One Man’s Obsession – The NHL Trading Deadline

Yesterday at work, I was preoccupied with something of incredible importance:  the National Hockey League trading deadline.

Of course, I’m being snarky about the “incredible importance.”  At the same time, for hockey fans, the trade deadline is an amazing time of anticipation, prognostication, jubilation, and humiliation (see what I did there?).

For you uneducated — this deadline marks the last time in the season that teams can trade players or draft picks.  After the deadline (February 28 at 3:00pm EST), NHL teams only have a limited number of roster changes they can make for the rest of the season, typically by calling up players from their top minor league affiliate.

I’m already an obsessed hockey fan, but this day qualifies as the most obsessive.  This obsession is fed by the media, but enjoyed by the fans.  TSN (Canada’s ESPN) started wall-to-wall coverage six hours before the deadline.  Twitter was awash with special hash tags, massive speculations, and made-up stories.  Japers’ Rink, a board for Caps’ fans that I frequent, had over 4,300 posts from early morning ideas through to evening commentary.

As fans, we were faced yesterday with questions of global importance  such as whether the Washington Capitals will add a center for their second line, whether the Dallas Stars will trade their soon-to-be-free-agent superstar, and whether the Florida Panthers or Ottawa Senators will begin to dismantle their teams by trading players for draft picks and minor leaguers.

(The answers, by the way are:  yes, no, yes, no.)

To get these answers, I had to stay connected all day.  Twitter was on the iPhone and iPad, as I went from meeting to meeting.  The browser was open on my desk, tuned to Japers’ Rink and twitter.  I watched a ticker from TSN, as I was on conference calls in my office.  I then caught wrap up shows on XM Radio driving home and on NHL Network when I got home.  I relived every moment.

For fans like me, the trading deadline is what election day is to political folk, Oscar night is to movie fans, and the American Idol or Dancing with the Stars finale night are to some television watchers.  It’s a day to revel in fandom and the excitement of the moment.

It is indeed an obsession, but an enjoyable one.

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