Monday, April 07, 2008

Gratuitous Hockey Post

The NHL playoffs are set, which means I'm about to start watching hockey with some regularity. I'll be curious to see how the Senators do -- last year they soared through the playoffs, only to be methodically throttled by Randy Carlisle's Ducks at the very conclusion. Perhaps this bitter defeat, in combination with a signature year (a glorious opening season, followed by a slow erosion to indeterminate status) will generate the sort of character growth they've been missing?

The Washington Capitals are worth watching, and I'm looking forward to seeing San Jose and Anaheim play -- two teams whose games are rarely broadcast in this Toronto-centric neighborhood. Speaking of which, I was cheered to see Canada's newsweekly provide this highly amusing bit of analysis: Why The Leafs Stink: What It Takes To Build A Chronic Loser (here). It's a funny question for me to ponder, because I don't know what I'd do if the Leafs began to play winning hockey. Frankly, the current situation couldn't make me happier. The blue and white, which have dominated the airwaves with their dreary dump-n-chase play during the regular season, are completely out of the picture, thus allowing hockey fans (as opposed to Leafs' fans) to watch the game as it's meant to be played.


Trent Reimer said...

Maybe Europeans play hockey as it was meant to be played.

We've already capitulated to their centre-line-free wide open skating rules but we're still using a smaller ice surface and in the men's game, with the speed and conditioning of modern athletes, the action is bottled up and spastic.

Watching the last world junior hockey tournament from the big ice rinks of the Czech Republic was a great treat. Those boys can skate and the extra room seemed to invoke a smoother, more strategic game.

Whisky Prajer said...

I would advocate for the European rink size, too. Whenever there's an east-meets-west showdown, it's always a bit frustrating watching NHL athletes spend a few games (or occasionally the entire match-up) compensating for the startling differences. It is a faster, more strategic game to watch -- more fun so far as this particular spectator is concerned. Another difference I'm not so keen on: the European style seems chippyer. I have to admit that even Don Cherry makes some sense when he bellows in favor of straightforward confrontation.

DarkoV said...

I am in favor of the larger ice surface as well, especially if the ice surface is increased in a dramatic fashion.
Well, I'd like to see the surface changed instantaneously during a hockey game such that the odious fans slobbering in the first three rows are quickly covered by the extended playing surface, nevermore to be grtacing our tv screens with their churlish mouthing off and banging on the glass as if they were physically capable of ever addreesing their issues face-to-face with any of the players.

Whisky Prajer said...

You seem to speak as a hockey fan who's been subjected to too many New Jersey games, DV. In your case, the Mister Freeze approach might be just the thing.

DarkoV said...

Any SuperHero/Villain in a port will do.

The Flyers-Capitals series may actually be interesting. Flyers' Phans biggest worry? Sports radio was clogged with calls from the Philly Irates saying that the refs will have it in for the (basically) nameless Phlyers as the officials will be protecting Ovetchkin as much as they've protected that wonderful (but smarmy) Mr. Crosby of the Pens.

Whisky Prajer said...

That laughter you hear rolling across the 44th parallel is all mine.