Sunday, May 16, 2010

The NHL's Wonderful Opportunity

Good evening to all those bored enough to want to read this. I do have for you however a wonderful and passionate soap-box rant lined up!

So last week was a bittersweet week in hockey for me. My Red Wings were eliminated by San Jose in five games. Definitly not how we all expected that series to go.
However, we were given hope born anew in a young and firey Montreal Canadiens team that refuses to quit and is reaching maximum potential at just the right time. Led by Mr. Halak, their red-hot rookie goaltender and a great young scoring talent in Mike Cammillari (Michigan grad) the Habs have all of Quebec in a frenzy and have done what many considered impossible this year, especially by an 8th seed.

First, the Habs eliminate the President's Trophy winning Washington Capitals in the first round in an exciting seven-game series. We were proud and elated to no longer have to hear endless talk to Alex Ovechkin. But then, the hated Pittsburgh Penguins stood in their way. The Penguins and their young weasel..eerrrr captain Sydney Crosby are the defending Stanley Cup champs. Surely the Habs would fall. Seven games later and with rioting in the streets of Montreal these young Canadiens had slayed the NHL marketing dragon that is Crosby and his henchmen. All of Canada (and the rest of the NHL) celebrated wildly. Take that Bettman.

They now face the upstart Flyers from Philadelphia. These Flyers were just the third team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins last week. It will still be a moral victory for hockey purity if Philly makes the finals, however that would play second fiddle to the riotous pandemonium of joy that would ensue a Canadiens finals appearance, the first since 1993. All of Canada would be going nuts, and the NHL's winningest franchise of all time would have the opportunity raise it's 25th championship banner to the rafter of the Bell Centre.

In the West, the Sharks square off against a proud member of the Original Six, the Chicago Blackhawks. The 'Hawks have made the West Finals for the second year in a row, and with a series victory could assure the NHL has either a Canadian or Original Six franchise in the finals for the sixth straight season. Despite being Detroit's in-division rival, I am really pulling for them in this series. They need to represent the West. They've already got a head start and took a 1-0 series lead this afternoon.

So here is the great opportunity for the NHL. Without it's stars it has the chance to see it's winningest franchise be the first team from Canada to win the cup since these very Canadiens won it back in 1993. It also has the chance to see another Original Six team win it's first cup since the 1960/'61 season. The Blackhawks drought is now the longest in the NHL. The drama will be exceptional and action will be intense. Will you be watching?

Goodnight and Godspeed.

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