Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yes, Crosby

Looks like an Ottawa writer's trying to start some business between the Pens and the Sens, suggesting they aim for his Crosbiness' ankle. Classy. However, genuinely classy is the reaction of the Pens. I say if this guy's so eager for somebody to get really hurt, why not offer himself up? It reminds me of those "you'd never make it in the NHL" ads they ran last year. Yeesh.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Goilers and goodnight

I'm out of town tonight for work reasons and won't be seeing the last game for the year. Sad.

It's been a long, hard year, with some devastating losses and some exhilarating wins. What I love about this team was really driven home to me Tuesday night, and brought some genuine joy on an otherwise heartrending evening.

We dressed out in our Oilers jerseys and settled in with pasta and wine in front of the tv. Eternally pessimistic, I suspected what might be coming but wanted to believe in the possibility of happy outcomes at least. MLB Extra innings, (which I had been debating subscribing to) was in a free preview on nearby channels to the Oilers feed, and I was flipping back and forth to the Red Sox game during the intermissions and commercial breaks.

I'd watched the Red Sox/A's opening series in Japan, and was bothered by my lack of emotional engagement with the team/games. I like all the guys on the club, and it was fun to watch them win the World Series last year, but there was something about the fawning of the announcers over the team and the way it seemed assumed the Sox would be winning most of their games this year that left an off taste in my mouth. And tonight was no different. I'd watch an out or two as the Sox kept utter control of the game, and then I'd go back to the Oilers almost with a sense of weird relief, even as they made me cry a few times. There was no way to be as sure of what would happen with them as I felt with the Sox.

And then I realized that there really is such a thing as winning too much.

I always hated the Yankees and their fans (our Falmes analogs all the way) for the bizarre sense of entitlement they projected. During the late 90's it was pretty unbearable. It was assumed the team was going to the World Series every year and anything short of that was complained about bitterly by fans and press alike, like something had been stolen from them. How dare other teams take away their rightful glory! I cheered for the late 90's Red Sox like crazy and hoped for every sign of Yankees collapse and hubris coming due. The 2004 World Series seemed like a dream come true (since 1918, people!) and last year's win was exhilarating too. But with two WS under our belts in four years, I'm a little worried that Red Sox Nation is becoming a little too... entitled. We expect a winning team every year now, and gotten accustomed and even a bit inured to consistent excellence.

This year's Oilers were anything but consistent except in one category: fun. They have been consistently fun, and it's been a pleasure and a privilege to watch a fine crop of rookies mature over their first NHL season. They've broken my heart more times than I can count, but I've watched every game in total suspense and often incredulity.

I'm not getting MLB Extra Innings this year. I'm sure the Sox will have a great season and I'll enjoy a lot of games on ESPN but whatever they do, I doubt they'll surprise me. It's not their fault: it's a structural thing.

The Oilers were not always good this year, but they kept it interesting. Thanks boys, for a year full of surprises. And I bet your Moms are proud.

(I will be posting at least once a week during the off-season, with a few surprises of my own.)