Monday, June 13, 2011

So There's This Hockey Game Tonight

I know long gaps in posting are unusual for me, and this nearly two-week gap right here has been one of the longest, but, you see, I've been busy lately. Those of you who know what I do for a living know that it's been a particularly busy time of year, I also was in Colorado last weekend for a wedding and to top all that off, I'm also planning a somewhat massive excursion out to Europe that I'll be leaving for in a little less than a month. All of this has led to a lot of exhaustion and little time to write, which I'm sure has plagued the four regular readers I've got.

Somehow, I think you've managed to survive though. And that's a relief.

That all aside, all y'all probably know that I rather like hockey. And, you see, right now there's some big stuff happening in hockey. Yeah, that whole "Stanley Cup Final" thing has been going on. And while you weren't paying attention, the Canucks and Bruins have put together a pretty fun little championship series, with wild overtime goals, growing tension, physical jousting, verbal forays and a goalie leveling a forward on a breakaway.

Seriously, what more could you want in a postseason series?

And so the reason I bring this all up for you excited individuals out there is that tonight happens to be a potentially decisive Game 6, in which the Canucks might well lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 40-year franchise history. And if they lose, all we get is a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final, which just might be the most exciting thing that happens in North American sports. Combine all this with the fact that that other Final series came to an end Sunday night, and there's just about nothing distracting all of you from the spectacle of seeing, possibly, the greatest trophy in sports awarded Monday in Boston.

So yeah, I'm pretty jazzed about all this.

Ratings and attention that has been lavished on this series to this point has been pretty good so far, but the exciting thing for us hockey fans is that with the NBA Finals over before the Stanley Cup Final, just about all the attention in the sports world will be on the hockey game in Boston tonight. This is a rare instance to be sure. In fact, it's the first time the NBA's champion has been decided before the NHL's since 2002 when the Lakers polished off a four-game sweep of the silver-clad Nets on June 12, and the Red Wings completed a five-game win over Carolina one night later in Motown.

Of course, that doesn't mean I think you're all going to have your TVs tuned to NBC (or CBC if you're north of the border) come 8 p.m. tonight, but I certainly hope you will. The NBA Finals were a tremendous series, this is true. And I followed it like any other sports fan would (and even pegged tonight's winner by some pure luck). This may be because I have some hopes that Mark Cuban -- possibly my favorite owner in professional sports -- might one day work the same turnaround with my Amazins, but I've kept up on the news with this one. Even the completely fake news.

But this time of year, hockey is my love. And not only do I expect Monday night's game to a taut, intense affair like most of this series has been (the Bruins outscoring Vancouver 12-1 in Games 3 and 4 notwithstanding), but I can promise you that with the Canucks moments away from a championship in the third period tonight, the Bruins will not be quitting like the Miami Heat did in the final moments of the fourth quarter Sunday.

So basically, what I'm saying is, now that the world has had a chance to rejoice over Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks conquering what was the pure evil of Miami and their big three, we can all sit back and focus on another amazing sporting event with two top notch teams and a great prize at stake. I often say that my favorite times of the year are fall weekends. October in particular. The answer as to why is obvious. College football on Saturdays, professional football on Sundays, and the postseason and ultimately World Series in baseball. But early to mid-June, when the NBA and NHL crown their champions, sometimes on back-to-back nights, sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

This, too, is one of those great times of the year when I'm glued to the television almost every night. And I can't wait to be glued to it tonight. There is the chance that this could be the last time I see hockey for three more months, but if that happens, at least I do get to see the spectacle of the Stanley Cup, the greatest championship trophy in all of sports bar none, being awarded.

As I've noted before, there ain't much in sports that's better than that.

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