Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stanley Cup And Tornado Warnings

The DC metro area got hit by a massive storm cell that blew down trees and cut power to our humble abode. There was even a report of a tornado that touched down somewhere in No. VA. You can imagine my frustration at 8pm eastern time when the power had not been restored and my wife and I are sweltering in a hot house. And I can't watch the Stanley Cup Finals nor record them as my HD Tivo refuses to work with out electricity. The nerve.

Lucky for you I have the Universal HD channel that replays the game at 2 am. I set the Tivo, have a cup of coffee and prepare to actually stay up and witness the game. I think I lasted until half way through the first period when the call of bed was too strong to ignore. Now I am up early watching what was recorded and the coffee maker is in overtime.

Anyway, it actually takes me until 5:30 in the morning to find out who won the Stanley Cup. Wait, almost there, :30 seconds left...

Hannah Montana! The Penguins were inches away from a tie and Chris Osgood made the save of the series with a mere 3 seconds left on the clock! Wow! The Cup returns to Hockeytown. Actually, it's been the most exciting series since the Tampa Bay and Calgary's game 7 for the Cup.

For some light reading on the game:
Detroit Free Press
Behind the Jersey
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pens Blog

Marc-Andre Fleury was spectacular. Give the Penguins some credit here, they made this series great to watch and forced a game 6 (almost a game 7) after many thought they would just get swept after not scoring a single goal in the first two games. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they just couldn't score when they wanted too, and their power play was abysmal. But Fleury's heroics in game 5 and his solid play in game 6 kept the Penguins in it.

Henrik Zetterberg is your Con Smyth winner, as well he should be. Not only did he score the game winner off a squeaker of a shot that Fleury couldn't find in his pads and ended up knocking it back into his own net, but he played the best two way game I have ever seen in a Stanley Cup final. He was all over the puck in game 6 especially in the waning moments. It seemed every time the puck needed to get out of the zone it was through Zetterberg's stick.

"It feels pretty good," Zetterberg told reporters. "It's been a long season. When we lost a few nights ago in Joe Louis, it was devastating. We found a way to battle back. It's just a great feeling."

While this is the organization's 11th Stanley Cup and the fourth ring for some players, it was Dallas Drake who won the Cup for the very first time that made me smile as the Red Wings circled the ice with Lord Stanley's prize above their heads. Drake, who has made the rounds for 16 years, had the widest smile as he skated the Cup around.

"I can't believe it," said Drake. "We've got a tremendous group of guys who want to win more than anybody I've been around. I just can't be more thankful right now."

Nick Lidstrom becomes the first European born and trained team captain to win the cup. Not that I think it's that big of a deal, he does have 15 years of experience and three previous rings all with the Red Wings.

One of the players that most impressed me was Ryan Malone. You can't deny this kid's toughness. He broke his nose twice, once when a puck hit him in the face. He was caught with his head down a couple of times by Nick Kronwall. But he got back up every time. While he will never win a Lady Byng anytime soon, he did play a tough gritty series.

I thought NBC did a great job on the broadcast as well. While I am not sure if they cut the broadcast right at 11 pm, they certainly did show a lot of the Cup carrying at the end of the game on the Universal HD broadcast.

The NHL should be very happy at the end of this Stanley Cup final. Not only are the ratings up, but the series are actually fun to watch and have been pretty exciting. The last thing the league wanted was another 5 game dominance of a season ago. Instead they got two very talented teams and an thriller of a 3 overtime game 5.

And that concludes the 2007 - 2008 campaign and summer is officially here. Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings. Next up, awards ceremony on June 12th. Will Alex Ovechkin win the Hart trophey? Can Bruce Boudreau get the Jack Adams for top coach? Guess we will find out soon.

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