There was one other option available for my NHL playoff watching pleasure, but I didn't mention it before, because it is a limited option.
At the Rec center, there are some treadmills and stationary bikes that have televisions, but the channels available are limited. NBCSN and NHL Network are unavailable, and they carry the majority of the games. However, in the first round, there are too many games for NBCSN to cover them all (NHL Network doesn't get as many because they aren't NBC owned, I think). The spillover generally falls on CNBC and sometimes MSNBC. Both of those channels are available at the Rec.
That's how I ended up on a stationary bike for about two and a half hours on Monday night, watching the Blackhawks earn a shutout against the Blues and rekindle my hope for this playoff series.
I hadn't even considered that there might be a Blackhawks game on CNBC, because last year they seemed to reserve that channel for the Ottawa series. But this year the 'Hawks are not President's Trophy winners. This year they came in third in the central, and so I guess that means they qualify for broadcast on basic cable.
Works for me.
I think it's much better for me to get on a bike and pedal off over 800 calories than to go to a bar and drink down 800 calories worth of beer - plus any snacks that my husband might convince me were necessary. Instead, we sat side by side on two stationary bikes and pedaled our way through the game.
Since we had biked to the Rec from our apartment, we ended up being a bit late and missed Toews' goal early in the first period. Which means that we had to wait until the game was nearly over before seeing a goal.
Oh, but the wait was worth it.
I was dripping sweat, wearing my Blackhawks t-shirt and booty shorts, and I did not care who stared at me when that empty net goal was scored and victory was assured. I raised both arms, clenching my hands into fists and let out an exultant, "Yes!" or two or three...
I actually liked having something to do with my nervous energy instead of twitching or standing up and swaying like I have done in bars when watching important games. Every time the 'Hawks were on a power play, I was pedaling faster, willing them to get the puck in the net. The same thing happened when they were on a penalty kill, only this time I was urging them to clear the zone.
In that final two minutes, even though I had started slowing down from the aches in my legs from more biking than I'm accustomed to, I ramped it up again as the announcers reminded the viewing audience of the last two games in the series where the Blackhawks gave up goals late in the 3rd only to have lost in overtime. I would have bit my nails to the quick if I hadn't been clutching the handlebars and pedaling, willing that empty net insurance goal to go in.
Unfortunately, there aren't any more Blackhawks games scheduled for CNBC this round - I would love to do this again, even though Tuesday was a very long and tired day...