for a deep run through the playoffs. You have questions running through your head: Will that new free agent signing propel us to new heights? Will we bounce back and stay healthy enough to get to the Final and hoist the cup? Will the experience of loss in the playoffs fuel us to go deeper into the playoffs?
- Looking to start fresh and forget about last year’s debacle of a season. Also looking to see how your young prospects fit into lineup or how your team’s new regime will handle the future of your franchise.
- Defend the holy and mighty Lord Stanley’s Cup. This is the toughest task of them all. You know the odds against repeating in the Salary Cap Era, but your team just won the cup so you have no worries at all right?
Summer=Regular Season to the Trade Deadline– This is when people are all smiles and everyone is happy. Games are every night regardless of the team you root for, much like the Sun is in the sky and the weather is beautiful. There is not a care in the world during the summer, because Hockey is BACK and in full demand. If your team had a shaky start there is still time to right the ship and turn things around. If your team is in firm control of the division, you are a happy as a kid just getting let out of school for summer break. If you team is jockeying for position, you are optimistic that one of those teams will trip all over themselves and it will be smooth sailing into the playoffs.
Fall=The Trade Deadline to the Start of the playoffs This is when you realize the eternal fate of your team for the remainder of the season. The cold front has either started to come in, and you are madly drinking your hot chocolate frustrated that you are no longer sitting by the pool. Or you are glad that the summer heat has finally let up and the holiday season is almost upon us. Your team could be in one of the following situations:
- Completely out of contention, and have no chance of making the playoffs. Also known as the “Dark Period”, the clocks have been turned back, and it gets darker earlier in the day. The optimism has been zapped from your body. So you send off your talented players with expiring contracts to a Cup Contending team for prospect or potential draft picks. With the hopes of those young prospects you receive help you build for your future. You also can’t wait until spring and summer roll back around.
- In the battle for a playoff spot. You are mad that summer is over, however you are also somewhat excited that by Christmas time you might get that present you have always wanted. This is a curious situation because your management could either keep the current team you have or make a trade for someone who could increase your chances of making the playoffs. It’s a toss-up and you are essentially indifferent about the changing of the season until winter gets closer.
- Have a playoff spot essentially locked up. You are ecstatic that the Holiday season is almost near. Your team goes out and purges on those black Friday prices and acquires an early present that might put you over the top as a cup favorite.(See Kings in 2014(Gaborik), Blackhawks in 2015 (Vermette, Timonen)
Winter=The Playoffs- Your team may either have sneaked in the playoffs, missed the playoffs by a mile, or are a Cup favorite. Regardless who can be mad during the holiday season? Everyone wins during the holiday season, because playoff hockey is back. The hits are harder, the pace is frantic, and the goals mean so much more. You may be an Oilers fan and have been let down again but you at least get the gratification of reminiscing on all your former cup runs. You may be a Wild fan and think this may be the year we beat the Blackhawks. You may be a Bruins or Habs fan and hope “Please let us meet each other in the playoffs so we can let the carnage ensue”. Or if you are lucky enough you may be a Kings or Blackhawks fan and be thinking, “Is this the year we actually repeat instead of alternating turns”. When that last hand is shook, don’t fret about the passing season, because soon the seasons change and we start all over again.