Thursday, June 7, 2007

"just another day in SoCal"


So said Jim Rome today, as he was doing his reset on last night's Stanley Cup clinching game by the Anaheim Ducks.

Was it me, or did the crowd enthusiasm and joy resemble something like... the Buffalo Bandits winning the Champions Cup (1996). Or... the Buffalo Bisons clinching the Governors Cup on home field (2004). Sure it was great. Sure it was fun. We all cheered, they played Queen, the players paraded around wth their trophy, and we all went home.

I watched much of the game, and imagined what it would have been like if this had been Buffalo, running away with game 5 and poised to clinch the Cup themselves. The crowd would have been on their feet with 10 minutes to go... the noise would have been deafening... the crescendo would have built louder and louder and louder... As the game ended people would have been hugging, grown men would have been weeping. It would have been a moment that our city had never experienced. This entire community would have exploded in utter joy and jubilation.

And the same would have been true in Ottawa... heck it would have been a national holiday all across Canada today.

But in SoCal, it was just another day.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman came across as a stupid whiney simp on the ice, pandering to the SoCal crowd and doing a lousy job at it. His awkward handoff of the Stanley Cup to Scott Niedermayer looked awful.

And did I see the Ducks unfurl their championship banner in the rafters as soon as the game ended? So much for tradition and ceremony and a formal banner raising event in the fall.

This might sound like sour grapes, but I couldn't care less about anybody with a "Buffalo connection" and how happy they are. But that won't stop everyone in the media around here from running over to the Marchants this summer to get a glimpse of the Cup and the obligatory sound bites of how proud the parents are and grinning neighbors up in Clarence or wherever saying how cool it is that the Cup is on the street. Please spare me!

And no, I am not happy for Brad May... I always regarded him as a borderline psychopath, especially since the time he broke Derek Plante's nose (deliberately) the season after he left Buffalo. I mean, how do you do that to an ex-teammate who you played alongside with and showered with and traveled with. I think he is a few pieces of chicken short of a picnic basket.

Another day in SoCal... yet how sad that in places in Buffalo, other peer hockey markets that are equally as rabid, and wannabe NHL cities the moment would have meant so much more.

7 comments:

dave in Rocha said...

It's now been 5 years since a city that gave a shit won the Cup (Detroit in '02). No, I don't consider the Devils' "fanbase" to be one that gives a shit.

I really think that it does a disservice to the NHL to have SportsCentre show highlights of the parade and celebration by the Cup-winning city that feature 5,000 people in a parking lot. That reinforces people's perception that no one cares about hockey, even in places that win it all.

It's getting to the point where I don't even care if it IS Detroit again next year (as long as they don't beat us in the Finals), so long as people care.

Not that I'm saying that the Ducks, as a team, don't deserve it. They played their asses off and are really good (if not a bit too thuggish). They definitely played the best hockey this postseason. And hey, at least they didn't win it in purple sweaters with a cartoon character on the front. It's just a shame they're in the market they're in. Just imagine if Burke was hired by, say, the Blackhawks instead of the Ducks a couple years ago. That move would have been much more beneficial to the league as a whole.

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