Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Other Summer Movie: Flight of the Penguin Meets the Wing Dynasty

by Lisa Ovens

It’s a blockbuster, plot filled Stanley Cup Final and it all begins Saturday may 30th in Detroit. The plot thickens almost immediately because game two of the possible seven game series occurs on Sunday May 31st. Oooh, back to back thrills: stock up on your favorite beverages everybody! They'll have to last you all weekend.

It wasn’t too long ago the hockey world learned the finals might have begun on June 5th causing a lengthy delay and a late end to the season. And boy did everyone complain. Personally I was hoping for a delayed start because it would give the American sports media an opportunity to hype up what should be a thrilling end to the season. Because that’s what hockey needs more of in the United States: Hype with a capital H.

The Hype...

Sea of tranquility by Lisa Ovens

We have a rematch of last year’s Final: defending Cup champs Detroit Red Wings vs. last year’s runner up team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. This hasn’t happened since 1984 with the Oilers and the Islanders Final. It's safe to say that hockey now is just as exciting as it was then, with the added bonus of better hair styles and more tattoos!


We have a serious Karma issue with Marion Hossa. He lost the Stanley Cup last year when playing with the Pens. He signs for millions with the Detroit Red Wings thinking they are his best hope for a Cup. Now he has to play the Pens for the Cup. That Hossa, he’s sitting on a red, hot seat.


The Pens touched the Prince of Wales trophy when they won the Eastern Conference, whereas the Wings didn’t touch the Campbell Bowl when they won the West. Will the “Don’t touch the Conference Trophy” superstition prevail??

The Bosses

A Freshie coach vs. a Seasoned coach. It’s a Bylsma vs. a Babcock. A Dan vs. a Mike. The Wings Mike Babcock has been here before, and he obviously reall knows how to prepare his troups for battle. Injuries? No problem. Stupid calls from officials? No problem. Losing a Cup Final (with the Ducks) no problem. Winning a Cup Final with the Wings? No problem.

Dan Bylsma stepped in after the Pens fired coach Michel Therrien back in February. He turned the team around, brought them this far, and now has to push it a little more. He's young, a former player himself, so you have to wonder if he's pulling pranks on the road with the boys still. However, he did write a book about about hockey with his father, and you all know what they say about us authors...we're winners!

Elder Statesman

Every post season there is a token old guy people root for to win the Cup because he hasn’t won one yet. I guess this time around it would be the Pens Sergei Gonchar? He’s 35 years old. Please, if there is another old guy I'm missing, let me know.

Two REALLY Classy Guys Behind the Scenes

Steve Yzerman vs. Mario Lemieux. Who can forget these former superstar players performing the ceremonial puck drop during last year’s final. That’s about all I got here. Just like thinking about these fine specimens sauntering out from the benches in their nice suits...
Smile, pose, drop puck, smile and pose again, shake hands...Ahhhhhh.....

We can expect more stories will bubble to the surface. But for now let’s get ready for some serious hockey this weekend. Go teams GO!!!!

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