Hockey Day in America: My view From the Couch
Hockey Day in America was celebrated yesterday and for a fan living in the rural south I t was both amazing and lonesome My family does not share my love of the game but I didn’t let that stop me from reveling as a party of one!
As I searched the tags of NHL and hockey on here as I prepared to write my review of the holiday, I was shocked to find only a few blogs focusing on the sport. It inspired me to post my holiday experience from the ol’ couch and see if I can raise the hockey spirit of the WordPress universe.
I want to start with the Stadium Series game on Saturday Night in Chicago that saw the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks bury the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Windy City snowstorm for the ages.
The 5-1 win was hockey as it was meant to be played-in the elements by some of the best athletes on the planet. It, like the Stadium Series games in Yankee Stadium and the Winter Classic played in “The Big House”, was hockey at it’s purest.
Those games made me proud to be a hockey fan.
From my point of view, the same can’t be said of the Stadium Series game played in Dodger Stadium. That was a Hollywood production. Celebrity PR for the league. Palm trees in the background of a hockey game. That was just a bit bizarre.
I understand the growth of the league into California and applaud the league for expanding the game in the fertile southern California market following the Gretzky trade and culminating with the Kings skating the Cup a couple of years ago.
In my humble opinion, hockey in California should be played in climate controlled indoor arenas.
The term “indoors” brings me to my next little qualm with the NHL. The Heritage Classic between Ottawa and Vancouver was indeed played in a Stadium. A Stadium with a retractable roof. Which was closed turning it into an indoor game thus keeping the elements, rain and snow, out of a game marketed to celebrate the game’s incredible heritage. A heritage born on the frozen ponds of Canada.
A few years ago, I recall Pittsburgh hosting a Winter Classic that was played in the rain. Why not do the same in Vancouver? The elements are to embraced or at least endured in these outdoor stadium games.
The fans and players were cheated a bit in Vancouver with the closed roof. As Mike Milbury stated during the snowstorm in Chicago, “That’s cheating!”
I enjoyed the passion that the Flyers-Capitals game displayed. Their new divisional rivalry is building quickly into one of the best in hockey. The Flyers OT comeback showed a ton of heart and will. Those are just two more traits that make the game great for all involved.
The primetime Original Six game between the Bruins and the Rangers from the Garden was special to me. I love all hockey but the Original Six teams and matchups involving them always bring a little something extra in terms of excitement.
The ’94 Rangers changed me from a casual fan into a passionate one with Messier’s guarantee.
I have learned the Bruins storied history and respect the old school approach and style they bring every time they take the ice.
Watching the Bruins win was indoor hockey at it’s finest and even though it won’t go down as an instant classic, it was a great cap to Hockey Day in America 2014.
I want to say thanks to the NHL and NBC for allowing American fans to celebrate the game for all it is and will continue to evolve into and I can’t wait until next year’s Hockey Day in America!
I also want to invite all hockey fans to follow my blog and let me know what you think with your comments and feedback.
I’ll be back from here on the couch Thursday with my trade deadline recap!
Til then stay outta the Penalty box!
Photo courtesy: The Hockey News