Well, the Carolina Hurricanes are Stanley Cup champs.
So, no hockey till October.
As I'm relatively new to this hockey blogging thing, um- what the hell am I supposed to write about for the next 3 months?
Advice would be appreciated, and if you beg, I'll write out the story about how my buddy Duben and I once played a pick up roller hockey game with Rick Moranis and his 10-year-old son in Central Park. Long story short, I knocked down Rick's son and made him cry.
It was awkward.
I'll just start out with a few thoughts:
ON THE STANLEY CUP CHAMPS AND THE NEW NHL:
There has been a lot of talk about Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward, comparisons to Patrick Roy, and speculation that he will be the next great goaltender. While his accomplishment is nothing to sniff at, I think it bears mentioning that he won the MVP mainly because Brind'Amour disappeared in games 5 and 6, and you can't give it to Pronger or Pisani after the 'Canes won. So you give it to Ward, cause, really- who else is there? I'll tell you: The MVP of that series was, as a unit, the Carolina Hurricanes penalty kill. Fast, aggressive, constantly blocking shots, forcing bad passes, and a constant shorthanded threat, they have written the book for success in the "new NHL."
You can talk all you want about speed through the neutral zone, but the fact is, to win in the new NHL, you better be able to kill a penalty, 'cause there are gonna be a lot of them. Edmonton was very good at that too, as was Buffalo. Certainly Ward was effective in game seven, and made every save he had to, but he by no means stole that game, and his biggest save of the series came in a 4-0 loss. As Ben mentioned when I was out of town, the Carolina penalty kill is frightening, especially seeing as they immediately clinched the Cup win with an empty net goal as soon as the Oilers pulled their goalie. I haven't looked at the box score, but as I remember it, the Oilers pulled Markennen with over a minute left on the clock, and after Carolina scored there was at least 40 seconds left, enough for me to keep rooting for a miracle for the Oilers.
In my view, smart GM's should start recognizing that shorthanded specialists like Boston's PJ Axelsson, Washington's Matt Pettinger, Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone and Toronto's Matthew Stajan might be far more valuable to a team than their point totals indicate.
ON THE NHL AND HOW TO PROMOTE THE GAME IN THE OFF SEASON:
As I've mentioned on this blog before, celebrities who don't give a fuck about hockey standing in front of the Stanley Cup does nothing to build the game. Reading the Stanley Cup does. How about an interactive website that allows you to get up really close to the cup, scanning along the names with the same technology they use to give "virtual tours" of museums and restaurants? This way, fans who have never seen the cup up close actually could "read" Lord Stanley's Cup. As I've said, with each engraved name, there is a story, and you clicked a name on the cup, you could be sent to a transcript (or movie) of a player's story from that season. How cool would that be?
ON OTHER BLOGS:
I started blogging in April, and was linked by Deadspin today, which jacked my sitemeter into the hundreds before noon. It's a great feeling, but never would have happened without the support and linkage of quite a few people, in particular, the excellent Off Wing Opinion, the always entertaining Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed, and of course, the omnipresent Jes Golbez, who is as insightful a hockey guy as he is a class act. I emailed him during the first week I was doing this, and he wrote me back immediately, and answered all my questions. Good on him.