The NHL is kicking off 2008 in style with the outdoor extravaganza Ice Bowl; IPB is kicking off 2008 the usual way — complaining. We fully put forth that we are the curmudgeonly curmudgeon’s curmudgeonly curmudgeon, thumbing our noses at anything that even hints at being “fun” or “playful” or God forbid, “fan friendly”. We are Devils fans after all. Thus we simply cannot get excited for this over-hyped, pandering gimmick. We look at the practice photos released today and think, “The players are probably required to wear those face warmers just so the people watching at home can tell they’re outdoors. What is it, 32 degrees? Ooooh.” We read Sid’s conference call and smirk at the exchange (paraphrased here):
Reporter: Sid, you and the other players will doubtless play a fast and free-wheeling style because you’ll be reverting back to your old shinny days, no?
Sid: No. You do realize it’s a regular season game with two vastly important points on the line? Also, we’ll be playing in less than ideal ice conditions which can only make us more tentative. Furthermore, none of us remember playing shinny…
We look at the Pens and Sabres recent play and think, “Are the Blackhawks playing that day?” We look at the schedule of bowl games being played that day, and we consider how a one-off outdoor event is going to attract new viewers to a sport that’s regularly played indoors, which makes us ask ourselves, “Is the NHL stupid? Wait, don’t answer that.” We recall the last outdoor game and cringe at the memory of Paulina Gretzky singing during the pregame festivities. In short, we scoff at the — what was it Brian Campbell called it? Oh yes — the “stupid fucking Ice Bowl”.
There is, however, more to the story.