Tonight I watched the Detroit Red Wings with the kids. The Wings faced elimination against the San Jose Sharks, but they battled back and won 7-1 (the first time in 45 years the Wings have won when facing elimination in a 3-0 situation—or something, didn’t quite catch that crazy stat).
Anyway, the Wings scored five times in the first period (on only 9 shots!), so I had plenty of opportunity to teach Milo how to say, “Goal!”
I also got to show Lexi an octopus (a Red Wings playoff tradition).
How sad is this? The Detroit Red Wings—currently on a franchise-high nine-playoff-game winning streak, in their 17th consecutive playoffs (best streak in pro sports) and one win away from their fourth trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 11 years (having won the Cup in all three previous finals trips)—is having trouble selling out the Joe Louis Arena. Last year’s playoffs saw an end to a 425-game streak of home sellouts that went back to 1996.
What’s the deal? The Detroit economy must really be tanking. Or if you get too good people stop caring.
Whatever. I had to move to Minnesota to see the Red Wings in person. I’d love to go to a home game, and I’d really love to go to a playoff game. If you live in the Detroit area, do me a favor and go see some hockey. I may live in the State of Hockey, but Detroit will always be Hockeytown. Just don’t let me down now.
Local sports announcers are the lowest form of the journalistic professional. They’re the FOX of network TV, the Jerry Springer of talk shows, the Left Behind of novels, the “All American Recreation” of commercial jingles. They suck.
When announcing a game their bias for the local team nearly outshines their horrific search for the newest and worst sports metaphor, which they then repeat ad-nauseam. The poor local sports fan with no cable TV is unwittingly subjected to their Neanderthal quips, their praise or condemnation for the referee based on a call going the local team’s way, and their unbridled excitement for a home team goal–compared to their poorly masked shock at an opponent’s score.
Last night the Wild faced elimination against the Vancouver Cannucks in game six of a seven game series. Mike Goldberg continually reminded the hapless non-cable viewer that the Wild hope to win so they can play another day, making an instant cliche of a player’s off-handed remark before a previous game. When the Wild scored their fifth goal, Goldberg belted out, “Fire up the jets, we’re going to Vancouver!” referring to the nth time to the airplane each team would charter to return to Vancouver if a game seven became necessary. The all-time best was when Vancouver scored their only goal and Goldberg said in total dead-pan, “Shoots, scores.”
A game seven loss for the Wild would be painful for Minnesota fans, but it would also be a mercy killing. We wouldn’t have to listen to Joe Blow until October.
Today I rediscovered the joy that is hockey. I’ve only managed to play once so far this year, so I donned the skates this evening and went out for an hour or so. Seth and Anders, the two ten year olds I played with, were really cool. They let me play with them and we had a blast chasing the ball around. The ice stunk, my skates were dull, and we were using a tennis ball. But that’s okay, it was hockey, and I loved it. Broomball may be a blast, but nothing comes close to strapping a pair of metal runners to your feet and gliding gracefully across the ice.