Monday, June 19, 2006

Gratuitous Hockey Post

The final 'Canes goal came as a relief, if only because I didn't want to stay up much longer. I was also a torn man: I should have been cheering for the Canadian team, but I wasn't. My daughters and my wife were, my friends and family in Edmonton were, but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. I've cheered Edmonton in the past, but this year my heart just wasn't there. Carolina deserved the win, despite the fact that Carolinians didn't know what ice was until a carpetbagger from New York dropped a cube of it into their mint julip. Congratulations, Carolinian tax-payers! Enjoy the envy of Canadians (just about) everywhere!


DarkoV said...

I was cheering the Oilers on mightily, even though, talent-wise, they wer on the wrong side of the ledger. If there was Justice and Fate, they would have won. Look at the teams they had to get through to get ot the Finals!?!?
Carolina winning is a dangerous trend. That's the second team in a row below the Mason-Dixon line that's parading around with the Cup. Thankfully, most of the 'Canes live up North so the one day each team member is allowed to be with the Cup will most probably be done where it's a bit chillier, even in the summer. I lived in North Carolina for abuot 3 years and most of my memories are not pleasant, so it was a twist of the knife to see the 'Canes win the thing.
Yeah, there's a whole bunch of ex-Flyers on the team, but that still isn't enough reason for me to feel good about it.
..and though I think Carolina barbecue is the best in the land (yes, even better than Tennessee's or Texas'), the thought of Mebane's best hog 'cue being put into Lord Stanley's Cup as a symbol of the melding of North (that being Canada) and South (that being...well you put in your own take) is too much for this hockey fan.

There should be govt. sponsored lotteries in Alberta and BC to raise funds to get better players! I'm leaving out Ontario as I wouldn't want any more money to be siphoned off to the Maples Leafs; may Toronto move to Georgia and deal with their fame down there.

Trent Reimer said...

DV - that's one of the best propositions I've ever heard for the Leafs.

WP - I like Carolina too, an Erik Cole fan as well, but was cheering the underdog Oilers on this one. At this point I'm pretty sure everyone in Edmonton understands they need to line up and kiss Pronger on the lips.

Speaking of which I couldn't help thinking by game 4 he must miss Al MacInnis on the power play. Especially watching those big hearted 'Canes shutting down all the shooting lanes with their fearless blocking.

As your prototypical 40 year old who can fire slapshots over 100 miles and hour with a wooden stick and a collapsed lung, Al had a solution for shot blockers. If you wanted to be a hero he would make sure you got that opportunity. Generally when the puck goes back to the point the defense want to see at least one forward go in and screen the netminder. But if things got thick out there Al would give his boys a split second to jump out of the way and then BOOM! 100+ MPH shots headed for the first taker. Toward the end of his career he didn't just hobble guys, he took some right out of the lineup.

Of course most players can't look another man in the eye and do that and I couldn't either. But it is exactly why I hate shot blocking. All you're really doing is testing the mercy of your opponent. Al took the logical route. If everyone with a decent slapshot followed his example it would only take one team losing 50% of its line-up before we could kiss this spurious aspect of the modern game good-bye.

Trent Reimer said...

P.S. - I think the number one obstacle for Canadian teams is the pressure. Edmonton had incredibly tight body language the first period.

The same holds true in international hockey.

As fans, we're rabid, psycho and unreasonably arrogant. There's no need to go to a game and hold up a "Hockey is Canada's Game" sign in front of the camera. What does that say to your Finnish goal-tender or your American defenseman?

Whisky Prajer said...

DV - any time a play-by-play man's opening words are, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and let me just tell you that the ice conditions for tonight's game are excellent" you just know humanity has exerted entirely too much will over the elements. I think a hockey tournament in June is wrong by any standard, but a tournament in Carolina in June is way beyond the pale of reasonable human conduct. When I try to account for my choosing the 'Canes over the Oilers, the best I could come up with was: 1) both teams have nearly the same number of Canadian citizens playing for them; 2) Carolina's Brind'amour has to be just about the ugliest hockey player in the league, while Oiler coach McTavish has aged far too well to be trusted; 3) a lingering peevishness toward Edmonton for spoiling Winnipeg's fun again and again during the Sather/Pocklington empire. I doubt you can get more irrational than I got in the last few weeks of the Stanley Cup.

TR - re: "the Pronger reward", I couldn't agree more. And the sooner Alberta roughnecks line up and get it over with, the better for us all.

DarkoV said...

"Carolina's Brind'amour has to be just about the ugliest hockey player in the league..".
Well, since we're talking about manliness, an indication of what & how a "good looking guy" is defined in the Philly area...Mr. Brind'amour was considered quite the looker when he played here. I'm not sure if he really was or his looks simply deteriorated when he was traded to the 'Canes. Maybe it was jsut all that tobacco air floating around down there. He sort of looks like someone who's been smoking by the packful.

Re. your comment on one Mr. McTavish? I think my spouse concurred with her remark that "he (McTavish) could not have played hockey; he has way too much intact, including his good looks."

Me being more in the Brind'Amour end of things could only nod and shield my face.

Trent Reimer said...

One thing that became clear toward the last couple rounds of the play-offs; skating is once again claiming supremecy in the NHL. The old guard of clutching defensive players will have to be set to pasture over the next couple seasons. My prediction: (hold me to it) in about a decade we will see a much faster crop of North American players heading toward the pro ranks, many competitive with their European counterparts. Europeans will still hold a modest edge in puck control skills and North American players will still hold a modest edge in ruggedness, both due to the differences in arena size and the types of "football" played in the respective countries.

The possibility of achieving a significant advantage through the use of performance enhancing drugs also becomes much, much greater with the emphasis on skating. Look for team USA to easily dominate in 2010 or 2014.

Whisky Prajer said...

DV - hard to believe McTavish was so chippy, isn't it? By rights, he ought to look like Boom-Boom Jeffrion.

TR - good projections, all. I'm curious to see how drugs play themselves in this sport. I wonder if it's only a matter of time before we don't get our knickers twisted the way baseball folks have theirs over Bonds.