In Vegas, it was a Penguins fan. Front row center, belting out The Riddle, sporting the Sid jersey.
In Salt Lake, it was all the radio jocks and programmers wanted to talk about. Dallas-Vancouver. Ducks, Ducks, Ducks. How about them Rangers?
Even at pre-show meet-and-greets, Five For Fighting fans won't stop.
Hockey talk. Playoff Fever. What do you think John? Did you see the game? Sorry about your Kings ... Blah ... Blah ... Blah...
Every night when I walk on stage it's out there. I can't get away from it. It's my fault, I know, but it's not easy tonight.
So what to do about nothing? What does the hardcore hockey head do at playoff time when his team is somewhere between the third tee and training camp?
Maple Leafs fans know this dilemma. For me, it's a quandary.
One option is to go bandwagon. Pick a team. Jump ship. This is easy for Los Angelinos. We do it every year with the NFL. Two years ago, I had the Steelers. Last year, I took Farve and the Packers. Hockey-wise, the Pens were a popular pick with the band this year until they got bounced by the Sens. Marty McSorley (Mr. Five For Fighting) calls color for the Sharks, so I could drop glove and Tank it. Preseason, I predicted a Rangers-Ducks Cup Final. Why not just recognize my hockey mastermind and quack with former King Sean O'Donnell or Apple down with Ranger sparkplug Sean Avery? (Yes, I know.)
I could simply cancel the entire NHL package on the tour bus's Direct TV. It's not like it's on our rider with the Farrah Fawcett posters, Meisterbrau, and bite-size butterfingers.
For me, there's also the journalism card. John, I tell myself, you have an obligation to SI.com to watch and report on all hockey happenings through June. The action, drama, highlights alone might inspire another jewel of a rant! Of course, that would imply I was an actual writer, and that this column had nothing to do with a band name and a kind indulgence by true wordsmiths at SwimsuitIssue.Com.
Finally, there is the Big D. Denial! Denial solves a lot of problems. I've found denial invaluable in the music business. In denial, all that's going on in the NHL this month is a few teams getting banged up, wearing themselves down, so Kopitar & Kids can get a jump this coming October. In Denial, hockey season is truly over.
Over, until the house lights come on and some fan brings reality crashing down. In L.A, it was a Pronger sweater.
So what solution did I choose to do about nothing? Fact is, all three.
That 4-OT game between the Stars and Cunucks kept me up to 1:30 a.m. That 5 a.m. morning wakeup call, to sing on LIVE morning TV, hurt as much as Mike Modano's Game 7 clank off the post. And I do hope the Rangers and Ducks get to the final. But mostly I'm in denial. Knowing that Lucky Luc Robitaille and family were in the audience last Saturday night was more exciting than any Canuck overtime winner. Talking Jack Johnson with Marc Crawford backstage is better than any quack, hack, or San Jose Shark attack.
So go ahead suckers. Beat yourselves to a pulp over your little Cup. My Kings will be ready next fall; well-tanned, well-rested, and good to go.
I'll catch you in October.
The lights are going down.
And I know you're out there.