This leaves hockey, our last gasp at a bastion of light to get us through this yearly, sporting morass. Under normal circumstances, the Bruins would hold the pole position for these final laps en route to the start of spring. The team is a Cup contender once more and its success over the past three seasons offers it a bright, shiny spotlight the likes of which the franchise hadn’t known in decades before 2011.
But there’s nothing normal about this portion of the season, thanks to the Winter Olympics. Sure, there will be a handful of B’s taking part in the tournament over in Sochi and as Vancouver, Turin, and Salt Lake City (or of course, Lake Placid) proved, Olympic men’s hockey can be incredible, particularly when the US sends a contending, competitive team.
Yet after Saturday, there will be no NHL games for 17 days. And while the Olympic tournament schedule features a stray, noontime puck drop here and there, the majority of the contests will be played at either 3 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. Fans will certainly be able to watch via tape delay, but good luck trying to avoid knowing who won ahead of time.