Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Game 4 tonight in Ottawa and the Sabres are down 3 games. Please don't let it be a sweep, go down fightin. Teams have come back before. Both Pittsburgh and New Jersey came back from 3-1 deficits to win the Stanley Cup. Can Buffalo do that to win the Eastern conference? I don't know....

As I've said before on here, I'm a hockey fan. Unfortunately it's not as popular in the United States as it is in Canada, Russia and some European countries. I think it's too fast for many people. It can be hard to follow the puck but if you stick with it you learn to anticipate where the puck will go. I've been to countless games from pee wees, high school, college, AHL and NHL and one thing I've learned is never take your eyes off the game. A warning my father told me time and time again. The puck flies into the crowd all the time. In the older days there was little protection, just half a sheet of Plexiglass around the rink. These days there are full sheets plus nets but you can still get hit by the puck. I speak from experience. I once had season tickets to our city's AHL team. I'm talking away, not paying attention and ouch! Hit right in the face with the puck. The good thing about it was it hit me on the flat side, not the edge. I saw stars, didn't need stitches but was very embarrassed because the EMT people came over to check on me. I heard the voice of my father in my head.

If you're any kind of hockey fan I must tell you to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. When I was a kid we went to the old one that was on the grounds of the CNE, it was fun, I bought a hockey player charm for my charm bracelet. It's still on the bracelet today. The Hall of Fame has since moved to downtown Toronto into a former bank. It's wonderful. The displays are great. They have the usual goalie masks, old jerseys and so on but oh lots more. It is very hands on and interactive. You can go into a room set up like a locker room, go into a broadcast studio and do play by play, try your hand at being a goalie. Tons of things to do, well worth the price of admission. But the best part is the hardware. Go upstairs to the trophy room. It's almost like a sacred place. All the different trophies are on display including the granddaddy of them all, the Stanley Cup. It was the holy grail for me to see it.

The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy to be competed for by professional athletes, going back to 1893. The team that has won it the most? The Montreal Canadians, 24 times. Each player on the winning team is allowed to take the cup for one day and do what ever they want with it. Show it off to their hometowns and so on. It has been on Leno and Letterman, traveled to the Kremlin in Russia and used as a baptismal font.

Just one quick story because I'm sure I'm boring you if you even got this far. When Sean and I were at the Hall of Fame there was a man and his son looking at the cup with us. I looked at them and a voice said to myself, "you will see them again" it was the oddest thing. It just popped into my head. Later that night we went to a Toronto Maple Leaf game, we're sitting in our seats waiting for the game to start and lo and behold here comes the father and son, they sat right next to me.