Hockey fans are about to enter a difficult period in our existence. It’s bad enough we are required to go months during the summer without being able to watch our favorite sport and our beloved team. Now, the closer we get to September 15th, the closer we get to another lockout and an unnecessary delay to a season we’ve waited something like 17 weeks for. In order to prepare for the inevitable disappointment of missed games come October it’s imperative each of us has on hand an “Emergency NHL Lockout Survival Kit.”
Each individual kit can and should be a little different based on the unique tastes of each person. However there are a handful of items that qualify as must-haves in anyone’s kit. Here are the indispensables, the things I couldn’t possibly survive a lockout, no matter how brief, without
Booze……. And lots of it
I am a creature of habit. During hockey season I come home from work in a good mood because I know that I can turn on the TV, flip the channel over to one of many on my NHL Center Ice package and watch hockey. I also know that usually two or three times every work week I will have a Rangers game to look forward to watching. But what to do if a lockout stretches well into the season?
I generally like to drink a couple of beers while watching a Rangers game. However if there are no Rangers games, or any NHL games for that matter, I will need something more to drown out the disappointment and sorrow. Consequently a couple of beers could turn into more.
That’s why I’ll be sure to stock up in advance on nights the Rangers were scheduled to play. I will need some sort of diversion from the sad fact that I won’t be able to watch the Blue Shirts destroy the Flyers six more times next season. For me that is probably going to be alcohol. I’ll likely keep a case of beer and a bottle of Belvedere vodka in my survival kit at all times
DVD’s of your favorite Ranger games
Booze will dull the pain but if you’re addicted to hockey like I am you will need some other type of fix to help get you through the NHL lockout nuclear winter. If you don’t already have a bunch then I suggest purchasing DVD’s of great Ranger games of years gone by. I recommend specifically Games Six and Seven of the 1994 ECF, Games Four and Seven of that season’s SCF along with anything of the first two playoff series in 1997.
The jersey number retirement ceremonies of: Adam Graves, Leetch and Richter, while less effective, are at least useful in combatting Ranger withdrawal. This won’t cure the illness but it will help take the edge off the pain. Feel free to mix those into the kit too.
Dozens of Gary Bettman life-size posters and darts
I fully understand Gary Bettman represents all NHL team owners, big-market as well as small-market, those who run their organizations well along with those who run theirs poorly, and acts under their collective direction in the best interest of all 30. I don’t know Bettman personally. For all I know he isn’t the vile human being I think he is, purposely steering CBA negotiations towards an inevitable lockout which is likely to result in me missing out on seeing my beloved Rangers play in person, again. Perhaps he’s really a nice guy when you get to know him; the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind hanging out and drinking a cold Stone IPA with while talking hockey. Yeah, who am I kidding, probably not.
Regardless of your feelings on Bettman, whether you are pro union or support the owners in this struggle, the NHL commissioner has become the face of discord and unrest in the NHL. If, as appears certain, the owners lock the players out on September 16th, it will be the 4th work stoppage in 20 years and most fans will blame Gary. Fair or unfair that sentiment is certainly understandable.
Imagine sitting at home after a hard day’s grind, having already watched a DVD of Game Six of the 1994 ECF, again for the sixth time, as a substitute for missing the Rangers home contest that should have taken place that evening until the lockout cancelled it, what do you do next? If you’re me you’ve already consumed a couple (or ten) adult beverages, and you’ve also likely checked your favorite hockey website (Ranger Nation of course) dozens of times hoping against hope you’ll see news that the lockout was resolved only to be disappointed again. I can imagine the sense of frustration I (and many other NHL fans) will feel at that moment. That’s where the life-size posters of Gary Bettman and darts come in handy.
Since I’ve packed some in my survival kit I will be able to sit in my man cave (garage) on crisp autumn nights and drunkenly hurl sharp objects in the direction of an image of the individual whom I (and most people) hold responsible for causing me to miss meaningful games of Ranger hockey. Is there a better way to cleanse the anger out of the system than to take it out on a representation of Gary Bettman? I do recommend locking up any guns you may own and use a large sheet of plywood as a backdrop for your Bettman poster. Chances are good that drunken dart throwers will miss even a man-sized target and there is no sense in dealing unnecessary damage to the man cave.
It’s possible if the lockout extends well into the season that you might lose darts or have parts of them break. In that case you may use rocks, baseballs, footballs and especially hockey pucks as alternatives to darts.
Your favorite Rangers jersey
I wear Rangers gear year-round but it’s not practical to wear jerseys in the summer time. It’s just too damn hot. But during hockey season the weather is just right, most of the time, to don the jersey of your favorite New York Ranger.
Space is limited in the survival kit so I recommend only packing your favorite jersey. For me that would be my Marian Gaborik home blue (although if I get my wish this year it might well be a #27 road white). Keep your favorite handy so you can wear it on those nights the Rangers would have played were it not for the damn lockout.
I also suggest including a can or two of something like Axe body sprays. It’s conceivable that the depression resulting from the lockout might cause a lapse in personal hygiene. On those back-to-back nights that the Blue Shirts should be playing (but won’t be) you can spray yourself and your smelly jersey with Axe if you were unable to wash it and/or yourself. Those around you will thank you for this.
Laptop, cell phone, or any device with internet access
Eventually the NHLPA and the owners will engage in the type of meaningful negotiations that will yield a workable CBA. When an agreement is reached you will want to find out instantly. With Twitter and other websites providing information in real time (I personally suggest making Ranger Nation your first stop for up to the minute news) you’ll want a device with internet connectivity so you won’t be the last person to hear the good word. There are so many options available in terms of equipment that there is no excuse for not having something in your Emergency NHL Lockout Survival Kit. Hell, I am a tech simpleton but I own an iPhone, a laptop, a netbook (just another word for small laptop) and a tablet; any of which comfortably store in my survival kit and all of which I can use to access the internet.
Some of you who heed my advice and keep alcohol in your survival kit may indulge a little too heavily on occasion. In that case you’ll want to have some aspirin around to deal with the morning after throbbing in your head which will threaten to reduce you into a bleary-eyed, sobbing, weak-kneed pile of crap. Keep the aspirin and bottles of water in your kit at all times and remember to take some with water before you go to sleep as well as when you first wake up. You’ll thank me later.
A key is to re-stock your kit when you’ve depleted your supplies. You never want to get caught short on game night. Adequate preparation is instrumental in surviving this ordeal.
This list comprises the items I consider to be essentials in my Emergency NHL Lockout Survival Kit. Your kit might differ from mine and that is okay. The key is to have something close at hand to help you get through the tough times. As time ticks away leading us closer to another work stoppage, let me wish all of you good luck and god speed. If you follow the advice provided herein your chances to come out of this with your mind more or less intact will improve dramatically.
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