What To Do: A Survival Guide for the Next 48 Hours by @ToonsBrian



To many fans, a five day stretch with no games in the middle of a playoff season creates a bit of anxiety. A six day gap forces some fans to compulsively eat while seven days results in thinning hair and finger nails having been chewed to the point of bleeding. By the time the puck drops for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, nearly nine full days will have passed.

Withdrawal is never pretty.

To this point, Pens fans have at least had other playoff series to help stave off the hunger until the next round, with both Western Conference Semis going the distance. The Chicago Blackhawks eliminating the Detroit Red Wings has taken that pacifier away.

Even with continued hockey, Pens fans were getting antsy. The chirping with the Bruins fan base became boring and uninspired. The latest tweets I’ve seen involved complaints that Pittsburghers will boo Jagr and Bostonians will boo Iginla. Riveting. Worse, Pens fans are turning on each other. Disagreements concerning hypothetical situations to which nobody truly knows the answer to end up in social media wars.

It is clear that if Pens fans are to survive the next 48 hours or so, the question of “What do I do now?” must be answered. The following is a list of healthy, realistic and legal options to help get you through this critical period of time:

Sleep
There is no greater resource in this world than sleep. I can tell you that as a father, as a husband and as a blue-collar midnight shift factory worker. I’m sure that the members of the British Penguins Fan Club will agree, as they stay up way past the average bedtime just to catch Pens games on a regular basis.

According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical Schools, getting adequate amounts and quality of sleep can improve the performance of the brain's limbic system. This directly affects mood, reduces stress and anxiety and ensures better overall health. Saturday’s 8:00 PM faceoff is a little later than we’re used to seeing and, since it is the playoffs, a multiple overtime affair is a possibility. Rest up. Your parents will approve.

Family Time
This week, Jarome Iginla took a day to go to Kennywood to pose for pictures with fans and squeeze in some training ahead of Game 1. Of course he didn’t.

Jarome is in the middle of what could be the best chance he has or will ever see to win a Stanley Cup. Hockey is his job. The Cup is his dream. This is a culmination of his life’s work. Yet, he and many of his teammates have taken the time this week to make their families a priority. We’re just fans.

My wife hates the hockey season because it absorbs so much of my attention. Spending quality family time with them helps to alleviate some of that. There are tons of things you can do, from playing board games to visiting various World’s Largest…..stuff. Since we have readers from all over, here are some:

                Charcoal Grill in Magnolia, AR
                Swedish Coffee Pot in Kingsburg, CA
                Rubber Chicken in Collinsville, IL
                Milk Bottle in Boston, MA
                Hockey Stick in Real Eveleth, MN
                Penguin in Cut Bank, MT
                Donut in Yokumtown, PA



Watch Some Classic Movies
Hockey fans – especially hockey fans outside of Pittsburgh – are hilarious. The just love their conspiracies. Many of the crazy conspiracy theories out there are centered completely around the Pens. So why not watch some classic films to pass the time – and galvanize yourself to some of the crazy stories we’ll be hearing over the next several weeks – until Game 1. Of course, for added fun, imagine these films in a Penguins-centered universe:

                The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Unbeknownst to him, now former Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk  has been brainwashed to accept any remotely feasible trade offer from Ray Shero.
                JFK (1991) – Prosecutor Eugene Melnyk, portrayed by Kevin Costner, attempts to expose Matt Cooke for his role in the assassination of Marc Savard and attempted assassination of Erik Karlsson.
                 All The President’s Men (1976) – Philadelphia and New York bloggers work to expose President Bettman’s administration for its role in the Crosbygate scandal.
                The Matrix (1999) – A highly sought-after free agent in a social media driven universe must decide his path after tricking an entire city into accepting the blue pill and retiring to their own dream worlds.
               
Be Charitable
Oh, hey. Look what I snuck into this article. You should take some of the next 48 hours to check out  HockeyKicksCancer.com. Hockey Kicks Cancer is a charity kickball event run by our very own Stevie. While at the site, register to participate, to attend or simply to donate to this great charity.
We here at PensInitiative.com are immensely proud of the hard work Stevie puts into the event.

Some Final Thoughts
It’s safe to say we’re all ready for the Eastern Conference Finals to get under way. Unfortunately, obsessing over the fact that we have to wait is the most counterproductive thing we, as fans, can do. There are plenty of other things in our everyday lives that we can use as diversions from our frustration with the NHL’s decision.
So while everybody else is watching the paint dry, try your hand at a new hobby. Go out to a restaurant that you’ve not tried yet. Catch a Pirates game. Read a book (They still make those and HBO even makes entire shows out of them from time to time!). Fill a coloring book. Go shopping for game time necessities. Fix a leaky faucet. Trim the hedges. Bath the dog..........
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About Brian Blystone

Now living in Youngstown, OH. Podcasting/Writing from ToonsStudios East for PensInitiative.com, 1-Up.club and whoever else wants to listen. Mistakenly left in charge of visual/web design for PI and owning/operating The 1-Up Club video game site.
Spends free time playing video games, watching hockey, playing hacky sack with son while daughter is warming up for whatever activity she's doing next and wondering how he got such a hot wife.
Some mysteries are meant to remain unsolved.
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