Frozen Vulcan: Free At Last

Posted by Ottawa Sports Guy20 CommentsJun 17, 2009
Yay! Its Over!

Yay! It's Over!

Yes, this does feel like an obligatory post to mark the end of the NHL season. I’m sure I’m not the only who’s relieved that it’s over.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the Stanley Cup champions, Sydney Crosby gets a Cup at only 21 years of age, Evgeny Malkin has one over Alexander Ovechkin and the Detroit Red Wings are left to wonder how they let one slip away. Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

Really, that’s about as much enthusiasm as I’ve got for the NHL right now. As I’ve written before it’s not that I don’t love hockey or that the quality was bad, it’s that I don’t have any hunger left for the sport past mid-May. Hockey is one of my favourite sports and the quality of play in the 2009 playoffs were better than I can remember at any point in my life.

I think a big part of the problem for me is that the NHL in Canada has morphed into what the NFL has become in the U.S.; a 365 days a year media onslaught. You cannot watch a sportscast in Canada on any day of the year without a hockey story. Every little detail is parsed and beat to death on three dedicated sports networks.

Case in point? The Sydney Crosby handshake controversy. It wasn’t enough that the sport had just crowned a new champion, seen its poster boy lift the Cup, drawn the biggest television rating since 1973, had a dramatic ending to a 7-game series – no, the story of the day is that Sydney Crosby failed to shake hands with every member of the Red Wings.

Listen, I’ve been hard on the “Kid” in these parts, but here’s where he gets my sympathy. Overcome with joy and celebrating with teammates, not to mention being pulled every which way by mulitple media outlets simultaneously, Crosby got into the conga line a little late to shake the opposing team’s hand. He managed to get most of them, but Nicklas Lidstrom didn’t get a handshake. This is the main story of the night? Unbelievable.

So now it’s mid-June and the hockey calendar seamlessly flips over  to 2010. First we have the draft in a week or so, then free-agency July 1st (don’t worry, Sportsnet has you covered with a special NHL Free-Agency Show!). Interspersed throughout the month will be the obligatory stories of the Cup going moose hunting, golfing, going to some remote town, etc. The Ottawa talk radio guys will spend the summer evaluating the Heatley trade every single day until training camp. Phoenix will be a hot topic until the team is moved or sold. August will see the Canada Junior evaluation camp and possibly an Olympic tryout camp. Next thing you know it’s September with all the yawn excitement of pre-season, and countless news stories emanating from Toronto about how the Leafs are on the brink of winning the Cup.

It’s not hard to see why one would get hockey burnout every couple of years. And just think; because of Olympic participation in 2010, we’ll be having this conversation two weeks later next year. Hockey in July? Hell, why not. Might as well play some games if we’re going to talk about it year-round…

20 Responses to "Frozen Vulcan: Free At Last"

  1. Daddio says:

    Haha, well said.

    I too love hockey and I actually often have a game on tv at any point during the season. Doesn’t matter which team, I just have a game on. But I also loose sight when we start playing baseball ourselves. growing up, I remember the last tourneyment of the year being on the May 24 long weekend and then that was it. Baseball would then naturally take over. It’s how we grew up and that factors in for me still.

    You know, I got on Sid’s case over the hat thing a few weeks back but this is weak sauce. Why not spin it around and call Lidstrom a sore looser for getting off the ice as fast as he could because the mighty Red Wings lost. Boohoo, get off the ice, take it like men and shut your cake holes. Your dead on in my books on Sid’s case here.

    I also could not be any happier for Hossa. Someone has been carefully putting the pieces to the puzzle for a few years now and he was a supossed to play a big part but decided to defect to the other side. Good on you Hossa, good on you.

  2. Mimglow says:

    Daddio, thanks for your comments.

    I understand where you’re coming from on Hossa. It’s easy to be amused by his turn of fate, and I am.

    But I tend to feel for him rather than mock him. When you think about it, he did what we want most out of our athletes; he played for much, much less money where he thought he had the best chance to win a Cup. He should be applauded for that in this era of players who go to the highest bidder, no matter what the franchise looks like on paper.

    – Ottawa Sports Guy

  3. Daddio says:

    I do agree on you 100% with that lower salary to play with the team you most think will win idea and I commend him for doing so; it is a welcomed gesture in this day and age.

    But it was easy to see that the Pens have a strong up and comming team and when a GM is doing a good job at it and considers you in his puzzle and goes out on a limb to get you aboard, you should pause and try to look at the big picture. Which I think he did but unfortunetly for him, he failed!

    To me Detroit are the Yankees or Ego Sox, erm I mean Red Sox of hockey. If they had no cap, they would have one of the highest if not the highest payroll in hockey. I often tend to side with the smaller guys so when the Wings plucked Hossa from the Pens, who took a big gamble to try and get the final piece of their puzzle, I cannot be happy for what happened in this case. And eventhough the Pens lost last year, they were a very good team then; it was more then just on paper in this case.

    So in Hossa’s mind a possible scenerio could of been. Well if I stay here, I’m not sure we can ever get a cup. But if I join the Wings, I’m sure to be holding up the cup next season. Flawed thinking in my opinion. A full season to create the chemistry would of even made them stronger. Instead he got replaced by Satan(pas fort en?) and the Pens won the cup.

    I do still appreciate the act he did; it was pretty cool. It is also the only way we’ll get to see dynasties again. When teamates look at the locker room and think. man we have a great team here, let’s stick it a out and make it work until it no longer works.

  4. Steph D says:

    A few points on the (supposed) end of the hockey season:

    – Hossa: I don’t condemn him for opting for Detroit. It’s not like he owed Pittsburgh anything. People, he played all of TWELVE games for them in the regular season! Why is he being portrayed as disloyal, and a mercenary? How much loyalty do you build with a franchise in 12 games? If I remember right, Gretzky played 18 with St. Louis before jumping to the Rangers, and he wasn’t tarred and feathered like Hossa.

    – Crosby: Good for him to win the Cup. Bad form for not shaking everyone’s hand, but that issue should have had a shelf life of about a day, and then disappeared after a semi-apologetic statement. But at the end of Game 7, it dawned on me why I cannot stand him, or more specifically his media portrayal. The exact words when time ran out: “Sydney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins have won the Stanley Cup”. WTF? When did the Pens become a backup band? With all due respect to Sid, he barely showed up in the Finals at all (3 pts, -3, compared to the “ineffective” Hossa’s 3pts, even +/-). Why single him out? If you’re going to single a player out, Malkin deserved the credit there, not Sid. Heck, put the spotlight on Fleury if you want, or Talbot for his great game, but Sid? That was just too over the top for me. Stop cramming the poster boy down everyone’s throat!!

    Now, on to the NHL Awards, and then wall-to-wall draft coverage. Yippee. Nothing says cottage season like hockey!

  5. Daddio says:

    The facts are the Pens and Wings were two teams fighting for the cup is not the same as your Blues/ Rangers example. And we’ll probably see this current match up again in the next couple of years.

    The Blues had little potential and the Rangers had potential potential for a cup. There were no predictions out there that the Blues were favorite cup contenders. So no Gretzky was not pinned as a defector as he just changed teams that would just meet two times a year(maybe?) rather then meet in the Cup finals for a few seasons. And to note, I am not a Gretzky fan at all, never been, never will be. Hossa on the other hand decided to leave the Penguins for the Wings, an inter conference rival. Yes a rivalry that will last maybe four five seasons but that’s where we are right now.

    As for Loyalty, well it’s a mindset. I think the opposite way. Just be loyal…what’s wrong with that. But it does go both ways and it should be earned with paying your dues. A player that is blinsided by a deal…should not happen. But when do you see the big name guys being traded without them knowing? I might be wrong on this one, but hadn’t they had previous discussions about his future on the team? And they were pretty sure that they would keep him come contract time.

    The captain is also often named as being his team. Sometimes it’s the biggest star. If the Cannucks would of won the cup you most likely would of heard. Luongo and the Vancouver…Just like we’ve heard Greztky and the…Roy and the…This even extend to other sports. Are you sure that you dislike of Sid is not creeping in here?

  6. Steph D says:

    “Instead he got replaced by Satan(pas fort en?) and the Pens won the cup.”

    Actually, had Hossa stayed in Pittsburgh, I’m CONVINCED they don’t make it. They wouldn’t have had the cap room to sign or trade for some of the key role players they had on their run, guys like Guerin and Kunitz, plus no room to resign Staal long-term. That team would have had a ton of distractions, and a much more top-heavy line-up, and I sincerely doubt they would have gotten past Washington.

    Kind of ironic for Hossa: Either way he went, he wouldn’t have won the Cup.

  7. Steph D says:

    “Are you sure that you dislike of Sid is not creeping in here?”

    Oh, definitely, no question about it. But my dislike of Sid is amplified by the force-feeding by the media. I don’t like him as a player, because he whines and cries to the refs all the time. But there are other players in the past that I felt the same way about (see: Tucker, Darcy). That said, Gary’s Poster Child is grating on my nerves because his persona is overblown, and overshadows some of the other stars who are just as (or more) talented. He’s NOT the best player in the league. Heck, he isn’t even the best player on his own team! He’s ONE OF the better players in the NHL right now, and that would be fine. But to take the league’s view on it, it’s Sydney, and then everyone else.

    Not only do we have to hear “Sydney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins”, I bet it won’t be long before every league reference will be mandated to be “Sydney Crosby and the NHL”.

  8. Mimglow says:

    @Steph D

    …then you’ll just about lose your lunch when Sid the Kid is named captain of Team Canada for Vancouver 2010! 😀

    – Ottawa Sports Guy

  9. Steph D says:

    I’m already trying to prepare myself for that depressing day.

    So, if the Team Captain sets the tone for the rest of the team, it’ll be interesting to watch guys like Iginla throw a hissy fit at the ref. Sid better give him an intro course, because I don’t think he knows how.

  10. moonturko says:

    Over/Under 35% chance Crosby is names captain?

    WAY under. Not this time around at least. You got too many other leaders. Neidermeyer, Iginla to name a few.

    But when they win Gold, it might still be Crosby and Team Canada. Especially since TSN will be doing the game too.

  11. moonturko says:

    As much as I’m not a fan of Crosby, I support the fact he did nothing wrong. God forbid you celebrate winning the Stanley Cup! This is a young team, mostly made up of players never having won this thing, cut them some slack. Boo on you Detroit for crying shame. Yay on you Hossa for sticking up for Crosby.

  12. Daddio says:

    Hmm point well taken on the other additions. I think at best it’s a toss up, but I’ll give you that one…unless he signs in Pitsburgh for the amount he is willing to play for in Detroit and looks past his greed and looks at if I sign for this, we can add another key player that will brings us over the top.

    And look that the Wings without Hossa, would that have replaced his scoring and the life he brought to them to make it that far? But we are getting in alot of if’s here.

    Sid does have maturing to do and hopefully some good vets can guide him to that. I have not lost all hope on him yet. But ya, brace yourself for the Olympics! LOL

  13. Daddio says:

    How about we all meet on a patio this afternoon and discuss this matter over a few pints? Oh how I wish….

  14. Steph D says:

    I also still have faith in Crosby. Lemieux matured a bit as well throughout his career, and I think if Crosby would be able to get out of Lemieux’s shadow, he’d mature a lot more as well, but that’s a different issue.

    I’d be in, any time after 4:30. 🙂

  15. Steph D says:

    “But when they win Gold, it might still be Crosby and Team Canada. Especially since TSN will be doing the game too.”

    Ugh. I hate to even contemplate it, but you’re right. Pierre McGuire will have him on as his Perma-Monster and rave about how much more crap he has to go through than any other player in the history of sports, and how great a person he is for putting up with it almost all the time.

  16. Mimglow says:

    @moonturko

    I’ll have to go Under as well, the only flaw I see in this game is we can never verify what percentage there was he might be made captain. It’s not like Yzerman’s gonna say in his press conference “Yeah, we went with x, but Sidney had a 42.7% chance of being captain”

    As to who would be captain? I’m not sold on Iginla. Niedermayer seems kinda soft-spoken. Leadership vacuum?

    – Ottawa Sports Guy

  17. Steph D says:

    My guess for captain: Vincent LeCavalier.

    Vinny’s been a captain for a long time, led his team to a cup win, and should be a major piece of the team in 2010. That’s where I’d put my money right now.

  18. Daddio says:

    All I have to say is better TSN then CBC. Not sure about who’d I’d give the “C” to. I like the Vinnie idea but I’m not sold on it.

  19. Denis says:

    Well never fear boys about the men’s olympic team. If things start to fall apart there is always the women’s team.

    Lucky me I have my tickets for the olympics and will get to see a men’s hockey game, Men’s Qualification Playoff – QP2 from 4:30 to 7:00 on February 23 2010. I will be sure to tell you all about it. I don’t know which teams, but I will tell you about it anyway 🙂

  20. moonturko says:

    I pretty sure Brad Richards was had the C. Vinnie had when he first came up, then it was taken away. He got it back a few years ago.

    Anywho, he’s probably a good candidate. When’s the last time we’d scratch our heads to find a team Canada captain? Fuck it, give it to Luongo!! haha