Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ten lies every hockey fan tells themselves

You’re a liar.

It’s OK. I am too. So is everyone reading this.

If you’re a hockey fan, you lie all the time. And not just to other fans – we lie to ourselves. It’s part of being a fan.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize when it’s happening. So today, let’s run through 10 lies that NHL fans tell themselves. It's OK to admit that you're guilty of some of these. Heck, it's OK to admit that you're guilty of all of them.

Of course, you could also claim that none of these apply to you. You'd be lying, of course, but that's OK too. It's what we do.

Lie No. 1: My team doesn't dive

Hockey fans hate diving. Whether it's the full-on deep-six, the hands-in-the-air flying twirl or the only slightly more subtle embellishments like head snaps and overreactions, it drives fans crazy to see players try to work the refs.

While certainly not unique to the sport – check out basketball or soccer to see some real artists in action – diving seems to go against what we'd like to think hockey players are made of. And the worst part is, these days everybody does it.

Well, everybody except for your team.

No, somehow fans have convinced themselves that they happen to root for the only team that doesn't do this stuff.

And if one of their favourite players stands accused, they're willing to break down the clip frame-by-frame like it's the Zapruder film, until they've found the one angle that proves his innocence.

And in the rare cases where a player is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt? Well, he was just doing what any reasonable person would do, you see, because otherwise the refs never give him a call. Speaking of which…

Lie No. 2: The referees are out to get us

Your team just lost a game in which they faced more power plays than they received.

What happened?

Was it bad luck? Just one of those nights? A case of a team getting outplayed and having to take the sort of shortcuts that lead to penalties?

No. It was the refs. The refs were out to get you.

Sometimes it's a specific ref; he made that one questionable call against you 17 months ago, so this is clearly becoming a pattern.

Other times, it's just a general league-wide bias. Maybe it's because somebody in the organization criticized a referee once and has never been forgiven (even though it wasn't anything that every other team has said).

Or maybe it's because your team is a smaller market and the league clearly doesn't want those teams to succeed (even though they shut down an entire season to get a salary cap specifically to help smaller markets).

Either way, you're not saying that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sneaks into the officials' room before every game, twirls his mustache evilly, and instructs them to screw your team over. You're just not not saying it.

But look on the bright side: at least the referees have to give you a break every now and then. They're not completely biased. Unlike some other people you could mention.

>> Read the full post at Sportsnet

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