Hearing about stuff like Slava Voynov's arrest (and Semyon Varlamov's last year, everything with Ray Rice, etc.) can make you feel the powerlessness of being a sports fan - you cheer for teams with all your heart, but what good does that really do anybody? And when the sports world harbors bad behavior and evil deeds, it seems like the fans can't do much to combat that. It's a source of tension for me: on the one hand, my love for hockey and the passion I invest in it; on the other, the understanding that my love is a drop in a giant ocean of revenue, and I can't do much individually to change NHL culture.
A new initiative called Hockey Fights Domestic Violence, started by @nonmodernist on Twitter, can help us turn our love for hockey into concrete action to stop domestic violence. The idea is simple: pick a player or team stat, and pledge a dollar or time amount to an anti-domestic violence organization based on that stat. I chose Phil Kessel. For every goal he scores this season and every picture he posts of Stella the dog, I'll be donating $1 to Connections for Abused Women and Their Children, a Chicago organization that provides shelter, children's counseling, and other services to victims of domestic violence. (If Kessel finally cracks 40 goals, I'll add another $10 on top of the total in celebration.) There are lots of different ways you can do this - check out the HFDV tumblr for more ideas. You can use the hashtag #hockeyfightsdv to share your pledge on Twitter. Please support this in whatever way you can!
Some other links to get you through your day:
Some thoughts from Mirtle on an important year for Rielly. Let's hope he's amazing.
The Blue Jackets blew the Leafs out of the water all the time last year, so even with the injuries, this could still be a hard game to win.
DGB covers the things we weren't expecting to happen (although he's omitted "David Clarkson actually scoring a couple goals").
Yes, this is technically about a Leafs loss, but it's also an awesome story of falling in love with hockey. There are so many different and interesting ways that people become fans.