Last night’s NHL slate was enough to relegate Jays-Royals to “during commercials” viewing. Alexander Ovechkin is a joy to watch even in the regular season – getting to see him play in a game seven was more than I could resist. The game got off to a slow start but more than made up for it once the Caps scored in the 2nd period and the intensity ratcheted up. Every pass, every check, every battle in the corner: all of it mattered. It is sports at its best.
The result was to my liking as well. I’ve never been a fan of the Rangers, plus I believe Glen Sather lost his magic touch long ago and has been surviving by the skin of his reputation over the last few years. The drop that made my cup runneth over was his proclamation that Sean Avery was like a son to him after signing him to return to the Rangers. Gag. There’s a character barometer if I’ve ever heard one.
The other night we had Lola and Daddio over for dinner and the conversation turned to the aforementioned ladykiller. The gist of their opinion was that Avery should be run out of the league as soon as possible, that he was bad for the league, that he had no class and was a cancer on his team. I uncharacteristically held my tongue (I was enjoying watching them converse and get riled up), and although I agree with most of what they said I hope he keeps playing in the league. The man is a villain, and he is awesome at that job. I’m not arguing that he’s an asset to Rangers – quite the contrary, I think he’s proven to be a liability on every team he’s had the pleasure of soiling. Rather, I make the case that he’s an excellent villain and it is a joy to cheer against him. Last night was not different. When he got absolutely crushed into the boards late in the game, I’ll call you a liar if you didn’t experience warmth in the pit of your stomach. It’s awesome to watch bad people fail, and we all know that despite occasional success (he created the Rangers goal through dogged perseverence last night), this man is doomed to fail.
Alright, now that my guilty feel-good moment has passed, let’s move on to the remaining contests. I have yet to talk to a hockey fan today who isn’t absolutely jacked about the Penguins-Capitals series. This is a rivalry that got so hot during the regular season that some smoothing over was necessary over the All-Star weekend. The playoffs have a way of melting away any accumulated good will, and I am counting on that to happen here. In fact, I hope that in game one Malkin takes a run at Ovechkin, and Crosby jumps in, flipping the net onto them so that Semin can climg the end boards and drop an elbow on Malkin’s melon. Then the benches will clear and Mario Lemieux will climb down from his luxury box to …
Ok, that fantasy scenario degenerated into Vince-McMahon land way to quickly. Sorry about that. I’m also hoping for some great goals. With Ovechkin, Semin, Green, Crosby and Malkin playing a part, great goals should be on display throughout. There might not be another series with so much talent on the ice. I hope it goes seven games. I hope we get triple-overtime games. I hope tears of joy – and tears of devastation – are shed. Ok, I might be hyping this one a little too much, but man is it ever going to be a cracker!
In other series we have Boston vs. Carolina which will surel – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’m sorry, but unless you are a die-hard Bruins, Canes, Ducks, Red Wings, Canucks or Blackhawks fan, there really is only one series to watch this round.
I can’t wait. Caps in seven.