Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It Is Time To Give Some Of Your Love To Hockey

I'm serious.

I know hockey has been banished to a network that tries to sell us on bull riding and bass fishing, but as I've stated before, there really is no comparison to the NHL playoffs this time of year.

And if you haven't seen the sport much, make some time tomorrow night,
Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m. EST, 4 p.m. PST on the Versus network, to watch Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals.

You owe it to yourself. It's a classic series with superstars, storylines, sex, and a Game 7 atmosphere in Washington. Eliminate one of those attributes, my mind was elsewhere.

How is this Game 7 set up to be a classic? Let's look at the past six:

Superstars: The two biggest named players in the NHL are Sidney Crosby for Pittsburgh and Alexander Ovechkin for Washington. Both players were first overall draft picks one year apart, both players have amazing skills and both are the poster children for today's NHL:

Storylines: And here's the best part: they don't like each other much.

But enough about the hype. A league can play up the stars all year long, but if they don't perform, no one will care.

During the regular season, Ovechkin and Crosby were both top three in total points (the top point getter was Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin.)

During the six games of this series, the Penguins have scored 21 goals. Crosby has been involved with nearly half of them. The Capitals have scored 20 goals. Ovechkin has been involved with 13 of them. Both players had a hat trick in Game 2.

Unlike the NBA, however, a hockey game isn't just about the superstars. Ovechkin and Crosby are the trigger men on their respective teams, but they can't win the games by themselves. It will take a team effort to win Game 7 and these two teams have been about as evenly matched as you can get in these playoffs. All but one of the six games have been decided by one goal and three of the games have gone into overtime.

So you have two exciting, high-powered teams whose superstars hold a bit of odium towards one another playing one game for the right to move on to the conference finals. That bodes well for an exciting Game 7 and you will feel the electricity coming from the Verizon Center crowd tomorrow night.

Just give this thing called hockey a chance my good peeps. You just might enjoy it.

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