|okay...we know March has only 31 days :o)|
by Jan Snyder
I enjoy SportsCenter on ESPN, but not in March. I dislike basketball and during March, SportsCenter doesn’t know any other sports exist – except when they discuss the upcoming work stoppage in the NFL. I grew up watching plenty of sports, but basketball was not one of them. In addition, as a child in my little parochial school, I was forced to play basketball, even though I was very short. My memories of playing the game revolve around all the inadvertent elbows to the head I took from taller girls (except for one that was shorter than me, that included everyone). Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team to follow and I never got into college basketball, so I guess I just don’t have the b-ball gene.
But I do love hockey and the NHL’s version of March Madness is every bit as entertaining to me. I watched a bunch of games this past weekend and felt like playoff time had come early. The race in the East to make the cut for the playoffs is fierce, and in the West, it’s even worse. Each day the standings change with each game that’s played.
The Penguin/Bruin game on Saturday night was a case in point. The hitting was intense, the game was played cleanly, and every player on both teams was into it! After Boston tied the game very late in regulation, the game went into overtime. When Dustin Jeffrey scored shortly into the extra period, I jumped, threw my arms in the air, and screamed, “YES!” Even without the big guys, the little “Baby Pens” are helping to keep the Pens right in the thick of things in the East.
The only team that didn’t seem that into it this weekend was the Flyers, who played two games and lost two games. On Sunday, the Rangers destroyed them, 7-0. With all the other teams licking at their heels, the Flyers picked a bad time to have a letdown. But they’ll be back and both division races will go down to the wire – the only way they should go down!
The fruits of trades are starting to be seen. Arnott in Washington will be a big help, while Kovalev, Neal and Niskanen are already paying dividends in Pittsburgh. This is the kind of madness I love! Who will be the hero each game? Which team wants it more? Who gets more breaks? Pucks in nets beat basketballs in nets, in my humble opinion.
But then again, I may be mad – it is March, after all.