With the NHL All-star starter votes tallied and presented to the media, only four teams were represented in both the Eastern and the Western Conferences (Montreal, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Anaheim). The Montreal Canadiens have taken four of the six starting spots and just so happen to be hosting the All Star game. Something fishy is going on but kudos to the Canadiens fans who got their votes in. They accomplished this by texting and clicking all day and night, locking in their home town starters. With the ability to vote as often as they like, 15 million votes were cast by text message, while 34 million were done over the internet. Maybe there’s a better way to approach this voting process. How about a percentage of fan voting is counted while the rest goes to the players and coaches in order to allow a better representation of the “Best” players in the league? Does it not seem ridiculous that the NHL has the same voting process as American Idol? To new fans watching at home, this kind of lopsided display doesn’t steer hockey in the right direction in my eyes. I actually influenced 30 Universities in the Boston area to vote Brian Scalabrine as a starter in the NBA all-star vote last year. We were about 2 million votes short of a ginger starter!
I’m not protesting any foul play or saying Montreal rigged the starter voting. I mean, it’s a special Centennial season for the Habs and they are hosts of the game. I would never assume such a thing from the fans in an arena that reminds me of the Russian arena in Rocky IV. Men in suits, hostile fans but they are loyal. So loyal as to vote in one Carey Price as your starting goaltender whose stats don’t equate to some of the best eastern conference tenders. Kovalev with 9 goals and 28 pts all season, was voted a starter all because he is the captain of the Canadiens. It’s a nice gesture to have these players start the game and I do understand that it was the fans who voted them in. If I wanted Ovechkin to start this game; the reigning MVP and 2nd in the NHL in goals, I probably should have rocked the vote. It just seems a little ridiculous that the Canadiens are playing the Chicago Ducks for the first shift of this game…but that’s hockey. Canada is the kingdom of hockey and their fans are making it an all-star game to remember. I’ll tune in at about the 17-minute mark to miss the pre game festivities and to catch at least one Bruin hopefully making it on the second shift. I hope they don’t control the bench players voting as well because I have a feeling that only one national anthem would be sung.
I ain’t mad, I’m just Ragin!
So… the brew crew and I went off to the TD Banknorth Garden last night to watch the Bruins/Maple Leafs face off for a high flying affair. We walked in right as they dropped the puck but got stuck in the beer line. Suddenly, the siren went off and by the time we reached our seats, two goals had been scored. We’re running to our section, two beers in hand and sit in the only spot a true fan can – center ice, last row in the balcony. The only spot you can yell crude remarks at Toronto fans; sit crammed next to a 250 pound “Joe the Plumber” and see the whole Garden at work. I missed the first 5 goals of the Bruins due to bathroom breaks and beer line backup. You can’t make this stuff up but that’s the beauty of a hockey game. Games are so fast paced and exciting and the NHL has been quickly coming back to life. Maybe I’m just drinking the Bruins Kool-Aid, and other parts of the country still ignore their teams, but you better believe it tastes good. This game of puck had everything you wanted – 13 goals, 4 fights, 4 different goalies, a hat trick, our buddies on the jumbotron, broken glass, beer line altercations and a Bruins victory.
Today’s NHL has the San Jose Sharks off to an amazing start at 25-4-3 and the Bruins are streaking at 22-5-4 winning 12 straight at home. Rounding off the top six teams are Detroit, Chicago, Washington and New Jersey who are also looking aggressive early on. The standings show the original six franchises making a competitive comeback and a flashback to the true nest of hockey lore. With exciting young stars like Ovechkin, Kessel and Crosby busting out, we can only expect more thrills to follow. I’m not going to lie. I was far from enjoying hockey for the last few years but I missed it. Where else can players talk at a face off about fighting each other and then 10 seconds later drop gloves and go at it. Speed, checking, kick save and a beauty! It brings me back to the golden days of hockey and I’m hoping a rebirth occurs because it’s faster and better than ever.
Now the Bruins won 8-5, I tossed my hat on the ice for Krejci’s hat trick celebration (not really but that makes the story better) and ended up forgetting where we parked. We got lost driving back; came home hungry, tired and having to work early that next morning. Let me tell you, it was all worth it and I can’t wait to go again. Long live hockey! Here we go Bruins here we go!