Wednesday, June 04, 2008

He shoots, he scores

I fell asleep halfway through the third overtime period Monday night so didn't get to see Pittsburgh's miraculous bid to stay in the Stanley Cup finals for another game. Husband and I have been following the finals, as is mandatory under Canadian law in order to keep one's citizenship.

Normally I follow the playoffs until Montreal is eliminated and then tune out until the finals - if I'm even interested in watching the finals. Too many teams from too many non-hockey towns in the NHL to really hold my interest any more. However, this year we've been following the finals with a bit more of an emotional investment because for the past few years we've been rooting for Sidney Crosby, the "local" boy (from next-door Nova Scotia) who's such a wunderkind that he is, at 20, the youngest captain to ever lead an NHL team into a Stanley Cup final series. (Indeed, when he became Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins in May, he was the youngest captain of an NHL team in history, period.)

Hmm. Yes. Youngest. A young captain (his nickname is "Sid the Kid") of a very young team, poor Sidney has been struggling to rally his team to efficiency almost as hard as he's been trying to grow a post-season beard. Both have been largely unsuccessful efforts. Detroit's vastly superior experience has them literally skating circles around Pittsburgh, which is why the former led the series 3 games to 1 going into game 5 Monday night, and why the latter just barely managed to hang on by the skin of their teeth by breaking a 3-3 tie in the third overtime period.

One of the things that astonishes me about watching hockey on TV is the closed-captioning. Yes, live hockey is close-captioned, God Bless the CBC, and how the captioners keep up with the machine-gun delivery of the play-by-play I will never know, but much of the time, they do it. Good thing, too, as the ambient crowd noise in the background means that I understand almost nothing of what is said and rely on the captioning to follow the action.

"Much of the time", I said... however, there are moments when the sheer rapidity of events and commentary overwhelm even these talented captioners, and I see this - the visual equivalent of just plain throwing up of the hands in defeat.


(hoping tonight's game doesn't go until 2 a.m. local time...)



Blogger Mike said...

I gave up on hockey in the early 90s, after Montreal won the cup and promptly disbanded their team to the four -- or is it 8 now? -- corners of the earth. As you say, too many teams in too many non-hockey towns. Hockey needs a Premiere League like the English have for football, where only the top teams compete against each other each year and the others skate around bumping into each other and hoping to qualify to take the place of the weak links the next season.

Of course, that's sort of what they do with their regular season, isn't it? Prepare for the endless playoffs.

5:54 a.m.  
Blogger Kimberly said...

We couldn't make it through Monday's game, either. But as my guy is a Michigander, we're pretty pleased with Lord Stanley's Cup going to the Red Wings. The announcers' continuous Crosby-worship was getting hard to swallow, though.

It was a great NHL season and this was one of the more exciting Stanley Cup championships I remember in a long while.

8:40 a.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

I made it to the third overtime Tuesday morning....and suffered for it all day long. I had to take a nap after work so that I could sleep peacefully when I went to bed that night.

Crosby reminds me of another young....and one point....Canadian that was also a very young team Captain; our own Steve Yzerman. I think that we can expect to see lots of great hockey played by Crosby...and the the coming years. They learned a valuable lesson in games 1 and 2 about what it means to play championship quality hockey. [as opposed to ice dancing or whatever it was it looked like they came to do in those games...]

That being said, it is great to have Lord Stanley's Cup back in Hockeytown!

This time around, we have the first player from New Brunswick to be on a Cup winning team. We have the first European captain of a Cup winning team. We have the first European majority Cup winning team.

And we have Darren McCarty hoisting the cup again!!

And I made it to bed at a reasonable hour!

Kudos to the Penguins fans that had the class to watch and cheer while our winged wheelers celebrated in Pittsburgh. Not many folks get to watch such a celebration in person. Unlike other sports where microphones are shoved in the faces of the atheletes to get their thoughts, hockey has such a unique tradition of players simply hoisting the trophy overhead and letting all of the joy they feel flow straight out of their faces. It works so much better than mere words.


11:30 a.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Mike - a Premiere League! Now that's a good idea. Can we start with The Original Six?

Kimberly - You're right, best series in ages. I don't know if you watched it on CBC or NBC; I didn't find the CBC announcers fawning too much over Sidney during play but there was some gushing between periods. Of course, Don Cherry balances that by giving the boy grief at every opportunity :)

Dann - I thought of you while watching the last game but I didn't know if you were a hockey fan or not. Perhaps a Michigander who's not a hockey fan is like a Canadian who's not a hockey fan - a mythological creature only. I'm more than happy to see Detroit take the cup back; there's no doubt they deserved it. I'm glad Pittsburgh gave them the props they deserved as well. And yes, if there's one thing we all agree on, it's that Sidney Crosby - widely touted to be the next Wayne Gretzky - has more Stanley Cup playoffs in his future.

10:38 a.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

Hi Ronnie,

Being a hockey fan is integral to being a Michigander. For Michiganians.....not so much. I'm not sure that Canadians have an equivalent cousin to the 'Michiganians'.


11:04 a.m.  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home