The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
The Average Mulder
by Joe Mulder
I Finally Miss the NHL

Well, it took about six months, but I finally miss the NHL.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm not a big NBA fan; I'll watch the Timberwolves if they're playing in an important game, but beyond that I don't have much interest. And, since the Timberwolves' important-game-playin' days are behind them for the time being, I just can't get into the playoffs (the Spurs and Nuggets were playing a tight game earlier today, and my main reaction upon seeing it was, "Eh. Let's see if TiVo has any episodes of 'NUMB3RS' for me").

(TiVo did, by the way. Good show)

For some reason, though, I've never had any trouble watching the NHL playoffs, and I watch even less regular-season hockey that I do basketball. I've discussed why I love playoff hockey in this space before, and that hasn't changed: goals are at such a premium -- but happen so fast, often out of nowhere -- that you don't dare look away for a second during a playoff hockey game.

I know a lot of NHL fans complain about the lack of scoring in recent years (well, particularly this year), but for a guy who just got into it in earnest a couple seasons ago, that's what makes it fun. Rarely in the NHL playoffs is a game put away early; you've got to stay glued to your seat the entire time. You'll hardly ever turn on an NHL playoff game with six minutes left to play and find that the conclusion it not worth watching. The same can't be said for the postseasons in baseball, basketball or football.

But with the Twins snowed out in Detroit the last two days, with the Vikings passing on Mike Williams (maybe this Troy Williamson kid could be good; who knows?) and not playing a down for another four months, and with the Timberwolves cooling their overpaid heels at home, the NHL playoffs would have filled in nicely until the summer, when anyone my age occupies his time with barbeques, weddings and pennant races that lead nicely into football season, the holidays, the Super Bowl, March Madness, the hockey and basketball finals, summer again, more pennant races, and so on. The circle of life, as it has been and always should be.

Not this year, though. Latrell Sprewell and the NHLPA have seen to it that from now until the NFL starts back up, it's pretty much just fantasy baseball and... three more golf tournaments.

Hurry back, NHL playoffs. We finally miss you.
Joe Mulder

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