Maybe we should call this the super hangover mash this morning.
Aside from Sunday’s super Super Bowl, the North American Hockey League pulled all the stops again over the weekend. The Odessa Jackalopes shut the door on a long losing streak, Fairbanks looks unbeatable (again), and It looks like we’re about to see one of the most exciting play-off races in league history.
Don’t look now but the Central Division leading Aberdeen Wings (27-8-4-2) have just one win in their last four games after getting swept at Bismarck (2nd, 23-11-3-3). The Bobcats are tied with Minot (3rd, 23-12-1-5) with the Austin Bruins (22-13-2-4) just two-points behind in fourth place. The Minnesota Wilderness (20-18-3-0) are just seven points behind after picking up a trio of points in the split at Chippewa. St. Cloud (10-28-3-1) may be in next season mode, but they are far from a push-over by any stretch of the imagination.
New Jersey (30-8-0-1) remains atop the East Division after their road split at Maine. With seven wins in the last ten games, second place Johnstown (26-13-2-2) is keeping pace with the Titans but were unable to gain any ground after their home split with third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (20-18-4-1). The Maryland Black Bears (17-18-7-0) remain in fourth place after their home split with Jamestown (6th, 16-25-1-2). The Northeast Generals (7th, 16-20-1-1) took the week off (somebody assumed the Patriots would be in Super Bowl again?) and now have six less games played than Maryland. In the battle for that fourth playoff spot, the Generals look to be in the best position to give the Black Bears a good fight.
If I did not know any better, one could easily conclude that the Midwest Division’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs (33-9-1-2) have been toying with the league all season. Yes, the hottest team in the league (14-0-1-0 in last fifteen games) comes from the iciest place in the country. Kenai River (2nd, 24-15-3-3) put up a grand fight at the Big Dipper but close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. Chippewa (3rd, 24-13-0-0) split their home set with the Wilderness and have a five-point lead over 4th place Janesville (18-22-1-0). The Jets have six wins in their last ten games after their home sweep of Springfield (6th, 13-26-2-2). The Minnesota Magicians (5th, 13-20-5-3) are just three-points behind the Jets and continue to keep this race interesting.
The South Division leading Amarillo Bulls (34-7-1-2) should have known better than to think there is anything east about facing off against the Corpus Christi IceRays (5th, 13-26-3-3). The hometown Bulls picked up the home sweep, but it was anything but easy. Topeka (3rd, 27-12-1-2) may have got caught up with Super Bowl fever while getting tripped up by New Mexico (6th, 9-29-2-2) on Friday night. The Pilots redeemed themselves Saturday to salvage the split. Lone Star (2nd, 33-8-0-1) was idle this week.
To the National Football League and Kansas City Chiefs. The family and I travelled across the state to Spring Hill to visit family and watch the Super Bowl yesterday and we were not disappointed. The game was my first since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted that crab legs stealing quarterback from Florida State (James Winston) back in 2015. Before that time, watching the University of Florida Gators and Buccaneers was a family tradition. Colin Kaepernick’s antics sealed the league’s fate soon after.
Fast-forward to last night’s game and it did not take long for the NFL to redeem itself with Demi Lovato’s Star-Spangled Banner after Yolanda Adam’s America the Beautiful. We’re not sure if the decision to cut away to the Air Force crew standing at attention on a far-away flight-line was the NFL or Fox’s; regardless, that set the tone for a great show.
The game itself was spectacular and I’m not a fan of either team. In reality, due to an ex-wife in Kansas, being a Chiefs’ fan was never going to happen. But last night, we could not help but like what Kansas City did in the fourth quarter.
Add in an entertaining half-time show that featured Shakira (from Deysi’s home of Colombia) and Jennifer Lopez and the night proved to be worth the trip.
Will we be watching the NFL next season? Maybe a few games here and there. It's not the Stanley Cup by any means, but not bad for fools' ball.