With Game 2 coming up tonight, I thought I'd share with you all my thoughts on this series, and some contentious issues that seem to be on the front burner with fans.
Game 1 saw a bunch of sloppy plays, as well as a bunch of flukey goals. The Flyers 1st was a redirect...by Carey Prices' own teammate! Montreal got a lucky break on Kovalev's shorthanded marker..if he was milleseconds quicker, it would have been no goal, and the Flyers fans would really have something to complain about. Philly got lucky on a borderline puck-off-the-skate play. For the record, I don't think he kicked it in, he just was angling his foot, which is legal, according to the rules. The Habs tied it up on a broken stick play off the face-off. Here's where my Homer-ism comes out a bit. Even if the stick didn't break, it was likely that Saku would have won the face-off anyways...he was dominant on F/O's that night. Either way, both teams got lucky last game, and I don't mean rink rats!
There have been two issues that seem to have drawn the ire of fans across the board.
The first is the booing of the National Anthem. Let me start of by saying first and foremost that booing the anthems not only shows a lack of respect for the country whose anthem you're booing, but a lack of respect for the players on your own team, because chances are pretty good you're booing the anthem of somebodies home and native land. (Cheesy, I know, I know)
This can be resolved by doing one simple thing, and no, it's not forgetting the anthems altogether. It's simply singing the anthem of the country you're in. Visiting Montreal? "O Canada". Philly? "Star Spangled Banner". Exhibition game in the Czech Republic? "Kde Domov Muj?" (Thank you Google!) This way, booing becomes obselete, unless you're booing your own country, in which case you should probably move instead.
The second is the poor refereeing that we've been seeing all year. EVERY team complains about it, and sometimes it's even justified. The lack of consistant refereeing has been a black eye on the face of the NHL. My solution? A challenge system similar to that employed by the NFL. Let's say a player for Toronto is interfered with, causing an odd man rush for St. Louis, resulting in a goal. The coach throws out some kind of challenge marker, the ref then checks available cameras at the penalty box. (With technology these days, it's easy to setup a computer with an HD monitor and Video Feed. On a laptop to boot!) If the challenge is proven correct, the Blues are penalized, the goal disallowed, and time is brought back to the time of infraction. If the challenge is ruled against the challenger, however, a 2 minute bench minor is issued, the goal stands, AND they have to leave the same line on the ice, ala icing. This forces refs to be on their game, as they wouldn't want to be made fools of because of coaches making correct calls that they miss. Challenges would be 1 per game, same as time outs. It also forces fans to stop bemoaning every missed penalty, as if it was as bad as "they" seem to think, the coach would have challenged...right?
Game 2 goes tonight, and I hope to see a better effort on the parts of both the Canadiens and the Flyers! May the best team win!