Posted 1:49 AM ET | Comments 3
I'm from Calgary. I have lived my whole life living and dying with the Calgary Flames. I have seen more hockey games than many people see in a lifetime. I truly am blessed with the exposure I get to the greatest game on the planet. I came out east for University, in London, Ontario, and now am blessed with getting to see Tavares play whenever I want.
Over the weekend however, I finally got to see my first NHL game outside of Calgary, at the ACC, Leafs vs Penguins, Doug Gilmour night. I came dressed in #39, Calgary flames, full out Gilmour, no one stopped me screaming "where'd you win your cup killer?" Basically the crowd was appreciative that I was respecting gilmour's past, and I was very happy about that. What I was appalled about was two different things, each that deserve a paragraph to it's own. I'll start with the Pittsburg Penguins.
So I came into this game expecting to see the greatest talent in the game. Malkin. Crosby. Doesn't get better than this right? Well, after watching 60 odd minutes of this team, I have to say, it gets MUCH better than this; WAY better than this. This team has 0 heart. Maybe it was the fact they were playing the Leafs. Maybe it was the fact that it the long run, this game wasn't #1 in the players mind. But in my mind, this game showed the difference between the western conference and the eastern conference. I didn't see a hit until midway through the second when Shenn just nailed Malkin, then went on to destroy Kennedy in a one sided fight. I guess it takes a western boy to actually make a game of hockey a true game of hockey, because up till then I think I saw more contact in a Peewee 4 game between Crowchild and Bow Valley (repping calgary sorry). Basically my point in this rambling is that when Pittsburg lost to Detroit last final, I truly believed it was a loss that would spawn a dynasty. I thought it would breed desire like the 1983 Stanley cup finals bred desire in the the Edmonton Oilers, and spawned a dynasty the likes the NHL has never seen since. What I saw Saturday however was a team that didn't care; a team that was all skill and no heart; a team that had learned NO lesson from last year, and most importantly, a team that did not deserve to make the playoffs. This team has a lot to learn before it even has a hope at deserving to win the cup. I know people call the calgary flames a hard working team, but until saturday night I didn't realize what a different level the flames are on compared to the stanley cup finalists. These guys did not care about hockey. I know i've only seen one game of Pittsburg's, but if anyone votes Malkin the MVP of the year, I will personally shoot the man who does, because a replica of Marc Savard circa 2002 I do not want as the most valuable player in the nhl.
My second point I was going to say was that the atmosphere in the ACC reminded my of the saddledome circa 2001, but i've ranted enough on the penguins that I think I should save the lack of passion from the Leafs fans for another day. I did love the passion for Killer though, I won't take that away from you guys. You definitely picked a true hockey player as a historic icon. I love the guy, even if this he has about 10 in-laws.
Bottom line, the Penguins do not deserve to make the playoffs. Good night flames fans.