Question of the Week: How are you getting yourself thru the hockey offseason?

Well, we're finally moving into the summer doldrums - the truest part of the offseason's hockey desert. And just like in any other desert where people are bereft of the things that they need, like water, food, and hockey, all sorts of strange things appear in mirages and hallucinations. And the worst is yet to come with August just around the corner.

Some hockey fans may sit in a darkened room, desperately clutching a blanket for security, sucking on their thumb, and rocking themselves gently back and forth as they watch replays of past hockey games. While others, perhaps of a more pragmatic turn of mind, use other sports such as baseball and soccer as a crutch to get them by. A few abandon sports altogether and plunge themselves into things completely unrelated to hockey - like work, family, and going outside to do physical activities - for a distraction from this obscure pain that all true hockey fans feel in the summer months.

So I asked the question to my fellow writers here on Raw Charge, What are you doing - or plan on doing - to get yourself through this hockey desert on to training camp and the start of the NHL season?

Feel free to share what you're doing to get by until September. Because, remember, training camps are hockey, too. And it's just depressing to think about October when we can get our first hockey fixes with training camp. Besides, it's one month closer to ending this hockey desert!

As for me, I need to get back to combing the imagery on Google Earth for tell-tale signs of sasquatch nests in the Pacific Northwest - enjoy!

Clark Brooks (Ridiculously inconsistent trickle of consciousness)

I'm not much of a football or basketball fan so I've always considered it the natural order of things that baseball starts when hockey ends, and vice-versa (with a little overlap). So as far as sports goes, I'm more than satisfied with rooting my beloved Rays to greatness and glory.

Other non-sports diversions will include the same things I do every summer;a couple of writing projects, watching terrible movies and promising to finally read "Great Expectations" but never actually getting around to it (I've had this routine in place for a VERY long time).

Nolan Whyte (Frozen Sheets Hockey)

June was bad. June was very bad.

I found myself in a very dark place after the Lightning were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Final. Not only were the Lightning out, but I was then forced to watch the Bruins become the eventual good guys and winners of the Cup Final. I couldn't even cheer for the Canucks after a few games. They were just too obnoxious. I was practically forced into wanting the Bruins to win.

And then there was the whole riot thing, and some silent reflection about what the hell we're all doing with our lives and what this all means.

Sure, I'm still occasionally posting about the Bolts and hockey in general over at Frozen Sheets Hockey, but I've decided to take on another creative side-project for the summer months. It's a steampunk adaptation of a Dostoevsky novel, entitled "Notes From Underground and Giant Robots." It's along the lines of those "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" books-- a fresh re-interpretation of a classic. I've just been taking solace in my usual off-season interests: brutally nihilistic existential fiction, and giant robots. I guess the project was inevitable.

Although who really has time to relax, anyway? The new season is bearing down on us like a face-eating bat. This thing never really ends, does it?

Dani Toth (Lightning Hockey Blog / Benched Whale)

When you live in a rainy city like Vancouver, you take advantage of the sun when it makes its annual 2 1/2 month appearance. The 2 1/2 months fits exactly with the break of hockey season, so I haven't been missing hockey at all.

I have been taking advantage of it by taking beach days and lots of afternoons on patios.

[The following links go to photo albums and/or pictures.]

Matt Amos (Don't Trade Vinny)

How am I going to get through the hockey doldrums? Actually, I've taken on a second job as that dumbass in the gorilla suit down at the used car dealership. It's hotter than a crotch in that suit, but, scaring the bejesus out of little kids makes it worth it.  And, as it's turned out, has been just one more way to get my foot in the NHL door, as upon seeing me while shopping for cars, I've had Oren Koules, Len Barrie, Brian Lawton, and Rick Tocchet all ask me for help in getting a job with an NHL team. Crazy.

John Fontana

I'm spending my summer trying to manage these creative, passionate, and bizarre nutjobs. Do you see what I have to work with here?! I love these guys :-).