Sunday, April 27, 2008

NHL Playoffs

I suppose it is appropriate to provide a disclaimer at this point. I am an LA Kings fan. If the subtle allusion in the blog title didn't give it away, I have been, and will always be a die-hard Kings fan. That said, the NHL playoffs have been a bittersweet time for the better part of a decade. On the one hand, it's some of the best hockey of the year. Two teams engaged in perhaps the most intense sporting competition in the world can create absolutely amazing performance. On the other hand, my team is off golfing somewhere... sigh.

The eternal question for a hockey fan then becomes, if you're team is out, how do you decide who to support? Do you support teams in your division, in the way that college football teams will support fellow conference teams in bowl games? Do you support teams with players who "deserve" to win the Cup? Do you support geographically relevant teams? Do you have a random or other way of decided who to support? It's a challenging question, but one that requires consideration.

My theory? It's two-fold. One, adopt-a-team. You've got to pick a team to support through pseudo-thick and thin. In other words, this is a team that you'd support in any game against any team, EXCEPT your team. In my case, it's the San Jose Sharks. Having been born in the San Jose area, I can conceivably justify supporting the Sharks. It has the added benefit of being able to fit most other categories, support a CA team (regional support), support a Pacific Division team (divisional support), and it's somewhat random. In my mind, this adopted team should be a fairly consistent team. In other words, it's tacky and lame to have an adopted team that changes from year to year, and you run a serious risk of being labeled (accurately) as a bandwagon fan. Pick a team, stick with it.

The second part of my theory involves hatred. Obviously your adopted team isn't playing in all the play-off games, so who do you root for when they're not playing? Easy, root against teams. For example, the Ducks are a blight on the hockey world. So root against the Ducks. Doesn't matter who they're playing, though if your adopted team is playing at hated team, all the better.

So how do you pick?