Emotions as erratic…

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Emotions as erratic…

Lord Stanley's Cup

...as a  Nicklas Lidstrom wrist shot careening off the lively endboards of Joe Louis Arena when I think about, not just the Detroit Red Wings, but the greatest trophy in all of professional sports.

It's one the once mighty "original six" Wings went from 1955 to 1997 without winning although they'd won it four times in six seasons when I lived in the Detroit area in the early '50s.

(Ah! there, Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuck!)

What is unique about the Stanley Cup is that, while it dates to 1892 and is there­fore the oldest of all the team cham­pionship awards, it only remains with the National Hockey League playoff winning team for as long as it remains champion.

The 2010-11 winning Boston Bruins, having been eliminated in this year's first round by the Washington Capitals, the Cup is now in the custody of a Trustee whose duty is to make sure it is in the the arena of any potentially deciding game of the finals so that it can be handed to the Captain of the winning team.

The finals for the rights to Lord Stanley of Preston's "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup" begins tomorrow evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, home of the New Jersey Devils, the sixth seed in the NHL's Eastern Conference.

The representatives of the Western Conference is their eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings, so it will be the first time in the past five seasons that none of the "Original Six" are in the finals.

Not that I care that much... if the Wings aren't it it, then I've usually stopped paying attention to hockey.


Detroit had the best record in the NHL in mid-January, then a series of major injuries were visited upon them and for one three week period their starting goal tender was a journeyman minor leaguer. They fell in the opening round in five games to the Nashville Preditors.

Something was in the air above the ice in NHL arenas this Spring... one after another "Original Six" teams fell, as did higher seeds to lower ones.

  • The lowly Kings handled last season's runners-up Vancouver Canucks (who had this season's top record), with ease in five games.
  • The Capitals knocked off the defending champion Briuns in seven games.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers upset perennial favorite Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
  • The Phoenix Coyotes bested the Preditors in five games.
  • The Kings swept Central Division winning St. Louis Blues four straight.
  • The Kings then took the measure of Phoenix in five games.

Meanwhile, the last surviving "Original Six," the New York Rangers with one of the best records in the league all season and arguably the best goaler in Henrik Lundqvist, outlasted Ottawa and Washington in tough series before losing to the Devils in six games.

I not so secretly, to my wife's dismay, rejoiced... not so much because I dislike the team, but Rangers' fans are especially insufferable.

And as their team continued enjoying great success this sea­son, they became even more so and I dreaded the thought of the team being feted with a ticker tape parade down the "Canyon of Heroes," the Stanley Cup brandished aloft as Rangers fans ran amok and achieved new heights of obnoxion!

But I won't have to concern myself with that image now, thank you, New Jersey!

But that's as far as I go... never liked the carpet-bagging Devils...

(By the Denver, Colorado Rockies out of the Kansas City Scouts in 1974.)

...since they swept the heavily-favored Red Wings in the 1995 Cup finals!

Yes, my memory is long, and there is no statute of limitations on my enmity.

Go Kings!


1. Hampton West said...

I'm with you on this one, and even as long time Ranger fan I agree a lot of the fans are really obnoxious.

I saw the 1960 Red Wings at the old Garden - the Rangers signed an Olympic U.S. hero named Jack McCarten late in the season - Rangers actually won that game.

The Wings really suffered for years in the 1980's - recall them being referred to as the Detroit "Dead Things" and Detroit "Chicken Wings." Have to admit they have a good organization of late, they are always there. And as much as I don't like the Devils they to always seem to field a good team. The Kings are simply hot and playing at the level all the pundits said they would play when the season started. Couple of trades, new coach, and voila!

Hank Tucker is a Rangers fan... 'nuff said!

2. Jeanne Speir said...

The octopus WILL return!

Yes, dear! But not without some major help from management. Nik's retirement will free-up significant cap space and they need to bring in a top two defensement and a top four scoring winger.

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