We use the term “big game” for a reason. Many might not understand the emotional investment we have after 82 games. The same way our club has made sacrifices, we’ve made sacrifices! With the playoffs in full swing, it only feels natural to touch on the topic of “How to watch the big game”. Keep the following factors in mind in order to maximize your viewing enjoyment this playoff season.

Whether it’s in the privacy of your own home, at your favorite sports bar, or live in person, where you choose to view your big game may have a drastic effect on the overall quality of your viewing experience. Without a doubt, nothing compares to being there. I feel it every time. The excitement achieved when walking from the parking lot to my seats is next level stuff. The sights, the sounds, the food! I usually end up spending an entire weeks pay, but never regret it. Without a doubt, you go to a game for the atmosphere, but nosebleeds can often leave something to be desired visually, and even glass seats don’t always allow you to watch plays develop. Also, you won’t benefit from play by play commentary, unless you want to be “That guy”. (You know, the guy at the game with his ear buds in, listening to play by play. Take the headphones off, and be social for once! it won’t kill you to yell and scream with the rest of us!)

The sports bar is always a gamble in my opinion. If you can get a great seat, on the big TV, with the SOUND ON, the bar can be a great experience. Where else is it totally acceptable to high five the complete stranger next to you? Watching a game at the bar, you’re almost guaranteed to walk out with either a new best friend, or a black eye. So where’s the gamble? As much as it pains me to say it, hockey, especially in Southern California, is very much the stepchild of professional sports. You better hope that no one in the bar wants to watch basketball playoffs, or even any regular season baseball game. You might end up watching your game seven on the 18 inch TV, over in the corner, next to the restrooms, with no sound! That’s no way to enjoy the greatest sport in the world.

Home is my preferred location for one simple reason, I’m in control! I listen to the game as loud as I want. I can go back and pause, replay, slow motion any awesome plays during commercials, and if the guys are over, the atmosphere can get pretty rowdy too. Again, all three locations have their pros and cons. Just be aware of them when deciding where to watch the big game.

Who you choose to watch with, can be just as crucial a decision as where you watch. I love my wife, and she’s pretty knowledgeable about hockey, but if I hear her ask, “Why don’t they shoot” during a power play one more time, we might not make it. They can file it under “irreconcilable differences”. Point being, even the coolest girlfriend, wife, etc, doesn’t compare to watching the game with the guys. Why is that? Because when watching a good hockey game, emotions should be high, trash should be talked, and bets should be lost. If you are looking for a partner to shop garage sales with, take the wife. For the big game, go with the guys. You’ll be glad you did.

Viewing posture is something you might not be aware of, but we all do it. I have an extremely comfortable, oversized, lazy boy chair, but I couldn’t watch a hockey game in it if my life depended on it. I’m usually hunched over, on the edge of my seat, making violent hand gestures. If things are really tight, you’ll find me pacing back and forth a few feet in front of the TV. During the big game people tend to be on edge. It is recommended that before the big game you prepare your home for hockey viewing. Clear the room of all dangerous objects, invest in childproof bumpers for any sharp corners, and, most importantly, keep any “throwable” objects out of arm’s reach, especially if your team is trailing.

Lastly, I do not consider myself a superstitious man. I’m not the kind of guy that has to sit at home in my lucky chair or jersey. I don’t have a rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, or unicorn horn grasped tight while I watch a game, but if you utter the words “It’s over”, “shutout”, or “sweep” we might have a problem. Ask any NHL player, announcer, or die-hard fan, no good can come from it. Just don’t do it!

So, when it’s all on the line, how do you like to watch the big game?

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