Mis-identification Hockey Syndrome (henceforth to be called MHS) is an illness that affects the most passionate of the hockey fans. At first, it seems rational. That guy at the gym really did look like Shane O’Brien. Inevitably though, the brain begins to delude itself into believing that someone looks like a hockey player, when in fact, the two look nothing alike. MHS occurs most frequently during the offseason, and can often be relieved during the season. Unfortunately, with this year’s lockout, people suffering from MHS are only going to find themselves mistaken more frequently. I have recognized the symptoms in myself, as I have thought that Stefan Elliott was walking his dog in the same park as I, Peter Mueller was the guy biking down the Boulder Creek Path, and, most recently, that Carl Hagelin was doing yardwork shirtless on my street.
If you find yourself shocked by the sight of Patrick Kane at your grocery store, walk yourself through the following questions. They will hopefully save you from yourself.
1. Stop. Just stop. I know you were just about to run screaming towards the alleged hockey player.
2. Ask yourself “Is it feasible that [insert hockey player's name] would be here in, this city/town?” (Think about recent tweets, if they have a twitter, and your location. Are you just 30 minutes north of the city they play in? Or are you in a state that they have never lived in or played for, to the best of your knowledge? Is something exciting happening nearby that might draw a bored hockey player searching for meaning in his now empty life?)
3. Let’s say you have come up with a somewhat reasonable explanation for why that player could be in your current vicinity. Next, look at what the alleged player is doing. Is this an activity that you can see that player partaking in? (Remind yourself that it is unlikely that players have begun working in the food service industry or working in your local department stores selling shoes. At least, not yet.)
4. Now, you’ve convinced yourself that whatever this person is doing is indeed, something that the player would do. Take a closer look. While your favorite player undoubtedly goes grocery shopping, is this person purchasing the type of food a high performance athlete would eat? (Disreguard this question if you think you’ve spotted Dustin Byfuglien.) While the player most likely enjoys bike rides to keep in shape, is this person biking at the pace that a ridiculously fit person would bike at? (Disreguard this question if the person seems to be enjoying a conversational ride.) Does the player you think you’ve spotted even have a dog? (Be honest, now.)
5. Let’s say that, once again, you have responded in the affirmative to these questions. Walk calmly closer.
6. Re-examine the features that you believe belong to a hockey player. Does your initial assessment still hold up?
7. Really? He does? You’re sure?
8. Okay, if you’re sure.
9. Proceed to act as you would if this person is the alleged hockey player.
10. You only have yourself to blame for not answering these questions honestly. (Or congratulations on recognizing an actual hockey player!)
Cheers, everybody. Together, we can help those with MHS.