(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Stanley Cup Playoffs

I watched with interest as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 in Tampa last night to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Calgary Flames. Yes, Tampa does have exciting young players in Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, and yes, Calgary does have Jerome Iginla, and it could well be an exciting series. But will a Calgary-Tampa final excite the national viewing audience that the NHL seemingly has lost? I can't help but recall the exhortation of Paul Newman in "Slapshot," where he urges his team to resort to "old-time hockey." While the NHL can't live in the past, it probably wouldn't hurt it if the finals featured Detroit against Philadelphia, or if somehow the Montreal Canadiens could purge their demons and end up in the finals again. But Calgary-Tampa Bay? Calgary, on the one hand, I can understand, but watching hockey in Tampa Bay should be like watching baseball in Edmonton. The NHL needs a boost, now more than ever. I hope they get it, but I don't think they will.


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