Monday, 30 April 2012

The NHL post-season is boring, by design

Am I the only one whose interest in hockey has quickly perished after the first round? I tried gamely to get myself in the game, I figured I’d root against the Bruins, first and foremost. I’d root for the Penguins, was anxious to see Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Kris Letang fly up and down the ice, plus Marc-André Fleury is always spectacular. The Canucks hold some local interest, and when they get rolling and start to score, it gets fun.
Now here we are. The Bruins are slain, and that’s good, those worthless, lucky bastards had to come up snake eyes at some point. The Pens and ‘Nucks who I tried to engineer an interest in are dead and buried before I even get on the bandwagon.
I can barely remember who’s in what series now, it’s a conscious effort to grasp it. Who’re the Rangers playing? Nashville has to lose, so as to protect our 2nd round draft choice, but who do I have to root for then?
We’re having to watch playoffs involving only three of the top ten regular season scorers, six of the top twenty. No Sedin twins, no Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, no Jason Spezza, no Joe Thornton. Dale Hunter is benching Alex Ovechkin, Alexei Semin and Nicklas Backstrom in favor of Jay Beagle and Troy Brouwer. Games limp to a 2-2 regulation tie, and we’re told we’re witnessing a great game, not a succession of dump-ins and slashes, and acceptable-in-the-playoffs hooking.
I remember when hockey was fun. I’d get my dose of bloodshed as the Canadiens slugged its way out of the Adams Division, and then the late game would come on, showing Edmonton trying to outskate Calgary or Winnipeg. Those games finished 8-6, were just as intense and hard-fought as the Eastern Conference games, but featured things like passing and strategy and goals sniped from the slot, instead of being bashed in by three or four guys kneeling in the opponents’ crease.
I miss it.

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