Touch the Cup

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Up The Pucks asked a good question on twitter today:

Our question of the day: Should fans touch the Stanley Cup or does the “don’t touch it until you win it” rule/superstition apply to fans?

Here was my answer:

Touch it. Hug it. Spend some time with it. Don’t hoist it over your head and skate a lap with it.

Let me expand on that a bit.  I will never win a Stanley Cup.  The closest I will come is that the money I spend on tickets, merch, and being a fan in general allows the team to spend money on players who will hopefully win the Stanley Cup.  My skill, talent and dedication for all my years on this earth have not gone into hockey, they have gone into other endeavors.  I am a balding ex-smoker who works in theater, is out of shape, plays rec hockey, and will never win a Stanley Cup.  The team I pull for has, and that’s good enough for me.

The Cup is not kept in a glass case when it’s on tour (the original is, but that’s a little different).  It isn’t in a Pope-mobile.  It’s there for you to touch it.  If you don’t want to, don’t.  If you do, go for it. If anyone gives you crap for it, tell them to get lost.  This is your time with the Cup.

And if you have never been around it, or if your team won it for the first time, you don’t have to act all cool like you have been there before.  You haven’t.  Feel free to freak the F’ing H out.  Chances are, the people around you acting all cool are doing so inside as well.  Being cool is highly overrated.

(yes, I took that photo)

Good Timing for a Small Cup Finals

The NHL is starring down the possibility of a Stanley Cup final with some uninspiring names, and people seem to think that the league is sweating bullets over the possible ratings. And I don’t see a reason why.

The NHL already has a broadcast contract with NBC for the next few years. It’s the best deal with the most attention they could get (I haven’t heard a single complaint about hockey not being on ESPN this offseason). Had the league gone with the World Wide Leader, would you have seen as much of the first round as you have? No way.  There isn’t the room for the kind of attention NBC has paid the NHL.

If the league actually were sweating the ratings, I would be concerned. Why worry about things you can’t change? Instead, the best teams playing in the finals is all the league should want. One that’s free of stretchers and controversies, one that showcases talent and speed, and one that writers a new storyline, something that isn’t a repeat of the old ones.

Imagine the other side: the league gets to showcase teams that don’t get as much attention, perhaps helping build a fan base for them. How much of a boost did winning a Cup give to Carolina? Now how much would a Cup win help the Coyotes? Or the Predators? Or the Blues?  The national attention teams like Nashville and even Florida are getting are only going to help make the league healthier.

If I were the league, I wouldn’t worry about the ratings at all, and look forward to whatever comes their way. The timing couldn’t be better.

Bettman Snubs the Penguins (Revised for More Accuracy)

Last night, I knew there was something missing in the presentation of the Stanley Cup. Traditionally, Gary Bettman congratulates the losing team for a great playoff run, but not last night. The most Bettman said was “It takes two great teams to compete for this marvelous trophy.” Then he moved on to the Red Wings, not mentioning the Penguins by name. And on their home ice, no less.

Mr. Bettman loves to act out in subtile ways on his feelings, so you have to wonder if this was a passive aggressive way at taking a shot at Pittsburgh. To not even congratulate the team when their fans are staying around for the opposing team to skate with the Cup is pretty crude. Even if he just forgot, that’s a pretty big snub.

You can find the video of the post game presentation here. I am not embedding it, for obvious reasons.

Edit:Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski has by back here, because he informs me that the Penguins were given props in post game celebration, before the Conn Smythe trophy was handed out.  If I recall correctly, that isn’t the place he normally does it.  The sequence in the past was Smythe, congrats losers, Cup presentation.  I still think it’s a snub, but it isn’t as egregious as I thought.  I stand corrected though.

Stanley Cup: Bummer

First off, congratulation to the Detroit Red Wings. After winning the Presidents Trophy enough times, they have certainly earned it. They fought hard, played well, and all that.

After that—–

Crap.

Look, I don’t care what the Red Wings fans think about my choice of teams, and I do not care what the classless fans have to say. There are some decent people who are Red Wings fans, and I welcome their input, but after that, I do not care. It’s the jerks that get all the airtime, and they should find a venue that let’s them be jerks as much as they feel like. Start a blog, I did.

I am finding out something about myself in this moment. It isn’t so much the players, and it isn’t even the uniform, that I hate to see win the Cup. They actually earned it. It’s the fans who act like jackasses I hate to see get to bask in it’s glory. They behave like they were on the ice, and they use the term “we” way too often. I don’t think that bad behavior should be rewarded, and too often, it is. Fans who waive their fingers in other fans faces deserve to have them bitten off.

I would remind the Red Wings fans that they hold a very classy individual, Steve Yzerman, in a very high regard, they should emulate him. Don’t act like a jerk. Parity means nothing is forever.

As for the game itself, the Penguins, as much as they own the victory of Game 5, they own the defeat of Game 6. They were owned much of the third period, Fleury knocked in the game winning goal with his own ass, and the chances the Pens had were never used.

For the wings. Osgood stole a goal from Gary Roberts, who played 7:14 and had one of the best scoring chances of the game.

That’s it, the season is over. The cup is handed out, and nothing is going to be the same starting tomorrow. The Wings team that won, the Penguins team that lost, none of the 30 teams are going to be the same. As of this moment, thirty teams are in the mix.

Go.

Oh, What a Night.

Game 5 just ended, and I am so tired. I have to be up at 5:15 AM, so I have little to say.

The Stanley Cup Finals are still on. That makes me happy.

Pens Crap the Bed: SCF Game 4

Man, what a crap ass game of hockey, FOR THE PENGUINS!!!!

I’m mired in the postgame coverage on ESPNews (seriously, they have hockey coverage, must mean there’s no NBA tonight), and these coach interviews remind me of why I don’t want to be a “professional” sportswriter. Actually, listening to the post game interviews by Crosby and Fleury after game 3 really drove it home. Crosby may be billed the most exciting player in the NHL (or at least shoved down our throats as the most exciting), but he could put you to sleep in the postgame. BORING!!!

Speaking of Fleury, he looked like ass all night. He could make initial saves, but even saves that were directly in his glove seemed to magically bounce out into danger zones. I really think he should have had both of the goals the Wings scored, and he had a one second delay every time he came out to play the puck. Mostly, he looked unfocused, and that affected the game greatly.

Not that he was the reason for the loss, but he certainly was one of the reasons. Let’s list the others, shall we?

Malkin can’t score. The only thing he put in the net was himself. I think he had a few good chances, but chances don’t win cups.

If you can’t score on a 5 on 3, that’s one thing. But the Penguins couldn’t even gain the zone, and the last minute was ridiculous.

Crosby was the only one with any energy in the third. He was the only one chasing the puck, and the only one trying to work outside his little bubble. I don’t give Sidney props much, but he deserves some credit.

In the third, the Penguins weren’t taking any chances on defense, and not only gave up one zone, they were giving the Wings the entire damn rink. I can’t think of a time in the third (or the rest of the game, come to think of it) that a defenseman pinched in the offensive zone. If you are down by one, take a chance once in a while.

Hossa was certainly the best player the Penguins had tonight, but he wasn’t enough, and shouldn’t have to be. There should be enough talent around him to make a difference. Remember earlier in the year when Hossa was the dog of the league? The man was doing everything tonight. In fact, he did the only thing.

You will notice that I am saying nothing of the Wings. That’s right. I’ll leave it at that.

I spent the night online at the live blog of Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski, It was a great time, with plenty of the funny. See you there for game 5.