Night time is right time

ERIN NICKS

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

There are some things in life that you dislike, but have to tolerate -- things like traffic, idiotic co-workers and your significant other talking during SportsCentre's "Instant Analysis" segment.

The same holds true for the NHL playoffs, regardless of whether your favourite team is still playing. Here are a few things that have been trying my patience lately:

AFTERNOON GAMES: Now I know we've heard past opinions about this subject, but let's be realistic. If you're in favour of afternoon games, it's extremely likely that you're: a) an NBC executive; b) an NHL executive kowtowing to an NBC executive or c) a septuagenarian who can't stay awake beyond Coach's Corner after a 7 o'clock start time. Afternoon games completely mess with the dynamic of the game-day build-up, and they must drive fans on the West Coast crazy. Take yesterday, for instance, when the Sens-Sabres game started at 11 a.m. PDT. That sort of nonsense may be necessary when the Winter Olympics are being held overseas, but it certainly shouldn't be an option for the NHL playoffs. Hockey is an after-hours sport -- you're supposed to play it at night. You're supposed to roll into work after an extended OT game with bigger circles under your eyes than Jeff Van Gundy after a month-long bout of hay fever. Playing and watching hockey after dark is one tradition that shouldn't be altered.

BODY PAINTING: Body painting. Is it hypocritical for me to bag on blatantly excited fans? Of course it is. But have you dealt with being jostled against crimson-painted retirees on an SBP concourse packed tighter than a Beijing fish market? These fanatics (a growing number of which are over the 50-plus mark) currently come in three shades of red: Lobster, Mystic Tan Overload and Mike Shanahan. Granted, it's difficult to get on their case too much, considering the price of some local merchandise -- Sensations, the arena's on-site store, sells adult-sized "Sens Army" screened T-shirts that start at $20 and top out at $33 (regular price). Has anyone considered lowering the price point and donating half the proceeds to Roger's House? It would give some of Ottawa's most devoted fans a break from any industry-strength exfoliants after home games.

THE MEDIA: An easy target to be sure, but how can I let them skate? We've already heard discussions regarding a potential Detroit-Ottawa final, because apparently it wouldn't be a true playoff run for the Senators if their opponent didn't arrive with a soap opera-esque storyline. Unfortunately, someone might want to clear this with the Anaheim Ducks, seeing as they defeated the Red Wings minus D Chris Pronger to knot the series on Thursday. Of course, we can't discuss the media without a dash of the nonsensical -- last week, I heard claims from one Toronto reporter who insisted that Buffalo has faced a harder road through the playoffs than the Senators. I guess the irony of beating teams possessing two of the three Hart Trophy finalists was lost on him. Sorry, but the last time I checked, the third nominee wasn't a third-string Islanders goaltender with an eleven-letter surname. And can someone, somewhere drop a moratorium on the nonsensical phrase known as "roof daddy"? If someone utters this free association within my physical presence, I'm liable to grab them by the uvula. However, the first person that's willing to do a stupid variation on this will automatically become my favourite TSN personality -- I want to hear about Jason Spezza going "dome cousin" or "canopy grandma" on Ryan Miller.

Excessive and pointless whining is the hallmark of the NHL playoffs.

Get it out while you can, because it won't be long before the only major sports satisfaction available is another Blue Jays-Devil Rays series in late July. And frankly, that's really something to complain about.


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