After last night's instant classic game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I was reading all the coverage about Dwayne Roloson's season-ending knee injury. It's too bad that the Oilers are going to have to go the rest of the series without Rolie. Hopefully they can overcome this adversity. And anyone who says that this ruins the series is dead wrong. Because if there's one thing I've learned about hockey in the past year, it is that the unexpected happens...a lot. Who would have ever thought an eight seed like Edmonton would be in the finals in the first place. I'm not even mentioning the amount of injuries the Hurricanes have had to their defense, as well as losing their top goal-scorer in Erik Cole.
But, as I sat and watched the Hurricanes claw their way back in the third period while sitting in my basement with Matt, I made one of my first ever correct predictions when it comes to hockey. When Carolina got their fourth goal to take a 4-3 lead, I turned to Matt and said flat out, "Ales (Hemsky) is gonna score a goal and send this into OT,". And, lo and behold, my prediction was correct, except for the OT part. When Ales scored the goal, it hit me how much I love the game, and will forever be a devoted fan. And it's a weird kind of devotion. The other day Jeremy asked me if I was gonna be a die-hard Caps fan like he is next season. And my answer to him was probably if they are a playoff team (i.e good). But as I thought more and more about it I started to understand that I will never have a passion for the Caps like I do with the Redskins. I'm more of just a hockey fan, in general. I've started latching onto players that I like and rooting for them. Ales Hemsky (because of fantasy hockey) , Sidney Crosby (because I talked to him for 20 minutes), Daniel Briere (because of Graham), and Ovechkin (partly because of Jeremy and partly because he is so damn good). And I'm sure once some of these guys in college hockey that I covered this season get to the NHL, I will follow them as well.
The weird thing is that coming into this year I would have never known that some of my favorite moments would be hockey-related. Some of the higlights of my entire year include:
1. The BC-Michigan hockey game at Yost - It was the first time I ever got goosebumps at a sporting event. That's how intense the atmosphere was.
2. Holy Cross defeating Minnesota in Grand Forks - The coolness factor of being in the nicest arena I've ever come upon only added to the fact that I got to witness, in person, the greatest college hockey upset of all-time.
3. Michigan vs. Ferris State Game 2 of CCHA Playoffs- The only other time, all season, that Yost came close to duplicating the BC game atmosphere
4. Game 3 Edmonton vs. Detroit in Krauss' room- This game was on the heels of the Oilers beating Detroit at the Joe in Game 2 and I wasn't sure if they were for real. Not to mention the game was in Western Canada and went to overtime, so it ended real late. And Edmonton won.
5. Game 1 Buffalo vs. Philly- This game was an epic that went to double OT, and was the game that really got me into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The action was up-and-down, with numerous scoring chances for both teams. It also featured, what I think is the best hit of the playoffs so far, when Brian Campbell of the Sabres absolutely demolished RJ UMberger.
Well, that was a good hockey rant.