(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
The hubby never begins watching hockey until the post-season begins. He says this is when the REAL hockey is being played. He played hockey through college and to be honest, can be a pain to watch games with, so I'm grateful we have so many TVs in the house.
Thinking back on his words, I find he's correct. While I enjoy watching hockey from pre-season in September all the way through the final game where one team hoists the Cup, I agree the level of play intensifies during the post-season.
Okay - this is NOT an earth-shaking, "Aha!" observation. I can already hear many of you mutter "DUH" as you read this, but as I'm writing this for everyone who sails into this blog (including many who are not rabid hockey friends, but non-or casual-hockey friends who support everything I attempt to do), I'll leave that observation intact and carry on.
We've already talked ad-nauseum on Twitter, Facebook and the plethora of hockey-related blogs about how well the Kings have been playing in the post-season. They've never lost two games in a row, however, so how many fans are thinking the same thing I am right now: Are the Kings hitting the wall after going balls-out for 3 rounds? Or do they have one more win in them? Since I'm being honest here, I will admit that I don't know. As much as I support them, I didn't expect them to get past the first round. I didn't expect them to roll over St. Louis in the second round as easily as they did. By the time they reached Phoenix, however, my faith was growing and they did not disappoint.
However... the same thing could be said for the Devils. After the tough battle against the Panthers, how many people (I'm not talking about rabid fans who can't fathom their favorite team ever doing anything BUT win) honestly expected them to beat the Flyers AND Rangers?
The hockey fan in me is excited to see how this plays out - can the Devils come back from 3 games down to win their third Cup (with Brodeur in net for all 3) or can the Kings pull off their first Cup victory EVER?
As they say in the news business, "Stay tuned..."
Sailing to victory...
(Photo from AHL website)
Congratulations to the Norfolk Admirals, who pretty much "sailed" to a Calder Cup victory over the Toronto Marlies in four straight games. I'm not going to talk about the controversial OT goal in Game 3 - that's also been discussed ad nauseum on the social web by greater hockey minds than I possess. I will, however, post it here for you to check out for yourself.
Special congrats go out to former Everett Silvertip Radko Gudas and former Seattle Thunderbird Scott Jackson, part of Norfolk's championship team and possessors of two of the most EPIC playoff beards EVER. And by EVER, I mean at ANY level.
(Photo from Norfolk Admirals website. Both beards are WAY bigger now)
Pedal till you puke...
As we wrap up the NHL season, we gear up for the Draft and a rite of passage for many NHL hopefuls is the dreaded Combine. From what former participants tell me, the Combine is a defacto four-letter word (pick your favorite) which sends them to hell and back in hopes of landing with a team where they can grow. Players undergo a battery of physical and psychological tests and get the opportunity to meet with representatives from all 30 NHL teams. Teams use information gathered at the Combine to help make their decisions for Draft Day. One of the tests involves a stationary bicycle, breathing tube, duct tape and a guy screaming orders the entire time. Click here for results of the Combine. (and congrats to Everett Silvertip D Ryan Murray and Seattle Thunderbirds RW Branden Troock, who took part in the Combine and did well. Click here for a Q&A the T-Birds did with Troock about his experience. Click here for a blog that Ryan Murray wrote from the Combine)
(Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray/Photo: NHL.com)
Click here for video of Neil Yakupov's (RW, Sarnia Sting) Combine tests.
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place June 22 & 23 in Pittsburgh. I'm sure NBC Sports Network and the NHL Network will split the broadcasting duties.