Hockey is fun to watch. All that speed, skill, and violence flashing before you. Its especially fun to watch live. Its just plain fun to watch. Some hockey is even more fun to watch than other hockey. Watching meaningless hockey is still watching hockey, so by definition it is fun. It may also be disappointing, aggravating, frustrating, and embarrassing (if you have friends or enemies sitting near you). But its still watching hockey.
When I signed up for our season tickets, Doug MacLean was still head coach. I wouldn't pick seats until the next season. Soon, Gerard Gallant was head coach. And that lovable bunch of misfits from the first year still had the franchise record for most points in a season. Watching CBJ hockey after the all star break in those seasons was watching meaningless hockey. I loved David Vyborny, but towards the end, he didn't really start to play well until the pressure was off, till we were out of it. That was watching meaningless hockey, the year we scored 62 points in the season. But it was still fun.
The next year, the game before Thanksgiving, with my fun loving brother-in-law in tow, Hitch was announced as the head coach. What a buzz that was! And that was a fundamental change in the nature of post all-star break hockey for the CBJ. After that first partial year, Hitch kicked and cajoled the boys till they were at least in the hunt, then Captain Coward pulled his vanishing act. But we got RJ on the deal, so maybe it was worth it. Unfortunately, last year was a return to meaningless hockey, as we were clearly out of it up to and after the Olympic break.
So the all-star break is done. The most talented team in the history of the franchise seems to be getting a little mentally tougher. They could be out of it quick, no doubt. But they also seem to be building some character, and the way you find out about character is in a playoff race. We'll know by the trade deadline.
It seems a good bet that there will be frustrating, exhilarating, up, down, hockey yet to be played by the CBJ this year. And it will be fun to watch. But it won't be meaningless.