Game seven. Stanley Cup Final. Detroit. Pittsburgh.
Tomorrow the hockey season ends.
Part of me is looking forward to this with glee. Part of me, like most season-endings, wonders how I’ll fill the void of not having hockey to watch for a while. Part of me is really, really ready for a break.
Some of that latter is driven by “the media” — as we go further into the playoffs, more and more writers chase less and less news and still need to fill those stories and columns, and it all gets so unbelievably over-analyzed and silly. Or sad. Writers burn out on the seasonÂ as well, and they take on a “can’t we just get this the hell over with?” tone that makes them sound like they don’t really like the sport. They do, they’re just worn down. Too bad they don’t see in their own attitude the players, who have to fight through a much harder, longer, more physical season and aren’t allowed the same grumpy mood.
Of course, then there are the writers who have that “this all sucks” mood year-round. Why do you folks out there read them, anyway? But that’s for later. Maybe.
Tomorrow, either Detroit or Pittsburgh takes the Cup, and the season is over. Will Detroit do the almost-impossible and win back to back? Will Pittsburgh do the even more almost-impossible and come back from 0-2 to beat the champs? You can’t script stuff like this; yet it’s real.
I no longer care who wins. Both teams deserve it. The playoffs have been some of the best damn hockey I’ve seen since I started watching hockey again after San Jose got a team. Period. I”m going to do what I’ve done most of these playoffs, and just sit back and enjoy the show. (do me a favor, those writers who hate everything about the NHL? Don’t tell them what they’re missing…)
So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the hockey. It’s been great. I expect the game tomorrow will be at least pretty good; my gut tells me no blowouts. I’d love overtime, just to give it that final edge.
And — I admit — I chose the Penguins, but I’m quietly rooting a bit for Detroit, just to see Osgood get the Conn Smythe, because he’ll deserve it, and to listen to everyone try to justify how he’s not REALLY a hall of fame goalie. I used to think that; I’m convinced. Flamboyant? No. Dramatic? no. Had rough spots? Hell, yes. But he’s running out of fingers, folks.
There’s so much that I could probably write about: the ongoing (and misplaced) whining about Bettman, the ongoing (and mostly misplaced) whining about the refs, the Phoenix problem, the Balsillie “cure”, the TV deals.
But so much of that is driven by people who seem to not actually care about the game, but only want to complain about it. There’s plenty of time during the summer to consider the challenges in the game. To me, playoffs are about the game on the ice, and that’s one reason I haven’t written muchÂ about it this year; I wanted to step back, sit down, relax in front of the TV and just watch hockey.
You know what? it was pretty damn good hockey. Too bad the people so busy talking about anything but hockey missed it.
So drop the puck, and may the best team win, and may their best players lead them to victory.
That’s what matters. And that’s why I’m a hockey fan. Tomorrow’s game sums it all up in one neat 60 minute (or more) package.
I can’t wait.