Go ahead and fire up some this soothing tune and let it loop for ten hours until game time arrives. This is probably healthy and will make you feel great no matter what the result in New York.
Paul Dennis is a player development coach for the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club. From the team website, we can see that he oversees the annual prospect camp while also working closely with the coaches and players doing whatever a psychologist does. If you're worried about credentials, don't be: "The Toronto native has a PhD in sport psychology and is a member of the American Psychological Association. He was the sports psychologist to Canada’s World Junior hockey team in 2002 and 2003. He is an adjunct professor at Toronto’s York University where he teaches a fourth year sport psychology course."
The Stars surely have a Paul Dennis of their own, right? I went ahead and tried Googling for this person, but I am fairly certain that the top result is not the actual staff psychologist, although it would be a very curious juxtaposition of different talents were that the case. Some further searching did reveal a neuropsychologist on the medical staff, and I'm going to guess that this individual has better medical assets than "smiling." (Sorry, Patch Adams.)
Now, let me just be honest: I don't have these sorts of "medical" "qualifications" when it comes to helping people deal with basically anything. I am not professionally or good-judgmentally prepared to help people deal with the implications of a bad sports game in their day-to-day life. I am no Paul Dennis.
Having a sports psychologist on staff is all well and good for the people on the team, but what about us? You may have innocently wandered into the living room after a nice dinner at Souplantation with your pet koala only to turn on the game midway through the second period and collapse in a heap upon seeing the 3-0 score. Who is going to help you deal with such an unprecedented blow to your psyche, not to mention Barry the koala's?
I am going to help you. More accurately, I am going to diagnose you and then shovel some links onto your monitor before going back to bed or making a sandwich or something. Please don't call me. You get what you pay for in this medical office, and unless some of you are trying to send me insufficiently postaged envelopes laden with valuable coins, you are not paying me much at all.
Here's your panacea, then: three responses you can use after witnessing last night's "hockey game" against Buffalo. If you actually are experiencing prolonged depression because of the Dallas Stars, then you should seek medical attention from a professional doctor or your primary care physician and send the bill to your favorite player on the team along with an autograph request.
Reaction #1: Denial
The Stars outshot Buffalo 40-24, out-scoring-chanced them 51-20(!), and out-attempted them 86-37. Trevor Daley did not fire a puck into his own net, and the Stars didn't take a major penalty for throwing rotten fruit at the officials after another missed high-sticking call. There was no feasible way the Stars could have lost this game. The Stars lost this game anyway, which is impossible. I can only conclude that hockey as I know it has never truly existed, being a mere apparition long-engrained within the deepest recesses of my consciousness that is now manifesting itself in inconsistent visions that have nothing in common with my formerly firm grasp of hockey's parameters. Perhaps I, too, am such an apparition. Perhaps I can hockey, or not hockey, at any time or no time, because it has never existed at all. Perhaps time itself is merely my lonely existence's best and last attempt at amusing itself through an illusive concept of linear progression and causality. Perhaps the 3-0 score I "saw" was just the feeble whispering of a withered soul begging its various and indistinct members to use the magical bathroom.
Reaction #2: Anger
Well, you've done it again, hockey guys. You have played that game there, and done it poorly. Remarkably poorly, in fact, and guess what? That noise your heard emanating from my living room? That was my wife sighing at me because I cussed fifty-two straight super swears after the clock expired in Buffalo.
This is your fault, hockey guys.
I can't just get up and pretend like the game never happened. I invest my time, money, energy and memory into living and dying with this team, and now you've gone and pooped out a loss against a team that usually plays with only four skaters on the ice because they have more fun playing "hide-a-hockey-stick" on the bench with their left wingers than they do actually playing hockey. I don't know why you have decided to punish me with the events of this season so far, but rest assured that I have recognized your aggression towards me and my happiness. This offense merits a response of violent fury beyond my ken; I have given up hoping that your professional training and visible effort will ever again reward me for my support of your efforts, and I am now going to be actively google-bombing all of your names to make sure that you are always and forever the first result any time somebody does an internet search for "dungwhopper," "to the line, but not out," or "is slytherin house real." Maybe also anything related to discarded caterpillar cocoons, but I haven't figured out the most economical terminology for that one yet.
This is only the beginning, hockey guys. The slow pot boils hotly, as they say. Or, something. There, see? I mixed up my phrases, which is also your fault. Beware my boil. No, not my actual boil; I'm getting treatment for that. I mean my anger, which is boiling. Or, it was. You made me forget it for a second with your jargon about boils, but I'm going to get angry again really soon, and then you will pay for your transgressions.
Reaction #3: Giving Up
Why do I do this? I mean, I know it's not that big of a deal. It's a game. Thousands of games happen every year in every sport. Sure, it's fun when they win, but couldn't I just get excited about local government or the nearest farmer's market? Maybe it's time to sever my cognitive and emotional attachment to this team, or at least saw it down a little. It's been almost seven years since anything significantly good happened to this team as a whole, and even that ended in bitter disappointment. I enjoy watching the games, sure; but I can't keep devoting so much of my life to something that hurts me much more than it gladdens me. This team doesn't know who I am, and I sometimes wish I didn't know so much about them and their stupid cratering PDO. It's fruitless, it's exhausting, and it's far more acrid than sweet these days. Maybe I'll come back to it next year, but I just can't keep crying external tears to match Ralph and Razor's internal ones every time that third goal goes in on us from night to night. I'm not that strong, Stars. Maybe it's time for you to learn how to be strong without me.
What time is the game tonight, by the way? I mean, I might just watch the start of it, just, y'know, to see the assuredly crazy goal-against that will open the scoring. I'm definitely going to stop watching it after that, though. I mean, you know they'll score three on us, so let's just see how quickly they can do that. Oh, wow, that John Klingberg is something.
Maybe just a few more minutes.
* * * * *
Beat the Rangers tonight. That is your new favorite.
I bet that fewer than ten people will click this recap link. Like if you agree, Retweet if you don't. [Stars]
" Despite being nearly doubled up in shots, the Buffalo Sabres found a way to secure their first home win in six weeks." Hey, I bet you'd like to read this, right? [CBS Sports]
This picture of Lindy Ruff gets a lot of play, but it's never been more apt than it was last night. That game was not the best. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Jason Spezza and Lindy Ruff can laugh about the 2007 Sabres/Senators brawl now, even after Ruff admits that he totally told a player to go fight Spezza. Hockey makes people be friends! [Buffalo Hockey Beat]
More speculation about Toronto goalies was proffered last night after Jonathan Bernier was scratched with an illness. [CTV]
The Sharks scratched Marc-Edouard Vlasic before playing Carolina last night, leading some people to believe that a huge trade was in the works. Turns out Vlasic was just sick. Stand down. [CSN Bay Area]
Tomas Tatar is one of the big reasons for the Red Wings' surprising dominance this year. [THN]
Morgan Rielly had a nice goal last night as the Leafs ended their 11-game losing streak and pummeled a terrible team. No, they did not beat themselves; I am talking about the Oilers. [NHL Video]
It's great to see Gordie Howe up and around again at 86. He made what is said to be his final public appearance last night in Saskatoon. [Detroit Free Press]
A great check led to a goal during the Vermont-New Hampshire NCAA game last night. Unfortunately, the check was laid by the referee. [Puck Daddy]
Finally, here is something that will make you feel bad all over again, even though Colorado's losing to Minnesota in regulation last night is probably kind of a good thing, sort of:
Devan Dubnyk with #mnwild: 7-1, 1.30 goals-against average, .948 save percentage, 4 shutouts in 9 starts. 3 goals in 5 games since break— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 8, 2015