Three Things I Learned on My Hockey Hiatus


The worst part of no Twitter, missing out on Ron Wilson’s shenanigans. How cool is Ron Wilson?

I had some time off from work during the holidays and was going to be away from home for a week. I decided that it was as good as a time than any to take a vacation from hockey. Due to family obligations I was not going to be able to watch the games against Florida, Carolina, and Winnipeg, so I thought it might be a good idea to take a break from Twitter as well.

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Twitter is great for a lot of things. At its best the medium gives you a forum to talk hockey with the most knowledgeable fans, bloggers, and journalists. Since you choose who to follow and engage with, you control the tenor of the discourse, most of the time. At its worst it functions as somewhat of an electron microscope that magnifies every piece of hockey related minutiae that happens on a day-to-day basis. So I did not watch, and I did not tweet.

So what did I learn?

Without Twitter I have no idea what goes on in the rest of the NHL:

Last night I read that Shea Weber was cleared to practice after suffering his concussion. I had no idea that Shea Weber even suffered a concussion. I have the Leafs app on my iPad, and have more or less committed their schedule to memory, so I know when they play, and a general sense of what happened. The rest of the NHL? Without Twitter I know less about it than NBC does about teams outside of the Northeast.

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I had absolutely no idea who to blame the losses on:

Oh the Leafs lost three straight. I only saw the final score and thus had no idea who to blame. I did a little digging and subsequently blamed Reimer and Tim Connolly, and the whole PK unit. Even if I was not watching the games, checking the score on Twitter would have provided a scapegoat faster than you can say Lebda.

The sky is not falling:

Yes the Leafs’ record in the month of December was terrible. And yes their PK somehow continued to get worse. But when I looked at the standings on January 1, 2012 it was hard to be disappointed. The team was only 4 or so points out of a playoff spot and the teams above them are ones they can definitely catch within a week or so. The losses of the prior week, while frustrating did not weigh heavily on me because I did not obsess over them, I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. 

I am hardly the type to make grand generalizations about a medium; more than anything this degenerates into simply yelling at clouds. What I will say is that for me personally, Twitter makes it harder to be patient and focus on the Leafs’ performance over the long term. It acts as an echo-chamber and tends to exaggerate the typical highs and lows I feel during a game or a stretch of games.  The Leafs went 0-2-1 during my “tweetcation”. While it was disappointing it didn’t really bother me as I was able to see the poor stretch in the context of the whole season. Sometimes Twitter makes it hard to keep the proper perspective when evaluating the performance of a given team.

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All too often we can’t see the forest for the tweets. 

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