Albany Writer David Levine Celebrates Hockey Season with the Levine Cup (The Final Word Opinion Column)

Pick ’em: Some family members, it turns out, are immune to playoff fever

My family of origin is a hockey family. My family now, not so much. That’s all the backstory you need as my wife Kimberly, daughter Grace, and I fill out our 2013 NHL playoff brackets, the winner of which snags the coveted Levine Cup. This year’s proceedings undoubtedly will resemble previous years’; something like…

Me: All right, girls, Uncle Bill sent the bracket. Time to make your picks.

Grace: Who’s the best team?

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Me: Well, that’s what we’re trying to guess, honey. That’s the fun. Let’s start with this matchup, Rangers-Flyers.

Kimberly: The Rangers are Daddy’s team, right honey?

Me: Let’s go Rangers!

Grace: I want the Flyers.

Kimberly: She’s just being contrary. I’ll take New York.

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Me: Thanks. Me, too. Next, Penguins-Capitals.

Grace: What color are their outfits?

Me: Uniforms, honey, not outfits.

Kimberly: I’ll take the Capitals. They’re in, uh, Chicago, right?

Me: No, Washington, but good effort. Okay, Sabres-Lightning.

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Grace: I’m scared of lightning.

Kimberly: Oh, the Sabres are Uncle Rob’s team. I hope he wins this year.

Me: What? You hope he wins? You should hope you win.

Kimberly: But he’s had such a tough year, his bad back and all.

Me: Never mind. Moving on. Bruins-’Canes.

Kimberly: Grace, the Bruins are Uncle Bill’s team.

Grace: What color are their outfits?

Kimberly: Who are the ’Canes?

Me: Uniforms! Not outfits, uniforms! And they’re the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kimberly: South Carolina has a hockey team?

Me: [sigh] It’s North Carolina, but just pick the Bruins. Okay, let’s do the Flames-Stars.

Grace: Who’s better?

Me: Honey, I told you, that’s what… [sigh] The Stars. They’re definitely better.

Grace: I’ll take the Flames.

Kimberly: Which one has Gretzky?

Me: Well, he retired, like, 15 years ago. So neither.

Grace: Can I watch TV?

Me: No, we have to get these to Uncle Bill by noon today. Preds-Jackets?

Kimberly and Grace: [empty stares]

Me: Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets.

Grace: Aunt Stacey lives in Nashville. I want them.

Kimberly: Columbus has a hockey team? Who knew?

Me: [testily] I knew. My brothers knew.

Kimberly: Why do you always get so angry about this?

Grace: Can I watch TV now?

Me: [angrily] I’m not angry. It’s just — we’ve been doing the Levine Cup for years, and the winners are always… you people! Grace has won. The nieces win. My mother won, for God’s sake. The past three winners have played exactly zero hockey games in their entire lives. My brothers and I have played hockey for a combined zillion years, and we never win.

Kimberly: [soothingly] I’m sorry, honey. We understand. I’m sure this will be your year. Tell us who’s next?

Me: Okay. Sorry. Next is the L.A. Kings-San Jose Sharks.

Grace: Los Angeles? That’s where One Direction lives! I want Los Angeles!

Kimberly: There’s a hockey team in San Jose? What color are their outfits?

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