Last night I made an executive decision. I was planting my butt in front of the television to watch Game 7 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins. Because if I couldn’t get excited for this game, I probably won’t be getting excited for anything else NHL related in the near future.
And again, I don’t hate hockey. I love hockey. I just hate two people, one of which runs the whole sport.
So here’s how the night went: To avoid remote ADD, I attempt to get a few of my friends over to our local watering hole (drink responsibly, designate a driver, etc.) and sports bar. My hope was to have my buddy Zach (huge hockey fan) to keep me interested and watching the whole 60 minutes of the hockey game in between taking shots at his Mets.
Naturally, that fell through and I was left with my basement and my remote control, which naturally means I won’t be watching all 60 minutes. I would be flipping through the Yankees and Mets game because I always have ADD when it comes to me and a remote control and sports. Even with that, I got to watch a pretty good hockey game.
Boston was all over Philly in the first period, taking a 3-1 lead. Then the Bruins forgot to bring their skates in the second and let Philly back into the game, and we went into the third tied 3-3. I told my dad that the first team to screw up, loses. That team ended up being Boston, who took a bench minor for too many men on the ice and Philly scored on the ensuing power play. Typical Flyer goal too, get players to the front of the net and start throwing the puck at goal.
Even with Philadelphia coming back from three games to zero and three goals to zero in Game Seven, I’m sorry, I tried, but I couldn’t get myself interested in the game. I couldn’t get excited to actually watch playoff hockey. Even during the last ten minutes my dad and I found time to watch Ron F. Gardenhire bring in a reliever to pitch to Alex Rodriguez, that A-Rod is 4-6 against lifetime with 3 HRs (now it’s 5-7 with 4 HRs). This coming from a fan who watched two games (and an OT) of USA-Canada in the Olympics just a few months ago. I’m sorry NHL fans, but some wounds just run to deep.
But regardless of my personal feelings, congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers on winning this series. Once again, they personify the city of Philadelphia with their mentality and drive and never gave up even facing seemingly insurmountable odds and losing another goalie. The Adams Upset Conf. will now feature the two lowest seeds (Philly/Montreal) in the final. Love it. Won’t watch it most likely, but I love it.
I’d like to thank the great people and fans of Whaler Nation on Facebook for their comments, compliments and feedback. Numerous people that I have never met on Facebook responsed with suprising force, with "likes" and comments that let me know I'm not alone in my conviction. I’d also like to take a moment to reflect on the two user comments from my Whalers entry last week. Both comments happen to be about both of those two gentlemen I mentioned earlier.
User KevinKuzia takes his shot at one Peter F. Karmanos and wonders why despite the Whalers being a national recognizable team, they moved away from Hartford. User whaler97 sees the effort that Commissioner Bettman is putting into saving teams like Phoenix and wonders where he was 13 years ago in Hartford.
Guys, thanks for the comments. First, we know that Karmanos had no intention of staying in Hartford from the get go, and competing with the UConn Huskies basketball teams is quite possibly the lamest excuse ever said. As I state in the entry, everyone wants to know where I bought my lone Whalers t-shirt and not one person has ever defended the Whalers leaving. Bettman clearly wants to keep his league in major cities with established sports teams, despite getting killing and hemorrhaging money in Phoenix, Atlanta and Florida. Apparently being in big markets and TV money is more important to the league than drawing sellouts in middle markets like Hartford. But if the NHL could actually get real TV money, they wouldn’t be on Versus.
But the real catastrophe here is the average sports fan like me. The average fan that likes the sport and gets priced out at the ticket window or just doesn’t want to or have time to watch the sport live. I’ve interned at an arena with an ECHL team and have an AHL team in my backyard. I have enough hockey around me to watch if I feel motivated to do so. And right now I don’t. And I realized this sometime in the second period last night, right after the Flyers came back and tied the game at three. I realized that I will never have the motivation to watch this sport (aside from USA Olympic Hockey every four years) until my hockey team is rightfully returned to its place in Hartford, Connecticut.
So here lies my NHL spirit. It was officially pronounced dead around 8:45 PM EST on Friday, May 14, 2010. And I have a feeling that it might never come back. I have a feeling that I might never have the joy that Minnesotans have right now with the Wild. About getting your team back after losing it to a “bigger” market for over a decade. But Minnesota has the Vikings, and the Twins and the Timberwolves. They survived without the Northstars when they moved to Dallas.
Hartford had the Whalers. Connecticut had a professional sports team. And now after 13 years, I have given up on trying to accept the NHL without the Whalers. It’s not happening Bettman. When Chris Drury (Trumbull, CT – 1989 LLWS Champion) retires, my care quotient for the NHL will be at zero. You’ve finally broken my spirit to care about the National Hockey Leauge.
But if you think for one second that you’ve killed my hope of the Whalers returning to Hartford, you are sadly mistaken. But take heart at least this one statement Mr. Bettman, crusher of deams and souls.
I have watched 3 times more NHL this playoffs (45 minutes) than NBA playoffs (15 minutes). Now I have a purpose to actually watch the NBA Conference Finals - a purpose to watch more NBA than NHL during the playoffs.
A purpose to spite you.