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Where's the Hate?

by Chewbacca 8. June 2009 13:33

You would think that this year's Stanley Cup Finals had all the makings of a series to remember.  First rematch in decades.  The two most talented teams going head to head for a second straight year.  MVP candidates, Norris Trophy finalist, the top players in the game.  Add to it, the storyline of Hossa changing allegiance, and you should have a remarkably intense series.  But it's just not there. 

 

While games 1-4 have been hard-fought, they have been quite forgettable.  The series as a whole has been a major let down after the dogfights and battles of the first 2 rounds.  There's one thing that this series is lacking that it has no excuse for… Where's the hate?  The fans are feeling it (thanks largely to Hossa).  The media has tried to drum it up.  But when it comes to the teams, there's just nothing there.  The superstars and front offices of these two franchises have been groomed and polished to a fault, which keeps you out of trouble, but generates very little interest from a fan perspective.  When it comes to class, you just can't top Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Crosby, Bylsma, etc.  But it's just down-right boring.  Any question that gets asked in regards to the other team results in a short statement of praise for the opposition.  I can't imagine the players are actually this unemotional about this series, they've just been trained too well on how to respond.

 

So while the hockey world can be pleased with the fact that we're witnessing the best two teams in the world do battle, don't be surprised when the casual fan yawns and turns on SportsCenter to catch the latest NFL off-season rumors.  It's time for NHL stars to let down their guard and trash talk a little.  Maybe then, we'll all get a little more excited about the product on the ice.

The Osgood Rap

by Chewbacca 28. May 2009 09:16

It's time.  Time for Redwings fans and haters alike, all around the world, to find a new whipping boy.  Chris Osgood just doesn't qualify any more.  (Not that he ever should have in the first place.)  It's a rap that I never understood.  Why, for over a decade, has Osgood been classified as a 2nd-rate goalie, the weak link on a Detroit powerhouse.  He's easily the most underrated, underpaid, over-criticized player of the past 20 years.  With yet another trip to the Cup finals on his resume, even the most cynical Osgood basher has to wake up and find a new target.

 

Consider the stats: 3 Stanley Cups victories and counting.  Several All-Star appearances.  10th all time in wins.  2nd goalie ever to score a goal.  Career win-loss: 363-195.  Career GAA: 2.43.  It just doesn't get much better than this.  Ever.  And yet, he continues to be one of the lowest paid goalies in the league.  It seemed that after making the All-Star team again last season, and receiving serious consideration for the Conn Smythe after posting a 1.55 GAA in last year's Cup win, that the talk would let up.  But the haters came back again this spring.

 

After taking his team to yet another Stanley Cup Final showdown,  it's time to move on.  In fact, it's time to start building Osgood's case for the Hall of Fame.  Maybe after he's inducted, people will stop blaming him for Detroit's next 2 game losing streak.

 

So, if by some blessing from God, Detroit loses to Pittsburgh in the finals, let's hope the blame goes to Datsyuk for scoring only 1 goal, or Chris Chelios for being a cranky old jerk who can't skate and coughs up the puck every time he touches it, or the Dan Cleary, for not being European.  Just leave poor old Osgood alone this time.

Lidstrom Injustice

by Chewbacca 13. May 2009 04:38

If you grew up in the 80's, as I did, you'll no doubt remember The Wonder Years.  In this show, it seemed inevitable for years that Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper would eventually end up together.  It was obvious.  It was destined.  They belonged together.  The world just didn't seem right with the two of them apart.  But, alas, after years of heart-break, Winnie eventually moved away.  And that was it.

 

Not since this colossal struggle of emotions has there been a pair of individuals that just couldn't find each other, despite the obvious need to be together.  Until now.  Until Nicklas Lidstrom and the Hart Trophy.  Why these two haven't been able to find each other over the years just baffled me.  Befuddles me.  Bamboozles me. 

 

Lidstrom has been the most dominant defensemen of the past decade.  No competent hockey fan will dispute that fact.  He has shutdown opponents, scored consistently, and brought Stanley Cups and Presidents Trophies to a downtrodden town for over a decade.  So why, through 17 years of league domination, has this superstar never met the Hart.  Or even been nominated for it? 

 

Lidstrom will ultimately be appreciated most when he's finally gone.  I've been waiting (and yes, praying) for the collapse of the Redwings for a long, long time now.  But until Lidstrom decides to take up another hobby fulltime, it just will not happen.  If you need proof of this, or more proof that he has been robbed silly of his due prize, just look at the Detroit's record over the past 2 years when he wasn't in the lineup.  Last season, he missed a stretch in early spring, which coincidently coincided with a major losing streak for the Wings.  This season, he only missed 4 games, but again, they struggled without him.

 

In retrospect, maybe the league would like to consider a re-do on giving the hardware to Jose Theodore in 2002 or more offensively, giving it to Chris Pronger in 2000.  At the very least, can we scratch his name in the empty 2005 spot from the lockout year, just so I can go back to thinking about The Wonder Years?

Ovechkin and DC - A perfect match

by Chewbacca 5. May 2009 04:55

In a city where the most famous people are infamously self-centered and arrogant, Alex Ovechkin is a perfect match.  After scoring a huge goal to cap off a hat trick and lead his team to victory, #8 showed his true self in the post-game interview.  When the interviewer had the audacity to ask him to comment on the play of Simeon Varlamov, Mr. DC had this to say, "Yeah, he's good.  But I don't want to talk about him".  In other words (queue Toby Keith), "I wanna talk about me.  I wanna talk about I…". 

 

And this is the biggest reason why the Capitals will fall short this spring, and every spring, until he gets it.  Every lesson I've learned about what it takes to win the Stanley Cup points to the team.  Sacrifice.  Unselfishless.  No doubt, Ovechkin will continue to provide amazing highlights, and even another game winner or two.  But until he comes to understand that he is not God, and that there are one or two other players in red who had something to do with that Game 2 victory, this team will go nowhere.  Was it so hard to come up with 1 or 2 nice words to say about the rookie goalie that rescued this team from Round 1 elimination?  Or maybe he was still burning from the pain of watching his hometown fans throw the hats on the ice for Sidney Crosby's amazing hat trick goal.  Hats that they held back from him.  Many of which were Capitals hats.

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