The Final Countdown

The Lil’ Wil Wheaton Plushie Pre-Sale STARTS TODAY HERE in the HE Store. The ONLY way to make sure you get one by the holidays is to order during the pre-sale. They’re $19.95 + shipping. Buy one for you, one for a friend and one to customize with a little fez or horrible spacesuit sweater!

Wil Wheaton Plushie from HijiNKS ENSUE, Wil Wheaton Plush toy doll

Responding to this tweet from @NicaRedHead gave me the idea for this comic. You see, my friend Wil has what science doers call “Hockey Brain.” It is a horribly debilitating condition that causes one to flail about uncontrollably, run around the house screaming and gesture incomprehensibly at the television. As of right now there is no cure and no one is currently working on a cure or doing any research on the subject. Luckily for sufferers and their families, symptoms seem to subside… oh, about right now. Science doers can not explain this sudden onset total remission, because they don’t know what channel the NHL is broadcast on and chances are they probably have it deprogrammed from their cable box anyway.

COMMENTERS: Do you or someone you love suffer from Hockey Brain? Can you explain it to me? How many downs are in an inning? Is the goal master allowed to throw his ice mallet like a javelin? Wouldn’t it be easier to play on grass or concrete? Ice seems like it would be quite slippery. I wonder if the Mayor of Sports Puck called to congratulate The Le’ Kings (must be a french team) on their victory against the Othertown Differentcolors.

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  1. My boyfriend is a sports puck fan of the Blackhawks variety. So much so that after they won the Stan Bowl, the boyfriend blasted the Blackhawks' fight song from my car with the windows down for a week. Whenever he makes fun of euro footballs being slow with most of the match setting up the plays and not actually scoring many points, I remind him that he likes sport puck.

    • DAT, DA-DA DAT! DA-DA DAT! DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA… (repeat) I was at Crew in Chicago when that happened. I can die happy, knowing that I literally spilled out into the street, hugging random gay people and my straight friend who was kind enough to come along with me.

      Speaking as someone who likes both eurofutbols and sportspuck canadensis, I approve of you fine people. They, along with amerofutbols, are a particular kind of sport – the kind that involves strategy and planning. I can't watch basketball or baseball – one's too fast to see any strategery, the other is so slow that I can finish a whole beer before an innings is over. At least watching cricket I get to listen to funny accents.

      … I shouldn't be allowed to make internet comments while I'm tired.

  2. Hockey Brain is a serious condition. I had a bout of it a few years ago when the hawks won. It makes me wonder what kind of hulk like beast Wheaton would have turned into when he lost, because that is the other side of the hockey brain coin. If you dont believe me, look up the great Vancouver hockey riot of '11.

  3. Joel's dialog in this comic applies pretty much equally to everyone in LA (other than Wil).
    All of the news casts last night were essentially "It turns out Hockey is a thing!"

  4. On behalf of Los Angelinos, i just wanna say sorry in advance for any rioting we might do, you see unlike most american cultures we find a need for blood, fire and destruction after victory AS WELL as after defeat, that said this is the first time our hockey player herd has ever won a puck-ball match by getting more cold-homeruns in their ice endzone

    but again, if we riot, i'm sorry, we're crazy

  5. I may be in Houston now (only a minor-league sportspuck team. But then, when I think "Houston", "Ice Hockey" isn't what springs immediately to mind, so that's okay. That goes for Dallas (don't tell Stepto), Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose, Tampa, Miami, Nashville, Raleigh, Atlanta, and, yes, LA — any city south of the Mason-Dixon line, basically), but I lived in Detroit 1990-2008, so I got to experience several Stanley Cup wins by the Red Wings — and I understand Hockey Brain.

    I'm not really into stick-and-ball sports — I prefer auto racing (NAPCAR is a weapon of last resort only. I'm currently girding my loins for this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans, and I spend actual money to work as a course marshal and compete as a driver in races) — but hockey has sufficient quantities of speed and degree-of-difficulty (every time I've ever attempted ice skating, it was very hard on my elbows. Now try to handle a puck and not get creamed into the boards while balancing on skates) that I admire the speed and skill of the top-flight players. When you see someone like Pavel Datsyuk work the puck up toward the net, the speed, agility, and ability to put defenders off their game is art. Or the just-retired Nicklas Lindstrom, quite possibly the best all-round defenseman of the modern era — never flashy, but always where he needed to be before he needed to be there. That's art, too.

    Trying to follow it on crappy TV broadcasts is a pain. This is a case where the regional sports networks with their specialist production teams have a leg up on the national networks in terms of quality — the big boys don't do enough games to have the rhythm down.

    And then there's Wil… it was amusing as hell to watch things unfurl on Twitter last night. 🙂

  6. Stupid question; does Hockey Brain increase your susceptibility to Hockey Hair? What's the effect on Grizzled Prospector Syndrome? HOW DO ROBOTS GROW HAIR?

    • It's just a show, I should really relax.
      It's just a show, I should really relax.
      It's just a show, I should really relax.
      It's just a show, I should really relax.
      It's just a show, I should really relax.
      It's just a show, I should really relax.

  7. I was once at a local hockey game where the goalies stick flew out of his hands and got jammed in the zamboni doors. Possibly the most memorable hockey moment ever. I get Hockey Brain when the Canucks are playing,but mine subsided early, the Kings beat the Nucks, so I'm glad they won though (plus they have a higher percentage of Canadians on their team, too, so its *like* we sort of half won.)

  8. So will any of the proceeds from the plushie sales go to "Hockey Brain Research?" And before you ask, using the money to buy beer for Wil (and of course yourself, as it would be alienating to make him drink alone) to ply him to say Sports Puck related-things does qualify. I'd say even if he says something hockey-related without being coerced we'll call that "close enough."

  9. Does someone I love suffer from hockey brain? My wife is from Vancouver, so yeah. It's a mild case, though; I don't have to hear about hockey until the Canucks make the playoffs. Then it's chili and hot dogs* every night, which is a sports superstition I can get behind.

    You want to troll a hockey fan? Refer to the stick as a "club" and the puck as a "ball" and watch their head explode.

    *Though not chili dogs, for some unknown reason.

  10. It's very lonely being a Canadian, living in Canada and not having Hockey Brain. Even worse here in Edmonton where we're expected say the requisite number of Hail Gretsky's while flogging ourselves with our skates every time we miss the playoffs.

      • I would totally drink that. At least Edmonton HAS a team, do you know what it's like living east of Montreal? There's NOTHING out there, except cows, lots of cows.

            • Try living in Winnipeg and having to hear 10 + years of "Save the Jets!" "Bring Back the Jets!"…blah blah blah. Back when the Jets were leaving there were downtown marches at lunch time protesting (many of my co-workers went)…and weird grassroots fundraising that probably went into some fat cat's pocket, since it made no difference.
              When the team came back, it was "oh great, now more of this hockey crap!"

    • In the United States, the opposite is true. After the strike during the late 90's, Cable television dropped Hockey coverage entirely, and now you almost never see any sign of the sport. Maybe once in a blue moon, if you walk into an international restaurant or bar during the playoff season, you -might- see a game or two. I think they still show hockey during the Winter Olympics but only because they're obligated too. Otherwise even soccer has priority over sports puck games.

  11. I'm English so I only watch cricket. That's nearly as incomprehensible as Baseball and goes on for days.

    • Cricket is the best thing in the universe. Sure, lots of sports are great. But a cricket match lasts for 5 days! That's a lot of beer. Used to have a season ticket at Lords. I really like beer.

      • I was a member at Kent so it was a cheap bar and restaurant during matches as well. If there's a better way to waste time I've never heard of it.

  12. I've been raised as a Philadelphia Flyers fan from the cradle thanks to my dad, so I understand Wil's excitement. Hurts really badly since half the King's roster are former Flyer players we never wanted to lose. Lemon in the wound is having Ron Hextall finally get his name on the Stanley Cup as a kings coach after years of heartbreak with him as our goalie. I know when the Flyers finally do win the cup I'm going to be much the same way. There's really no explaining it to a non-sports fan, I've tried. All I can do is apologize now for future occurences of sport-tarded jackassery.

  13. I've had Hockey Brain all my life. I think it's a genetic disorder, as neither of my parents have it.
    I guess we're just mutants with the power to rage out over a sport played on ice.

  14. Mystical powers were revealed to Wheaton the day he held aloft his magic TV and said, "By the power of Stanley!"

  15. Blast Hardcheese takes the puck down the ice into the Red Zone Cuba, followed closely by Coleman Francis. He takes a shot, Laserblasting it past Eegah towards the net, but it's a glove-save by Manos and his Hand of Fate!

  16. Wil Wheaton is why the LAPD went on tactical alert following the Kings' win. Accept no other explanations. They say Johnson, the new guy, just kinda started sobbing quietly when he heard Wheaton was a Kings fan.

  17. I've suffered from hockey brain since I was 14. My cat actually recognizes the sounds of a game and leaves the house.

  18. I've been a Kings fan since '94 or so. so everything Wil did and tweeted could just as easily have been me. Except he has the jerseys and I'm too poor for that. So I was wearing my HE Doctor Is In shirt and using it's good luck charms.

    As for Sports Puck brain. You should check out these old ads.

  19. As someone from a hockey town in a hockey state I have hockey brain like crack. My GF has learned to just deal with it but movied just before the finals and I can say my current town is not good for finding a place to watch the game which sucks. Also as this seems to be important I am a Badger fan then a Admirals fan then finally a Blackhawk fan.

  20. Of course, it would be easier to play on grass or concrete. However, playing on ice is a little known tradition from original Canadian hockey, played by lumberjacks. Because it was played by lumberjacks, they would all use the most convenient tool to play hockey – their axes. This presented a problem with the playing field. Concrete couldn't be used because the axes would get damaged. As well, taking an axe to the ground was strictly forbidden by Loggerism, the lumberjack belief system. They instead settled on the natural ice found year-round in Canada, except on the July holiday weekend, when they would be too drunk to play.

  21. My team has won many Stanley Cups, but not since I've been alive (guess who…lol.) I too hope to one day be able to celebrate a la Wil. I was a Leafs fan in utero, I was born with blue & white blood, I suffer year after year and grow more & more bitter, but I will never stop bleeding blue & white. It's impossible to explain to non-sports fans, and even harder to explain why you continue to support a team that never ever wins. It just is.

    And even though I am still bitter about '93 and always will be, I was THRILLED the Kings won. It was great to see. And it was even more fun to keep returning to FB to see how Wil was coping…LOL

  22. Fools! Do you not see the hand of the trickster god Loki in this "sport" you call "hockey?" It is an unholy ritual that will call forth the frozen wastes of Jötunheimr. All will suffer as eternal winter descends upon Midgard.

  23. I'm more of a casual hockey braingineer. Lucking out that the Rangers are good and the Devils just lost. But mostly into the footballs and the futbols (and, yes, they are two different things). But hockey braining is a good thing to do. I don't even know where to start with it.

  24. I'm not a hockey fan but I understand the sports thing in general. As a result, I accept Wil Wheaton's declaration of war when he wore an LA Kings jersey at this year's Phoenix ComicCon a couple of weeks after the Kings eliminated the Phoenix Coyotes from the Western Conference Finals. Oh yes! It's war! And there will be sand! (I figure sand is the only natural resource Phoenix or LA can stand to part with.)

  25. The entire game lasts 90 minutes, which is separated into 5 quarters, each of which are 17 minutes, except for the second quarter, which is 22 minutes. The visiting team is allowed one extra player on the field in the first, second, and fifth quarters, provided that said player comes from a disadvantaged upbringing. The point of the game is to get the puck into the opponents net goal or through the face slits on the goalie's mask. Each goal is worth 1 point, except if you're skating backwards, it's worth two. Goals are also worth two points if there's less than 2-minutes left in the quarter (except the third quarter, in which case it's one minute and 47 seconds) and the goalie has had less than four beers in the last 16 hours. This is of course assuming you're playing in the U.S. Otherwise you have to use the metric system (One metric point is equal to two and a half metric pounds, which is equal to 18.555552 penny farthings which can be redeemed at all participating McDonald's locations). Violence is expected, and allowable violence includes hitting, smashing, smacking, and crunking. Prohibited violence includes hitting with malice, smashing with malice, smacking with malice, and crunking. People found guilty of these abuses (called 'fouls') will be given a time-out to think about what they've done, during which time they also have to write an apology letter to the player they hit (with malice). If the referee feels that the player is really sorry, he's allowed back into the game. And that's how you play hockey.

  26. My former brother in law was insane. He would often miss family gathering (birthdays, holidays), so he could watch hockey games on tv. Constantly cheering and screaming while he watched by himself (we could overhear), until he was hoarse. We asked him to tape games and watch them afterwards but was refused because "Then my cheers won't count!"

  27. OMG. Somewhere on the internet (probably Spoonflower) there are reams and reams of printed fabric with Wil's face on it. Some fan girl rolling around after hours in the factory on the piles and piles of imprinted cloth. It's a delicious vision.

  28. In my house its not Hockey Brain its Sports Brain and I am the one who suffers the most from it in others and the least from it in myself. As most people in the US know during Thanksgiving and Christmas there are always Football games on,… we have family over and without fail they change the channel to football,…usually while I am watching something else [I dislike football]. This time of year its Baseball, and the same thing happens,….family comes over and changes the channel to Baseball [heck it happened just the other day I had found a channel playing "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" with Zero Mostel followed by the original "The Producers" and right in the middle of Forum my Aunt come in and changes the channel without asking or anything then got mad because I changed it back but its my house not hers]. Luckily no one here is a Basketball fan or I would never get a chance to recuperate from Sports Brain issues. The only sports I will actually watch occasionally are Hockey [I will check on the score and watch a few minutes during commercial breaks or something] and The Olympics [will just flip over occasionally to see how the US is doing overall I do not really watch the Olympics].

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