Finally, some exciting hockey 0
A scuffle breaks out between the Kings and the Devils during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., June 9, 2012. (GARY HERSHORN/Reuters)
It took five games, but the Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils finally produced some very good and exciting hockey Saturday night.
Back and forth action. Large saves. Big hits. Great plays. Outstanding entertainment.
People complain that the season is too long, that mid-June is no time to be sitting indoors watching a winter sport they've viewed for the past nine months. And to a certain extent, they're right.
At the same time, there's nothing else on TV anywhere near as good as this.
As poised as L.A. was to sweep, this never looked like a four-game series. The two teams are too close in every aspect.
A word of advice for those expecting to watch the final handshake and Cup presentation Monday: Free up your schedule Wednesday. This one is going the distance.
STARTS AND STOPS
Don't be so quick handing the Conn Smythe Trophy to Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who really should have stopped Adam Henrique's winner in Game 4 and looked horrible on Zach Parises goal in Game 5. CBC Color commentator Craig Simpson said it best when he stated, after Quick was caught well out of his net early in the second period, that perhaps the "aura of invincibility" around the Kings goalie had evaporated ... Good digging by Hockey Night In Canada's Ron MacLean to discover that Gloria Gaynor is from Newark, N.J. CBC should have played her "I Will Survive" for the Devils at the start of the game ... We rag him so often that we should also point out when Hockey Night's Glenn Healy is bang on, like when he commented on Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk's backchecking (lack of) effort on Justin Williams' goal. "They took his assist off the first goal by the Devils? I'll give him one on that.".
STUFF I THINK I THUNK
If you like HBO's '24-7', you must love CBC's 'Inside The Cup'. The only area it pales in is the promoting of the show. I never even heard of it before Saturday ... Devils defenceman Bryce Salvador should be buying lottery tickets these days. What's the percentage of his weak shots from the point that find their way to the back of the net, one way or another, during these playoffs. Fifty? ... Devils forward Patrik Elias wouldn't have been driven so hard into the boards by Kings defenceman Matt Green had he shot instead of passed, like he should have done ... Isn't it hard to believe Darryl Sutter's 406-game playing career ended in 1987? Or am I just getting old?
You forget Justin Williams is such a key player for the Kings, until he hits a post in the first period and scores in the second of such a big game for the franchise ... Former Devils troublemaker Claude Lemieux was in the house and apparently received loud cheers. Kris Draper would have puked ... If Hockey Night wants my opinion, I say a big yes to keeping Tim Wharnsby on the Hot Stove panel full time. I also happen to know that the guy his friends call "Doober" is very well connected ... Wharnsby says Adam Oates could be in line for the Washington Capitals' vacant head coaching position and that Patrice Briseboise may be considered for some type of job with the Montreal Canadiens. On the latter, would Habs fans stoop so low as to boo an executive?
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ...
For those who missed it, that was the 193rd straight playoff game for Marty Brodeur in the Devils net. Amazing, isn't it? The guy is the best goalie ever ... Brodeur looked like Johnny Bower with that first period poke check. He's almost as old as the guy, too ... I hesitate to say Anton Volchenkov is a brick s---house, because this is a family newspaper. But CBC is a family network, and its technicians couldn't blank out the player who called another player an effin' cat, or something like that.
"I don't understand how it works. A good referee is a referee who allows penalties to go unpenalized?" -- @Beezersun
If you don't like the Toronto Sun's Steve Buffery, well, join the crowd. Just joking. Beezer is one of the very best.
"If there really is a Group of Death in sports these days, isn't it the Kopitar line?" -- @MolinariPG
Dave Molinari (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) is in the Hall of Fame's media wing for many reasons. His cleverness is just one of them.
"Does the official scorer have Ilya Kovalchuk in the pool? How do you give out an assist on Parise's goal to anyone other than J Quick." -- @simmonssteve
Steve Simmons, aka Sy, is simply one of the best quipsters you're ever going to find. He's a columnist for the Toronto Sun, in case you've been away