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Lord Stanley's tarnished Cup

June 5, 2008 - Brian Ferry
Over the past few days, I've spent a few hours in front of the tube intentionally watching the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals. It was a great match-up - youth versus experience, best two teams in the league, all that. It was exactly what the league needed to get back some of the fans it lost after the season-long lockout of 2005. I hope it works. It didn't work for me, though. If you ask me, I'll tell you the Penguins are my favorite team. And I'll watch hockey if it's on (of course, I'll watch Spongebob if it's on). I'll argue that hockey is a fast-action sport. Good for spectators. There's a good combination of skill, speed and strength. And, if you're into it, brutality. I like to watch several sports that have most of those components. However, I have trouble with the NHL. Ever since that 2005 non-season, I wonder if the league cares about people who watch a game here and there when it's important or when it's their home team, but are not rabid fans who would take the other team's captain hostage during a key regular-season series. Spectator sports are about the fans. At least, that's how I think it should be. I don't care how much the best guy in the league can wrangle out of his boss. That's about business as long as the wrangling doesn't impact performance or playing time. When the NHL had its lockout, I found I didn't miss the action that much. I never got back into it. I didn't even mind the deal with the TV network that I don't get. (I don't know the details of that arrangement, but it had to be a bad idea for the league.) But, on Tuesday, I sat in front of the television and watched parts of four periods of hockey. Not because I especially enjoy hockey. Not because it was the Penguins. Not because it was the Stanley Cup Final. I wouldn't have given one whit if it hadn't been both the Penguins and the Stanley Cup Final. So I watched periods 2 through 2OT. Still, I turned off the game after the second overtime.


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