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West Coast hockey?

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, April 14, 2011

West Coast sports: What a joke.

They have the beaches, the mountains, Hollywood, etc. They can’t have it all — and fanaticism is not an exception. Their metropolis can’t even keep a football team.

I mean, their crowds are relaxed and unresponsive, their players are never exposed to the elements and their teams hardly have any tradition whatsoever, especially in hockey. Who wants to watch hockey in L.A., Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas or Phoenix?

The first things that come to mind after seeing these names are heat, desert and ocean — not exactly the most conducive environments for hockey.

These teams just take up meaningless spots in the playoffs that should be reserved for the teams that actually matter: the East Coast and Midwest teams.

First of all, fans don’t even go to the games, and those who do go don’t care about what is happening. These fans should learn from those of the Pens, Habs and Wings. You know, those teams with the rings.

Yeah, the Kings and Sharks filled up over 98 percent of their stadiums on average. So what if they had higher attendance figures than both New York teams, Boston and a Canadian team?

They are probably there to make an appearance — they don’t really care about their “teams”. They don’t even win. I refuse to count that Stanley Cup-sized fluke that the Anaheim Ducks had a few years ago, the decade of dominance by the San Jose Sharks or the back-to-back playoff runs made by the NHL’s youngest team (Los Angeles Kings).

Beginner’s luck.

The Ducks were named after a children’s movie, the Sharks created because there is nothing else to do in San Jose and the Kings could only win when they lured Gretzky to the bright lights of Hollywood from a cash-hungry Oilers squad.

Sounds like sorry excuses for hockey teams. This season was the worst of all. The competition in the Western Conference was incredible — 12 of the 15 teams finished with records above .500. But of all the teams to make the playoffs, four of them (half of the entire playoffs) had to come from the Pacific Division.

Thankfully the Stars lost their last game, or else they would have booted the defending-champion Blackhawks from the playoffs and the entire Pacific Division would have made the playoffs. To tell you the truth, I would have rather preferred another lockout.

It doesn’t matter if that division has sent three teams to the playoffs every season except one since the lockout.

It’s just not like the rest of the country, sports over there. There is no pride, no fans, no fun. They should just cut hockey from the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones (unless your city is in Canada or above 2,000 feet). Save the integrity of the sport, hockey can’t be popular out west.

Welcome to the life of a West Coast hockey fan: the criticism, the assumptions, the disrespect.

What a joke.