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If you follow my twitter at all, you might possibly have noticed that I'm attempting to watch all of the Stanley Cup playoff games (or at least have them on in the background while I do other things). If you are unaware of the joy that is ice hockey (closest thing to quidditch you'll ever see on the ground, honestly, joy to watch), the NHL consists of 30 teams (31 next year) which play 82 games through the regular season. The top 16 teams (you'd have to look up about Eastern and Western Conferences and first and second wild card entries) end up in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Each playoff series consists of the teams playing a best-of-7-games format against 1 opposing team. The first round also serves as the semi-finals of the Western or Eastern Conference finals; the second round is the quarter-finals and the third round is the finals. The best team of the Eastern Conference then plays the best team of the Western conference in a best-of-7 series to determine who wins the Stanley Cup.

You may be able to tell from this that the NHL season is pretty much the most demanding (by far) of all professional sports, and the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win. And it's played on ice. At top speed. Sometimes with blood and fights and the threat of serious injury. And all the players are armed with sticks and skates (knives on their shoes. Seriously. Football - of whatever form you prefer - is incredibly wussy compared to KNIVES ON SHOES. Unless it's Australian Rules football. Which is just insane, and the referees start fights and look like butchers, and the players are part MMA fighters, part gymnasts on speed).

So. As of this afternoon, 40 games have been played in round 1. 6 teams are through to the second round, with 4 teams competing for the last 2 spots. I am a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, because they're awesome and lovely and like dogs and they're quite simply the best team out there with the best players in the world, who are also some of the nicest guys you'll find in pro sports. (Yeah, I read a hockey romance, started following the Penguins, then they won the Stanley Cup, so now I have a subscription to NHL tv and spend far too much time cheering them on.) I've watched 35 games (watching my 36th at the mo) and I use the time (surprise) to do a little crafting.

So here's my Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 blanket, which is done bar a couple of loose ends needing sewn in. (Dante's in the background, on one of the many dog beds.)
Crocheted blanket in pink and blue stripes.

Next up: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2 legwarmers. By request from my sister's mum.

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