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10 Things I Hate About Hockey

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Channeling My Inner Angry Sportswriter

Columbus Blue Jackets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images

Jerry Sullivan’s recent column in the The Buffalo News confirms that I have officially transitioned from a lumpy, mostly happy guy into a disgruntled and bitter 53 year old man.

Ten years ago, I would have read Sullivan’s partial list of all the stuff in the world he hates and exhaled a heavy sigh or two at all the negativity. When I read his column this morning, my response to each and every item on the list was to pound my hand on my reserved table here at Tim Horton’s, shake my shriveled fist up to the sky and bellow “YES!” at the top of my lungs.

Sully hates CATS the musical and actual cats. YES!

Sully hates slow golfers. YES!

Sully hates the rule prohibiting coffee cups courtside at NCAA tourney games unless the cup has the NCAA logo on it. This seems a little specific and doesn’t affect anyone besides Jerry and a handful of sportswriters, but what the hell, YES!

Sully hates guys who park their car diagonally across two parking spaces. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

The only problem I have with the column is that it is woefully incomplete. Anyone over the age of 50 would agree that there is a big wide wonderful world out there chock full of stuff that should piss us off. What about all the hoodlums who cruise around my neighborhood with their iPhones and their fancy sneakers? What about all those people I see in the supermarket check-out line buying lottery tickets with their food stamps? Am I the only person who sees the secret war that has been declared on Christmas?!!?

With deference to Mr. Sullivan and as a public service to DBTB readers, I humbly submit the following list of (mostly) hockey-related things that make an old man’s blood boil:

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I hate the frequent use of strawmen by members of the local hockey media. If you have a point to make, use facts to back up your opinion instead of pointing to an imaginary horde of torch-carrying Twitter followers who believe William Carrier is a top 6 forward.

On a related note, I bristle at any member of the media who spends 90% of their time insulting their readers/listeners and 10% appreciating them. The vast majority of hockey fans I meet in my limited travels aren’t morons. They are passionate and funny people who, like me, have an unexplainable and mildly unhealthy relationship with their favorite hockey team.

I hate it when a guy scores off a beautiful pass from a teammate and doesn’t recognize the passer as part of his goal celebration. Those who fail to acknowledge the giver of the gift are doomed to go on a lengthy scoreless streak.

If you’re the host of a team-sponsored Sabres/NHL radio show and you spend the first half hour of your first show after the Expansion Draft talking about where the team’s rookie dinner should be held this season, I can’t say that I hate you, but I definitely think it’s fair to question why you still have your job.

I love bubble races, little kids playing between periods, Sabretooth, the 50-50 to benefit the Sabres Alumni, and the Southern Tier beer concession on the 100 Level, but almost every other aspect of the Sabres game presentation gives me hives.

A quick note to the guy who stands up during a break in the action, waves his arms up as if to encourage everyone to get out of their seats, and tries to get the crowd to cheer along with him: everyone sitting around you hates your guts and wants to punch you in the face.

Wearing your own name on the back of a Sabres jersey with a C on the front isn’t just a jersey foul, it is an abomination to every right-minded Sabres fan on the planet.

The overuse of LOL in social media doesn’t exactly leave me ROTFL. Here’s a quick piece of advice a good friend gave me once: don’t write LOL unless an idea or opinion has actually led you to laugh out loud. For example, if I write “Foligno has a higher ceiling than Baptiste? LOL!!!” in the comments section of a hockey article, it makes me appear a little too easily amused. It also makes any member of the male gender over the age of 14 appear to be more than a little creepy.

I hate myself for: 1) the rage I direct toward Zach Bogosian every time he makes a ridiculous decision in his own zone 2) the enjoyment I get from Jimmy Vesey’s lack of success in his first year in the NHL 3) any whiff of a suggestion that this article is some sort of veiled criticism of Jerry Sullivan— he may be a curmudgeon, but he’s also a very gifted writer.

I hate the tired notion that “keeping it in the room” is some sort of key to being a good hockey team. Some of the greatest teams in the history of the Buffalo Sabres shared three common traits: 1) every member of the team was a little nuts 2) lots of guys didn’t like each other 3) a few guys were always happy to corner Jim Kelley and chirp on teammates and/or management. Here’s a suggestion to Jack and the boys for the upcoming season: let it out of the room every once in awhile.

What is the most bitter part of being a fan of the Buffalo Sabres and the NHL in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow @TimHirschbeck and on Twitter. To the surprise of absolutely no one, not one of his 56 followers believes William Carrier is a top 6 forward.