Miralces on Ice?
Its a shame no one watches much hockey anymore. Well, besides the die hard hockey fans anyway. Its a a shame the talk of one NBA player not even involved with the NBA finals takes over all the spotlight. Granted Barry Melorse does get his 5 minutes every one-two hour sports center to discuss hockey. But is the average sports fan really missing out on? Ever since the NHL lockout a few years ago hockey has majorly dropped off the map in competing with the NBA, NFL, and MLB for the top sports market. The NFL has been done for months, and I still hear more about it than hockey. Not just hockey in general, but the exciting playoffs that have been going on in the NHL. How is this for exciting. In the west you have 1 vs. 2 to decide who goes to the Stanley Cup Finals to face either the 7th 8th seed from the east. Yes that's right. The number 7 seed Philadelphia Flyers and number 8 seed Montreal Canadians are the two teams that have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals this year. How many people predicted the emergence of a 7 and 8 seed to meet in the playoffs? My grandma could have told me that the Lakers and Celtics would still be around at this point in the NBA finals. OK but wait it gets better. You might have to check me on this, but in the NBA playoffs, ever since going to the best of 7 format, when a team is down 0-3 in the series I believe the record of the team with no wins coming back 0-183. That sounds about right. The Philadelphia Flyers climbed out of 0-3 hole to defeat the Boston Bruins to get the Eastern Conference Finals. And here's an added bonus, Philly came back from a 3-0 deficit in the game itself to beat the Bruins 4-3 in the game as well as the series. That on its own is amazing. Nut here is something else to think about why these two teams actually deserve to be here. The average sports fan can name you two hockey players in the whole NHL. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. You may remember Crosby from the last Winter Olympics, when he scored the game winning goal for Canada to win the gold medal. Ovechkin's Russian team was a favorite to get to the medal round but suffered some early defeats. His Washing Capitals on the other hand finished first in the Eastern Conference and earned a draw against the 8 seeded Montreal Canadians who just limped into the playoffs. All of a sudden though, the Canadians had a hot goaltender and the Capitals were victim of one of the greatest upsets of the year.The Montreal Candi ens advanced in 7 games against the Capitals to take on Sid the kid and the Pittsburgh Penguins. After the Penguins took an early lead in the series, the Canadians battled back and won the series in 7 games. Two Cinderellas now make it the frozen four of the NHL finals. It sure has been an exciting ride there for both teams, and as for die hard hockey fans, it may not be the sexiest match up you could hope for, but it definitely does bring positive attention to the sport. At least in hockey the lead story isn't weather or not the MVP is leaving his hometown or not. Or the lead story isn't congress getting involved with a steroid abuse. Or the lead story isn't about one of its best players going to a college bar and allegedly raping an under aged girl. No, the NHL has managed to stay clean in those areas. Sadly though, that could be why it isn't as televised, or doesn't get as much news as the other major sports. But to be honest, who really has the vs. channel, or better yet knows what channel it is? Personally, I'd love to see hockey get back in the spotlight. Think about this sports fans, it is continuous game play so you have limited commercial interruption. Its fast paced so there is always something going on. And another thing, fights can break out in the middle of the ice....and they won't be broken up until one players falls to the ice! How great is that? Hopefully the emergence of some unfamiliar faces shines some more positive on the NHL. There are some great story lines to follow as the Stanley Cup Conference Finals start up. Two surprise teams out of nowhere, and two dominant powers in the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. Maybe hockey will get back to a point where the average sports fan will tune in to watch some games. Or at least to take a break from the drama going on in every other sports market today.