The first game of the regular season was Joe Sakic night, October 1st 2009, coincidentally enough against the San Jose Sharks. The game was on VS, and VS had this archaic policy of joining west coast games in progress, so you can be forgiven if you think that little over the course of the season.

The season, as fun as it is, is a six month grind, obviously more so for players, but it can be quite the grind for fans too, even those who love hockey as much as most of the people who actually have found this little nook of the interwebs. It can be very easy to get caught up in some of the more negative aspects. It's easy to let the negative stiff, like controversies (head shots!), marginal hits, bad calls (AAAAAAAAAAUGER), losing streaks, etc can occupy the mind and forget about all the fun over the course of the regular season. Then let's not forget about petty feuds that happen between the fan bases, or all the stupid hockey "columns"  written by general columnists who watch a couple games during the season, but still think they are experts.

Every season there are dates that every hockey fan looks forward to like a beloved holiday. Opening Day/Night. The Winter Classic, The All-Star Game/Winter Olympics, The Trade deadline. And the beginning of the post season.

More after the jump

The beginning of the post season is easily the oddest, and most rewarding, of the entire gauntlet. Everyone eagerly anticipates the intensity and drama of playoff hockey, but I find an extremely underrated aspect of them is the baptism that comes with the end of the season. Any negative accumulation from the season is grounded out and lost in the infinite ether of playoff excitement. I think that's a highly underrated aspect of the post season; the concentration is solely on hockey.

For me, this feeling of re-birth is amplified by my recent trip to Germany and the Czech Republic. While there the Avs...ummm...struggled. Mightily (3-4-1). It was extremly difficult to follow, (and I was pretty distracted with all the fun and beer. Lots of beer.) But one night, at the bar, I did get to view a hockey game. Unfortunately this is  what the uniforms looked like:

and the arena looking like this:

It was incredibly distracting, and there was no emotional investment.It just didn't feel the same.

But then I arrived at home in the middle of the Avs-ducks game. And even though the Avs lost 5-2, and it wasn't the best game I was happy. Then I got to watch the Avs face the Kings on Sunday, and it was a great time. Being away from the losing streak meant that I didn't have the same anxiety level as a lot of fans here, I was just happy to watch hockey. Luckily for everyone, including fans of non-playoff teams like the Flames (tee hee hee) they get to experience this joy as well. Before they even start, the playoffs remind everyone just how great hockey is.

Sharks-Avs preview tomorrow