I don't care what year, who is on the roster, or who might be coach. When it's the start of the season, there is an electricity in the air just the same. Even when Mad Mike was spinning us to oblivion like a Texas Twister, I still sat at this juncture with the same bustle and trepidation.
If you think about it, we came from a proverbial desert as sports fans. The late 90s were like some slow death of missed promises. I do think we've stepped fully from that roasting sun, even if we took a bad left turn at Albuquerque.
No matter the expectation, the canvas is clear and pristine for the NY Islanders. In each gloved hand, skated stride and wide eyes is the potential to make things happen. To impose will. To leave it all on that ice. To capture the coaches strategy and system.
The game of hockey is a simple one. Simple yet it makes are hearts thrum every time. This year's NY Islanders will take that ice and can be masters of their destiny.
Sure, skill and talent count. So does a good head on their shoulders. But never discount that in any place or time, anyone can win. That even one player or play can be the charge to jimmy the mechanics and set things in motion for victory. Every heaving breath. Every drip of sweat. Every furrowed brow. Locked in there somewhere are difference-makers.
When that first puck drops, they will feel the jolt like we do. It rides like lightening through the blood and makes us yell and scream as if from our lung belches a massive steam engine.
This is hockey. This is ours and no one elses. Let them preen and prattle about baseball, football, or...snicker...golf. Hockey is our addiction, our passenger to this warm autumn day. We will carry it to its end, and go through whatever emotions are applicable. At the end, we will be spent, weary, and safe to say, unsurprised.
So be it. It is what we love.