Anaheim Ducks: You turn on a Ducks game. The screen is white. It must be Ryan Getzlaf’s bald head, you think. You’re probably right.
Arizona Coyotes: You accidentally call them the Phoenix Coyotes. No one corrects you. You’ve never encountered someone with them as their favorite team.
Boston Bruins: Chara checks someone into the boards. That someone disappears into thin air. You wonder if they keep a list of people Chara has made disappear like that.
Buffalo Sabres: You constantly forget about their existence. Would they be more relevant if they had won the draft lottery and had gotten McDavid, you think sometimes. You forget about them again.
Calgary Flames: A Flames game gets interrupted. Someone yells that there’s a child on the ice. It turns out to be Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau eats a Snickers on the bench, and scores.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes are down 6-0. Jeff Skinner smiles at a ref. The Canes are up 6-0.
Chicago Blackhawks: Chelsea Dagger starts playing in the distance. Oh no. You start running. The music gets louder. Someone yells: “3 cups in 6 years”. You’re crying. You can’t hide.
Colorado Avalanche: Someone on their roster scores. You must be dreaming. They get a win. This can’t be real, you think. The world must be ending.
Columbus Blue Jackets: You blankly stare at the TV. You’ve lost count of how many times you’ve heard the cannon by now. You stopped counting after 10. Your team still hasn’t scored.
Dallas Stars: There’s a fan crying. “Our goalie situation is shit,” they sob. Another fan rubs their back. “At least Tyler Seguin is still hot,” they say. You roll your eyes.
Detroit Red Wings: You hear someone cursing Dylan Larkin. “Why can’t he score,” you hear them say. Crying, they cuddle up to their Yzerman hugging pillow.
Edmonton Oilers: “McDavid sucks,” someone says. Ten Oilers fans and Milan Lucic appear from nowhere. “You suck,” Lucic says and punches them.
Florida Panthers: There’s a ceremony before the game. Jagr is turning 70. Jagr scores the OT winner.
Los Angeles Kings: You make eye contact with Anze Kopitar. He looks dead inside. You nod at each other. What is Kopitar losing fate in, you think. You still relate to him.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild has a 10 win streak. It ends in a 0-1 loss to an irrelevant team. They start a new 10 win streak.
Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price breaks all his limbs. Therrien doesn’t pull him. Shea Weber positions himself on the ice. Al Montoya tells Weber to take the shot while maintaining eye contact with Therrien. Weber shoots. They hire their rivals’ old coach. You wonder if god is real.
Nashville Predators: You meet a fan. They’re crying. “How are you?” you ask. They keep sobbing. You notice they’re wearing a Weber jersey. You understand.
New Jersey Devils: You watch a Devils game. You can’t remember the score after it. You’re only convinced that Adam Henrique is not real.
New York Islanders: John Tavares gives an interview. He’s more plain and boring than you remembered. You can’t stop watching though.
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist stops the game to have a photoshoot. The play continues. He’s not in the net. He makes a save. You don’t understand.
Ottawa Senators: “Ottawa Senators,” someone says. You have to think for a while. You remember Erik Karlsson. That’s it.
Philadelphia Flyers: No one has seen Jakub Voracek’s face in five years. His beard and hair just keep growing. No one knows how to stop the growth.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Someone accidentally says “Crosby.” In a minute, there’s someone with a peach emoji. You hear the words Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion at least once a day.
San Jose Sharks: Someone on their roster scores four times. Joe Thornton is somewhere, stroking himself. Despite the lead, Martin Jones sits on the bench with dead eyes.
St. Louis Blues: Tarasenko scores. Tarasenko scores again. You wonder if anyone else ever scores for them.
Tampa Bay Lightning: No one has seen Steven Stamkos in years. People wish for his return. No one expect nothing though.
Toronto Maple Leafs: “Matthews is better than Laine,” someone says. You keep quiet. It doesn’t matter if you agree. You’ll get attacked either way.
Vancouver Canucks: Henrik and Daniel Sedin have assisted each other in every goal they’ve scored. You don’t believe they’re two different people until you see them in person. Even after that you’re doubtful.
Washington Capitals: Ovechkin is in his spot. Everyone sees him, no one defends him. He shoots, he scores. In the distance, someone says: “Crosby is better.”
Winnipeg Jets: “Laine is better than Matthews,” someone says. You keep quiet. It doesn’t matter if you agree. You’ll get attacked either way.
the first time somebody bakes a cake especially for isak, he’s four years old. it’s half vanilla half chocolate, and the edges are burnt black. across its face is scribbled elsker deg in a trail of lumpy blue icing, and it’s- perfect.
even has it wrapped up tight in a raspberry box, bow nestled lopsided on the lid.
isak’s huddled himself up small in the corner of the hospital’s playroom, and he’s crying, knees tucked in against his chest, dimpled hands over his face. even sits down on the floor in front of him, cross-legged. squints his eyes a little around an awkward smile when isak peeks through his chubby fingers to glance at him - isak’s cheeks are even puffier than usual.
“i want my mom,” is all he says. quiet, thick voice sticky against his palms.
even scoots closer, lifts his shoulder nervously. he’s two years older than isak and even he hadn’t been allowed in isak’s mom’s hospital room - he too had been ushered into the dumb playroom with all the drooling babies.
“baked you cake,” he whispers. isak doesn’t respond, so even reaches out, strokes the curls back so, so gently from isak’s forehead. he’s seen isak’s mom do it before, when isak’s small and sleepy in her lap. “look? here.”
it takes a few moments, but when he peels the lid away, isak eventually drops his hands so that he can carry out an inspection. crosses his legs and leans in over his knees to peer inside at even’s creation.
for a moment, until he scrunches up his pink-tipped nose, and huffs, tipping his chin up defiantly when he combs out even’s gave, “wha’s it say?”
oh, even remembers, jaw dropping, isak’s not in school yet. he can’t read.
“it’s ‘kay,” he smiles. he wriggles around on the floor, shoes squeaking against the linoleum, until he’s sitting at isak’s side. as they both lean back against the wall, he takes isak’s hand softly and tugs it over.
he traces the letters slowly with isak’s fingers as he reads aloud, “elsker deg.”
isak- doesn’t smile. doesn’t laugh. but some of the hot, black ice in the bottom of his tummy melts, and he nods, and when even’s busy tearing a piece of the cake off for them to share, he leans in - and presses a kiss to his friend’s cheek.