Archive for March, 2012

I started this site with purpose behind it.  When it began I had lots of down time and plenty of opportunity to write.  I guess I jinxed myself – for the better though.  Life happened and writing has  taken a bit of a back seat.  It’s literally only about once a month that I find myself in a situation where I can do a full write-up so I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas of how to do it more.  The easiest solution is to do more of a rambling type format.

I’m hoping that if I throw down a few key thoughts that I want to write about, it will keep things on here fresh and plus give me more fodder to delve into more details on each one.  So, I’m going to try it.  Things will probably remain predominantly hockey oriented, but with racing season upon us I may stray slightly in that direction throughout the summer.  With that said, it’s the best time of the season for hockey…

  • Well, the Silvertips did it.  They managed to make the playoffs for the ninth straight year and keep their post-season streak since the team’s inception going.  Much like last year it went down to the wire as to whether or not they were going to pull it off.  Unlike last year, however, it was under somewhat different circumstances.

Last year, the Tips had their stake in the playoffs pretty well set before they went on a big slide down the standings.  Essentially they “back doored” their way in as they found just about every way possible to lose games in the last few weeks of the season.  This time around they were the opposite.  In the midst of a rebuilding year the team found its way and began winning consistently to earn a birth in what some people consider to be the “second season”.

Previously, I wrote a post about the growing pains of a rebuilding organization and how you can never be too sure how long the process really is.  It could take just a couple of months for the players to find themselves as a team, or it could take a couple of seasons in more of a worst case scenario.  The gist of my sentiment from that write-up is you can’t be too down about lack of performance from a young team because you never know when they will turn the proverbial corner.  I think it’s safe to say this team has rounded that corner.  It’s now up to them in the playoffs to see how far beyond that corner they are.

  • My NHL debut – Phoenix at Vancouver, March 14, 2012.  There are no words to describe how absolutely incredible the entire experience was.  To finally witness in person the absolute beauty of the professional game was magnificent.  There is no way to pick a favorite moment or aspect of the event, but there were key elements that can go a long way in piecing together what is essentially a blur of emotions from that night of a lifetime.

There’s the building; the atmosphere that encompassed the entire barn.  From the presentation of pre-game and intermissions to seeing all of the banners hanging from the rafters to the crowd throughout the game – it was all fairly overwhelming.  It was so cool to look down on the ice and know that within recent years there has been everything from World Junior and Olympic gold medal games to last June’s Stanley Cup Finals game 7 played out on that sheet.

The fans were great as well.  But what else do you expect from a game in Canada?  From the pre-game warm –ups to the final horn despite a loss, the fans never gave up.  For how patriotic we Americans claim to be, I have never heard an entire venue belt out its nation’s anthem with such emotion as I did that night with “Oh, Canada”.

Then there’s the game itself.  As to be expected, the number one thing noticed was the speed.  I knew that was going to be at the top of the list in this category having at least seen a pre-season game before, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing.  Not just the physical speed of the guys skating, either.  The mental speed and how far ahead the players are thinking on every single play.  I have seen hundreds of hockey games (all but a dozen or so of them Junior and rec league) and yet it was as if I was attending a game for the first time.  The skillsets the NHLers possess are beyond mind boggling.

  • Canuck fans are great.  I just stated that a couple of paragraphs ago.  However, some of them are out of their minds.  Listening to Vancouver radio for a massive chunk of the past 24+ hours has been rather hard at times to be completely honest.  A good number of Canuck fans think that Duncan Keith should be the new face on the military’s ace of spades for his elbow to the head of Daniel Sedin last night.  My thoughts:

Keith was responding to Sedin’s very questionable hit earlier in the game.  Sedin roughed up Keith along the boards on what could fall under the definition of a dirty play.  So, in response Keith knew he was going to go after Sedin.  While he intended to elbow Daniel around his head, I don’t believe he intended to cause significant injury to Daniel.  That said, he still intended to lead with his elbow to the head area.

Where it stands now is that Keith is waiting to hear of his fate in terms of suspension and Sedin is back home nursing what is widely figured to be a concussion (and also awaiting possible disciplinary fate of his own for his hit).  In no way at all is it condonable what Duncan Keith did.  However, you can’t blame him for responding to a questionable hit that he received.  Whether it’s a hard slap shot to the shin guards or a heavy, clean check into the boards – retaliation is a part of every hockey game that’s played on any rink in any building on any given night.  However, some forms of retaliation go beyond what anyone can consider acceptable and Keith’s hit was one of those.