Jinx vs. Hockey Gods – The Definitive Article Of Faith

As my brothers and sisters of puck watch our L.A. Kings achieve success in the post season and as we walk together to the Western Conference Finals, some false precepts have spun their way into our fans’ collective minds, have caused and continue to cause unnecessary distraction and, if not addressed, may cause crippling incertitude.

The jinx. I have heard the term spoken among my fellow fans. It is a self diluted dogma founded upon superstition, without basis in science or fact. Its foundational premise is that something you (you referring not just to the you that reads this article but others around you who you believe are similarly capable of releasing this accursed pretense) do can cause a material change to the game’s ultimate outcome. This delusion, for example, causes one to believe a particular pair of pants he or she wears, the manner in which the person posits their daily routine, the words they speak or the thoughts that may percolate in their head affects the trajectory of the puck or the way in which L.A. Kings players, or that of the other team, perform. I have witnessed this fallacy control a fellow fan’s thoughts and actions, to the point said fan becomes paralyzed if he or she makes a mistake in putting forth the proper foot before the other, fails to stop at his or her requisite burger stand or any number of machinations. I once witnessed a young man break into a panic when, at his pre-game establishment, he learned the brand of beer he always drank before a game was not available on a particular game night and watched his psyche steadily break down wherein he blamed himself for every missed pass, errant shot, defensive gaffe or goal against. It was with guilt and retrospective shame that I agreed with him and proceeded to persuade him to decry with elevated volume the indignity of it all, as other patrons looked on.

What is this power that controls otherwise intelligent folk like yourself? Would you believe that simply because you thought about your girlfriend’s breasts today that you are doomed not to touch them again or, worse yet, your best friend is touching them now? As an aside, if you are an attractive woman with such specific breast related thoughts of your similarly aesthetic and ideally disproportionately well-endowed significant other, I welcome a detailed elaboration of same in the comment section below. Of course you would not! What madness would that be? Why you would be fit for a 5150 hold or, worse yet, indoctrination into a cult with promises of paradisiacal glory. But this is not politics. This is hockey. We have no agenda, no will to power. We love our team, support our team and wish the earned honor upon them, all symbolized by a silver chalice we call the Stanley Cup. We recognize that our control over our beloved comes only in two forms – our fandom that expresses itself through our claps, chants, cheers and emotions and, equally consequential, devotion to the Hockey Gods.

Contrary to the sacrilegious aberrations of the jinx, the Hockey Gods are living deities whose mysterious ways have guided our great sport of hockey to its current illuminated state. To those who are cultivated, I write of that you already know. To the others, I welcome you to this lesson with love and peace.

First, know that the Hockey Gods are not infallible. They, like us, have the capacity to evolve and grow, just as the game has done for decades.

Second, they are not jealous Gods that lash out at detractors. Their ways are more subtle and lead to a self-awareness which brings truth into focus and renders its application self-evident.

Third, they are not Canadian. They used to be but the events of the past 19 years as well as the mere existence of the Vancouver Canucks speaks for itself as to why such identification was simply inconsistent with an enlightened being.

But for the Article of Faith I bring you today, all you must know about the Hockey Gods and their ways is that they demand, above all, an allegiance to your team and the game, one that is born of love and respect. Many have the adulation. Many must learn the reverence. I will bring you one example. On Sunday, Surly threw a displeased grimace at a fan who screamed the word “sweep” with many minutes left in the game. I believe Surly’s reaction was due to his belief that such utterance had a potential destructive force. Surly would be wrong just as he would be right. The word “sweep” with time left has no impact of a jinx variety. However, when the Hockey Gods listen to such lack of respect for the game, they could become displeased. Fortunately, the lone transgressor was an irrelevant noise for Surly and I, among over 18,000 others at Staples Center and many more at homes and bars around the Americas and globe, did not share in that pre-ejaculatory sentiment and were instead swept up in the sheer joy of watching our Kings defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in the game and 4-0 in the series.

I hope I have brought clarity to all Kings fans who grace us with their presence on the pages of this site. I ask that you, like Surly and I, bring the highest order of love and respect to the L.A. Kings and the sport of hockey as we progress through these Stanley Cup Playoffs and skate closer to our Holy Grail.

May the Hockey Gods bless our team.

GO KINGS!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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33 replies

  1. I wass just about to post a question on your blog when I came upon this article. My question was, for the last 5 Kings wins, I had worn two Kings t- shirts in a specific way…my Luc old Forum blue and gold underneath a black Gretzky shirt. I wanted to get opinions on whether I should wash them before the start of the next round, or continue to not wash them. I have been a crazed King’s fan since 1973′ and over the years there have been many lucky shirts, socks, etc. obviously, since we haven’t gone undefeated for all those years, my superstitions have not helped or hurt the outcome of games. If my wife walks in the room and the opposing team scores, she knows that she is banished for the rest of the game. Why do so many fans have these idiocincratic superstitions that somehow their behavior affects the game? Because IT’S FUCKING FUN!!! It connects us with the team in a way that hurts no one and makes us feel somehow more a part of the experience. I will agree that anyone who seriously believes that their good luck hats, or their patterns of behavior actually affects the game, well, they are as messed up as anyone who thinks there are hockey gods, or for that matter any god or gods. See the irony there? It’s all just fun. We all know that the players are very superstitious, and if Quick alters his Pre game routine from what he normally does….that indeed is a superstition that could affect the outcome. I would still like to know if I should wash those shirts.

    • I think you should pray to the Hockey Gods for wisdom and denounce your superstitious ways.

    • Well said. All playoff gamedays, I’ve worn the same t-shirt under the same Doughty jersey, with the same hat on. Worn backwards.

      My beverage on game days has been Crown and Diet.

      What I’m trying to say is, do NOT wash those fucking shirts. There will be plenty of time to do that on draft day.

  2. Does this mean I don’t need to light the candles on my Kings altar any longer?
    Seriously. I’m worried. :(

  3. “Third, they are not Canadian. They used to be but the events of the past 19 years as well as the mere existence of the Vancouver Canucks speaks for itself as to why such identification was simply inconsistent with an enlightened being.”

    I had to stop once I read that, holy fuck your killin me larry, I cant breathe!!!!
    “they used to be”!! bwahahahaha

  4. … I don’t believe in superstition, but I do believe in respect and I also believe in karma. I think that chanting “sweep” before it’s done is disrespectful. I also think that talking about which names will be on the Cup when the Kings are only halfway there is also disrespectful. I hate the way Staples encourages fans there to chant “(team name) sucks” thirty seconds into the game, because that’s also disrespectful. And, in my mind, not showing respect leads to bad karma. I’ve been a fan of this team and seen bad times for too long to feel any other way.

    • I agree with you with most of what you said.

      But saying a team sucks is not disrespectful in sports.

      Half the time, the other team doesn’t suck, it is just because they aren’t our team so they suck. The other half of the time theydo suck, but it is more that they aren’t our team, so they suck.

      My point is intent. In class in elementary school, telling. A kid he sucks is a personal attack and shouldn’t be said. Saying a team sucks is just in good fun. I doubt the millionare players care one bit. That’s sports.

      As long as its not personal I personally don’t see a problem.

      Nice to see you back… we all need to enjoy this run, who know when we will get this far again.

    • While I am a HUGE proponent of the “(opponent here) sucks” chants, I do agree that it is stupid to do it right away. That bothers me. To me that is a chant that you save for after you score a goal. Its a taunt, a “haha you fucked up” chant.

    • JT: “And, in my mind, not showing respect leads to bad karma.”

      Claude Lemieux and his 4 Stanley Cups thinks your karma is stupid and would like to smash it against the boards face first.

    • Dutch, hi from Paris France. Not even on my computer but had to chime in. Love your post and agree with every word of it.

  5. Lookie here Bobby,

    What I do ABSOLUTELY affects the outcomes of games. I am the master of my own universe and all ye are merely puppets in my skull, delusions dreamed up by the 88% of my brain I’m not using.

    I have to start training my subconscious to imbue its fabrications with the knowledge that there are merely existentially relevant but not substantively autonomous. I apologize for the confusion.

  6. Only after the sweep was complete were we then able to taunt our opponents with the appropriate chants. My not wanting to jinx the series did not stop me from pissing on the Blues trading card—so urine-soaked that the player was no longer visible—in a urinal during game three. Do not make the Hockey Gods angry!

    Don’t wash those shirts, socks and holy undergarments!
    As Action said above, “There will be plenty of time to do that on draft day.”

    (Hilarious, Scribe! I am sending this to all the recent converts to the religion—now that our Kings have made it to the third round, there are many.)

  7. Scribe….my religious believes extend only to Surly’s prayer. So you’re saying ‘wash the shirts, it doesn’t matter’. So of course I won’t wash them because I’m a contrary bastard. Pray for my soul….it couldn’t hurt.

  8. But how does one appease the hockey gods, is it not a similar ritual as performed for the purpose to avoid jinx? So the behavior is more or less the same yet it is the intellectual knowledge that to not appease the hockey gods is the same to jinx? Seems like you can substitute one for the other but the fundamental difference is respect for the game not that ones own personal actions have an impact on the outcome of the game. But what if ones ritual equates to appeasing the gods with respect and honor?

  9. The hockey gods are omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnificient, or well, all kinds of omni beings.

    Surly and Scribe do not speak with forked tongue. They have skillfully and faithfully guided us through the darkness, dungeons and the twilight zones of this season, where I am convinced the hockey gods are blessing our beloved Kings to our heart’s content. You need not fear, as a great President once said: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    I have had my own visions as to the hockey gods in the heavens:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_xqU8aCV8ADc/TNJBC1kBdFI/AAAAAAAAAS0/i38WZ-h-NJo/s1600/hockey+gods.jpg

    They have a special heart for the best goalie in the league, as they receive the greatest blessings and rewards for their skill and patience and reflexes.

    For those that irritate and annoy the hockey gods, for foolish or gluttonous behavior, the punishment can be very humiliating:

    http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQOShRoMRrLyWm5brmBurkmPOv5VEDq7_Nol1beT9YZ7g9URJJ7USMtsQ18

    They will burn in those that cannot remain strong and viral:

    http://www.jesseshunting.com/images/blackhawks_toews_sacrifice_demon.jpg

    This year, the Kings have truly played with pucks on fire, which are pleasing to the ancient hockey gods that invented the game and bestowed it to the Americas eons ago.

    http://hockeygods.com/system/gallery_images/8337/original.jpg?1332902651

    However, whatever we do, we should never mock or blasphemy the hockey gods because the penalty can be extremely painful and harsh:

    http://canuckscorner.com/mainblog/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/536485_10150660197296691_570196690_9832521_14497458_n.jpg

    With the hockey gods, all things are possible, and come this June, final games 3 and 4 could be our ultimate dream experience:

    http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/23/wc2z.jpg

    So listen carefully and attentively to our wise teachers and leaders, Surly and Scribe, for they are entrusted this year to lead us to the promised land as the hockey gods find them honorable and obedient and anointed to analyze and debate and articulate all things within the Kingdom of LA KINGS.

    • FYI, these comments don’t show up right away because everytime you post a bunch of links in one comment the filter thinks its spam, so it doesn’t go up until we see that and approve it.

  10. Pretty sure I just snorted several times while reading this.

    The Kings are 8-0 when I’m wearing purple “underthings”, my Kopi t-shirt under my LA Kings hoodie…under my Quick jersey, when I’ve slurped down a “regular” sized Jamba juice (the only loss happened when my sister got me the wrong size) before the game, followed up by eating a “Puck” aka Hostess Ding Dong after the first period.

    I will be continuing this….thank you very much. lol :)

  11. let’s go kings !!!!

  12. I only shower between the game days. It may sound gross, but to please the Hockey Gods, It must be done. And it’s not like I DON’T shower… Just not on game days ^.^ And everytime I leave the house, I need a piece of the Kings with me.

  13. I know this isn’t a very serious post about how the Kings are playing and what not, and I know you all know what I’m about to type, but I feel like I should pitch in a bit. The curse that we’ve all come to know and hate has always been blamed on the system. The system was defensively tight and offensively challenged. That has changed and we’re seeing that change manifest before us. We watched the team we love plow through not one, but two Cup favorites. That’s not a coincidence.

    One thing that has me worried, you guys touched on it in your podcast, and I’ll touch on it in a bit as well, is that Jeff Carter hasn’t been scoring. He does bring that element of balance and he’s been playing well, but why hasn’t he been scoring? Is there any explanation other than the LA Kings curse? Sure Philly fans always say he disappears in the playoffs, sure we’ve only played a handful of games, but damn I want that monster of a hockey player that scored two hat tricks on a shitty Columbus team he wanted nothing to do with. I want the sniper that the Kings traded for, not flashes of the sniper that the Kings traded for. That being said, I agree with you guys that he’ll show up and steal a game or two for the Kings this series.

    Have to say, in the podcast, I loved the part about Smith not being the superstar everyone thinks he is. It’s not coincidence that the top goalies in the league are on the top defensive teams and/or very defensively minded teams in the league.

    If the Kings play the way they have been playing and showcase the talent everyone expected us to have, which we’re now just seeing, we WILL break their system down and expose Smith. The key there is playing with the discipline, style, and execution that we’ve seen for the past two rounds. I believe this is the same reason that the Kings beat the Blues. Both systems were very similar, for the most part, and everyone expected a long drawn out battle. What really happened was our team stuck with the system and the Blues couldn’t keep up with the depth that the Kings showed. Now I’m not saying we have the most talented bottom six in the league, probably far from that. Our bottom six might not be the most talented group of guys, however they are showing up big time in these playoffs. They’ve earned everyone’s trust and respect with their style of play, especially Darryl Sutter’s.

    The Blues, pre Hitchcock, were a mediocre team with mediocre players. What changed was the system that Ken Hitchcock put in. What the Kings did was dismantle that system, piece by piece. They did this, as you guys mentioned, first through King hitting Pietrangelo, then through various plays every now and then. It felt like the Kings were in control and dictating the flow of the game. It almost felt as if the Blues couldn’t keep up with the constant waves of pressure that ALL four lines produced and the Kings exploited the fact that the Blues don’t have the most talented lineup. Now I’m not saying the Kings do, but they sure as hell have stepped up for the playoffs, and I do believe that we have a better lineup than both the Blues and the Coyotes, but that just might be my bias talking. Back to the Blues series. The momentum shifts in the Blues series were subtle, but still noticeable, even by the most casual of fans. I see a lot of similarities between the Blues and the Coyotes. Both are well coached teams with mediocre to good players, both have defensive systems and goalies that they can/could depend on. The Kings have a solid top six and a defensively sound bottom six that has been generating offense and momentum. I think, purely, the match up of rosters is what gives the Kings an edge in this series. The fact that the Kings can roll four lines; fourth line vs the opposing team’s first line, etc. The amount of balance that Jeff Carter has brought without pitching in offensively as much as we hoped is absolutely ridiculous. No one could have predicted that adding a player who can but hasn’t produced offensively would make a huge impact on our offense. My mind has been blown since the trade deadline. It’s incredible how this team has come out and surprised everyone with their level of play.

    If the Kings can keep this going, there is not a single fucking team that can stop them.

    • Have to say, in the podcast, I loved the part about Smith not being the superstar everyone thinks he is. It’s not coincidence that the top goalies in the league are on the top defensive teams and/or very defensively minded teams in the league.

      … Phoenix certainly isn’t a “top defensive team”, or anything of the sort. They’re actually a poor defensive team; that’s their main weakness, actually.

      The amount of balance that Jeff Carter has brought without pitching in offensively as much as we hoped is absolutely ridiculous.

      … 100% agree.

      • Yeah, that’s why I added the defensively minded part. From what I’ve seen the Coyotes aren’t great at any individual thing specifically. They just sort of play in front of a hot goaltender and seem to win. They seem like a very bland team with very good coaching. It really surprised me to watch highlights of their games these playoffs and in a lot of them I saw that at least through one period they’re getting dominated and the shots against them are piling up, yet they win. I didn’t actually watch the games, so were the shots not quality chances? Were they just getting lucky, or was Smith THAT good? Either way, I’m not too worried with the way the Kings have been playing.

    • I just yesterday bumped into a couple from Philly who were purchasing metro tickets. The guy had on a Philly sweatshirt. So we got to talking. He said he would root for the Kings and loves Richards. Glowing comments, but said he was glad to see Carter go; Carter had better prove hiùm wrong.

  14. I am an annoyingly logical person, most of the time. However, the behavior I have been exhibiting throughout this playoff run has people looking at me in a whole new way. You know the looks: their eyes widen just a little when you gasp at their suggestion that you can DVR the game and watch it after you finish running an unexpected errand (I haven’t watched a single playoff game on DVR, but I watched most of the season on DVR); the nudges between your co-workers as you show up wearing your purple shirt on a game day for the second time in a week; and then the shock in their faces when you shush them as they try to be supportive and say that they can see the Kings going all the way. “DON’T JINX THEM,” I holler.
    Knowing how off-kilter I have been about the playoffs, my husband made a huge sacrifice on Sunday. He had not seen any of the first three games due to work, and in the spirit of keeping the pattern going, he told me he wasn’t going to watch the game on Sunday, even though he would be home. I will say, I thought about trying to talk him out of his sacrifice, but I couldn’t do so in good faith. What if he watched, and the Kings lost? Would I forever blame him? I will say this. During the second and third periods, when the Blues were playing better, or the Kings were playing worse, he was sitting in the office where he is able to see the living room TV without difficulty. I asked if he was watching and he denied it. But, I wonder…maybe it was just the ability to see…hmm.
    Anyway, the series is over and we will go to Game 1 in Phoenix. Living in Arizona is paying off for us here, even though we will still have to drive about 4 hours to Glendale. I figure he is allowed to watch now because it was just that series. He did watch a couple of the Vancouver games. Both were wins.
    I will make sure my purple stuff is clean – purple polo for work days, purple warm-up pants for weekends, knee socks with purple hearts (!), purple scrunchie on my wrist (stolen from my daughter), and the jersey is saved for the day after big wins or going to the game. Now, should I wear my black Brent Thompson chevron jersey to the game or my new plain women’s jersey? Hmm, decisions, decisions.
    And damn anyone who says either of the “s” words before they happen. Wins occur one period at a time, one game at a time, one series at a time. That’s the only way for a Kings fan to stay sane and happy.

  15. It will do us wonders to continue to please the hockey gods with our spiritual rituals and lucky charms and our respective obsessive compulsive disorders to appease them in every way possible. Many things are going on behind the scenes that seem to be influencing matters, and whatever it is, or wherever it is coming from, I want it to continue undisturbed.

    The empirical evidence is mounting that somehow and in someway the hockey gods are very inclined to guide the Kings to victory. The team has been relatively healthy. Some big name elite teams are gone from the playoffs. Being the 8th seed has worked out fantastically, with the 7th, 6th, 5th, 1st, and 2nd history now.

    How about that critical dead play puck stopping on or about the goal line, or Kopi being at the right place and time to stop what seemed to be score in the making. This is like freaky divine stuff.

    I mean, lets think about the many good fortunes on the ice so far coupled with the Kings superior talent and will and determination to get the job done.

    So for all of you inclined to want to engage in your worship to the hockey gods, or engage in calling for supernatural interventions, the more power to you all.

    http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/64/166cbc591b5844719750b11edac56a1d/l.jpg

    http://www.thisisjustcool.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/image/boy%20and%20dog%20praying.JPG

    GO KINGS GO!!!

  16. It should also be noted that the Kings played on St. Patty’s day March 17th, where they beat Nashville and the hot streak has been in place ever since.

    Luck of the Irish, or what?

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5057/5545459816_abca7dfb68_o.png

    • No, March 17 is my birthday. I had a ritualistic symbolic offering of wayne gretzky’s hands, Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, Magic Johnson’s AIDS- I mean vision, Sandy Koufax’s precision, and Kirk Gibsons heart.

      All ingredients mixed up in a cauldron, some yeast added, and served as a medicinal microbrew to each Kings player.

      Alas, the perfect formula to win the Cup.

  17. There is no god. Only what happens or doesnt happen. To suggest the recent play of the Kings is the result of anything but their hard work is an insult. (to them not me). now excuse me. if i dont lick my nieghbor’s mailbox 3x before noon, there is no chance that the jr. magician newsletter comes today.

  18. What I do DOES affect the team’s performance.

    Years ago I called Kings defenseman Larry Murphy a “transvestite” — I won’t describe the circumstances, but I didn’t mean it maliciously. It was just my little way of saying, “Hi.”

    I could see confusion in his face, a troubled look, a sort of unaccountable queasiness. The moment passed and he and I and all the other persons at the get-together had an otherwise enjoyable evening.

    Yet even though he’d set an NHL record for assists by a rookie defenseman, he never again played so well for us. From that night on he was different, always thinking too much before he touched the puck. He was traded and found his great destiny elsewhere.

    I’ve always blamed myself for that. It’s a heavy load of guilt to carry around. But I’m a man and must answer for my sins.

    So mark my words: Weigh what you speak before you speak it. The team you save may be your own.

  19. It is bad luck to talk about jinxes, because you get jinxed.

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