Sunday, March 7, 2010

So Far So Good

As I sit here writing while my girlfriend gives me running commentary on the Oscars (something about "vapid" and Miley Cyrus, but Kate Winslet apparently looks beautiful), I can't help but think of hockey. I know, obvious connection, right?

The big question following the Olympics was if the exciting gold medal game between Canada and the United States would cause an increase in the NHL ratings. I'm not sure the NHL can ever pull in extra numbers, but the league took a nice step forward this weekend by showing a classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. The game was a back and forth thriller that ended with Detroit winning 5-4 only after withstanding a brutal last minute Chicago assault on the net.

If you didn't find that game interesting, you either aren't a sports fan, or you drank just a bit too much wine at church. This is exactly what the NHL needs.

Half of this country doesn't understand hockey and another faction doesn't care. On the other side, there is a group of fans who want the game to stay the same as it always has complete with fights, grabbing, holding, and pile ups in the middle of the ice.

The rest of us are people that just want to see an entertaining sport which hockey can obviously be. At it's best, the sport is an ultra fast display of grace and power. There is always a chance for a score to happen, yet the goals are few enough that each score means something. There is nothing quite like the fire drill in front of a goalie's net when there is a loose puck around. The change in momentum can be swift and brutal as a scoring chance at one end can instantaneously become a fast break the other direction.

That's why it's nice to see the Red Wings and Blackhawks put on a show. If there are any post Olympic types hanging around to see some more hockey, they have a reason to stick around a bit longer.

Just make it to the playoffs, folks. Then you're in for a real treat.

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