Okay, hockey fans. It’s time for a family meeting.
I know that things have been tense lately. We’re all getting a little snappy as we head out of the regular season and head into “That Time of The Year,” as our teams band together to make us proud or fizzle out with the kind of sad whine your dog makes when he doesn’t get to eat any of your bacon.
In the hockey season of life, friends, the last games of the regular season are like being at a bar after 2 a.m. on a Wednesday: you probably know if you’re getting laid, you probably know if you’re not, and at this point you’re mostly just doing your best to avoid a hangover.
As the season ends and we stumble blearily into the playoffs, let’s all do our best to keep the lights low and our voices down. Remember that seasons are long, and if your team didn’t make it, well, there’s always next year, buddy.
Anyway, with that in mind, here is a friendly list of conversation topics to avoid AT ALL COSTS, no matter what team your friends may be fans of.*
- Be nice to fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs: Do your best not to use the word “leaf” as a verb meaning “to make a small mistake.”
- Be nice to fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins: It’s probably best not to use the words “Marc-André Fleury” and “choke” in the same sentence unless the words between them are “will definitely NOT.”
- Be nice to fans of the Phoenix Coyotes: Do you know a Coyotes fan that’s feelin’ down? Under no circumstances should you say, “It’s okay, buddy! I’m sure they’ve got a goal in their back pocket.”
- Be nice to fans of the San Jose Sharks: Lay off the Sharknado jokes. C’mon, guys. It’s too easy. You can do better than that.
- Be nice to fans of the Los Angeles Kings: Don’t ask a Kings fan what it’s like living in a city that cares about its hockey team. They don’t know the answer.
- Be nice to fans of the Montreal Canadiens: Man, it’s crazy how many Cups the Habs have won. (Only ’90s kids will get this.)
- Be nice to fans of the Vancouver Canucks: Nevermind, guys. You’ll find someone like Lu.
- Be nice to fans of the Edmonton Oilers: Don’t try to tell an Oilers fan what went wrong this season. They know what went wrong this season. You know what, let’s just avoid talking about the playoffs altogether. Hey, who wants to go out for ice cream?
- Be nice to fans of the Winnipeg Jets: Just remind your Jets fan friends that no matter how close they get to 30th in the league, at least they never have to relive the 2006-2007 playoffs.
- Be nice to fans of the Ottawa Senators: At absolutely no point should you claim that the stress of watching your hockey team is “giving you a hernia” in front of a Sens fan. Frankly, it’s just insensitive. Bobby Ryan seems really nice.
- Be nice to fans of the Calgary Flames: Please refrain from “up in flames, just like your Stanley Cup dreams,” jokes. It’s low-hanging fruit, and you can do better.
- Be nice to fans of the Boston Bruins: Between the months of April and October, there is no number between 16 and 18.
- Be nice to fans of the Philadelphia Flyers: Follow the golden rule with fans of the Flyers: assume that they treat everybody the way they want to be treated. No. Wait. That’s not what I meant. Do the opposite of that.
- Be nice to fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets: Kindly refrain from making a joke about the All-Star Game being held in a city whose team has never, in fact, been the NHL’s actual Stanley Cup All Star. It’s rude.
- Be nice to fans of the Dallas Stars: Here’s a mean game not to play with Stars fans. It’s called What Bad Choices Will Tyler Seguin Make and Document On Instagram If The Stars Don’t Win the Stanley Cup?
- Be nice to fans of the Carolina Hurricanes: “How many Staals does it take to win a Stanley Cup? All of them, except for Marc.” (#SorryJared)
- Be nice to fans of the Chicago Blackhawks: No matter what happens to this year’s defending champs, remind them that at least nothing will ever be as bad for Patrick Kane as the loss against Finland.
- Be nice to fans of the St. Louis Blues: You know what they say, sports fans! 4th trip to the Stanley Cup finals is almost certainly the charm.
- Be nice to fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning: It’s especially important to be nice to Lightning fans, who’ve been through a lot of upheaval lately, ever since their Dad went on an Olympics run and never came back.
- Be nice to fans of the Colorado Avalanche: If anyone asks, Matt Duchene is just on a hard-earned vacation and has never felt better in his life.
- Be nice to fans of the Nashville Predators: Don’t ask Preds fans who won the breakup with Ryan Suter. They’re doing fine, okay? Who cares that Suter has 100 pictures up on his Facebook of him with his new team winning games and going to the playoffs? The Preds are doing just fine with tears and sad Carrie Underwood songs.
- Be nice to fans of the Florida Panthers: There are Panthers fans, okay? Robert Luongo and his whole family are really happy to be out of Vancouver.
- Be nice to fans of the New York Islanders: Remind Islanders fans that hey, moving to Brooklyn won’t be so bad. You’ll fit in just fine with all the other hipsters who haven’t won a slam poetry contest in 30 years.
- Be nice to fans of the New Jersey Devils: A good way to avoid being mean to Devils fans is just to remember that they have Jaromir Jagr on their team. Go ahead, try to be mean about Jaromir Jagr. Try it. You can’t, can you? Can anybody?
- Be nice to fans of the Anaheim Ducks: Under no circumstances should you cheer, “QUACK. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK,” at Ducks games. They’re not the Mighty Ducks anymore. They, like Lil’ Romeo, are no longer Lil’.
- Be nice to fans of the Buffalo Sabres: At this point, is there anything that you can say to a Sabres fan about the Sabres that Sabres fans haven’t already said themselves?
- Be nice to fans of the Detroit Red Wings: The reason you shouldn’t talk badly about Detroit is because the city of Detroit will probably stab you and take your wallet.
- Be nice to fans of the New York Rangers: “How many Staals does it take to win a Stanley Cup? All of them, except for Marc.” (#StillSorryJared)
- Be nice to fans of the Washington Capitals: Honestly, if you’re not a Caps fan, and you can make a joke that’s about any Caps player that’s not Ovi–in fact, if you can name a Caps player that’s not Ovi, you’ve earned it.
- Be nice to fans of the Minnesota Wild: Don’t forget that the Wild have Captain America. For … as good as that went. For America.