Monday, June 9, 2008

2007-2008 Season Dead

It's been a couple days, I suppose I should recognize the Detroit Red Wings as Stanley Cup champions. Ok...recognized.

Now to Wild off-season speculation. For the Wild, we already know Petteri Nummelin and Branko Radivojevic are for sure gone, going overseas to play this next season. Pavol Demitra is almost certainly gone, the rumors have him going to Vancouver. Kurtis Foster will most likely miss most if not all of next season. Will Brian Rolston be back? One thing is for sure, the Wild will look a bit different in October.

Can this team keep up with the rest of the conference and finish with home ice advantage? Can they figure out a way to fend off the improving Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and make the playoffs? Will Doug Risebrough try to imitate the Red  Wings like he tried to imitate the Ducks, only to have it backfire in his face? Will the fans revolt if DR does not bring some talent in here? 

Stay's going to be interesting before the season starts. And thanks to the never ending playoffs, we have less than 4 months to wait until the puck drops again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stanley Cup Ramblings, and a Slow-Pitch Softball Side Note

This season just never ends. And now I find myself hoping the Finals go 7 games. I think I'm in the Wild Blogosphere minority when I say I hope the Pens win this series. For some reason, I really dislike the Red Wings. Perhaps it's because they always seem to beat the Wild by large margins. Maybe it's because they always win. Whatever the reason, I just hope they lose. Sorry Paul C.

I know there is a group of people out there that can't stand Sidney Crosby. Kirsten, my wife shares that dislike with you, much the way the both of you aren't Marian Gaborik's #1 fans. But to me, I'd rather see him win than the Red Wings.

I barely watched any of the 1st 2 games in Detroit. Detroit winning with the Pens not scoring didn't do anything for me. And the league muckity-mucks had to be gnashing their collective teeth at the thought of a Red Wings sweep. The "perfect series" was not drawing in any of those fringe fans the NHL so desperately wants. But, in ironic perfect timing when the coverage switched from Versus to NBC, the Pens showed up. Game 3 was alot of fun to watch. The soon-to-be melted Igloo was rocking, and the Pens were back in it. But when the Wings won game 4, I figured Detroit would win game 5 and it would be over.

Then there was game 5, an absolutely awesome hockey game. The NHL couldn't have scripted it any better. The Wings played an absolutely dominating 3rd period, scoring 2 goals in about 2:40 to take the lead, and not giving Pittsburgh a sniff. Malkin continued his Gaborik-like struggles in this series. Crosby couldn't make anything happen. But somehow, someway, the Pens put on some pressure with the goalie pulled and tied it on a rebound goal with 30 seconds to play. Joe Louis Arena was silenced. No Cup for you just yet "Hockeytown."

Then came the overtimes. Pittsburgh G Marc-Andre Fluery was stellar, and Petr Sykora won the game in the 3rd OT. Game 6 is Wednesday nite.

The league really got what it wanted last nite. About when alot of casual fans were turning on their local news or expecting Jay Leno, there was hockey. Good hockey. No TV-time out hockey. Apparently it was the highest-rated game 5 since 2002. All good for the game.

Let's hope game 6 isn't a dud.

Personal Digression
Tonight, in co-ed softball, I did something I have never done in all my roughly 18 years playing softball. I've always been a doubles and lately singles (cause I'm gettin' old) hitter, even when I was in my formative teenage years. But tonite, the softball gods nodded to me, and I hit my 1st-ever over-the-fence homerun. Not only that, it was a walk-off HR to win the game in the bottom of the 8th. Now I realize no one reading this probably cares, but for me it's a big deal. Shout out to the Booyahs for rallying in the bottom of the 7th to tie it, and for sharing a moment with me that I won't forget...because it will most likely also be my last homerun. I don't expect my Nick Punto-like philosophy at the plate to change anytime soon.