Pete Choquette's blog
Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on their victory in Game 7 tonight. I didn't think the Bruins had much of a chance going into this season and, on paper, their victory certainly seemed an impossibility once they lost one of their top line forwards, Nathan Horton, to injury for the series. But, games aren't played on paper, and the Bruins were able to get the Canucks so far out of their character that by the end of the series the Canucks looked like a shadow of the team that won the President's Trophy.
As a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, it makes the 1-0 Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals sting that much more. I'll probably go to my grave believing that with one more day's worth of rest the Lightning would've had enough in the tank to take the Bruins out. And, to see how poorly Vancouver played in this series, it's hard not to think the Lightning might very well have been the team lifting the Stanley Cup at the end of this series had they just had the chance to play for it. It's a thought that hurts badly, but it's also a thought that makes me anxious for next season and I suspect will motivate the Lightning's players returning for next year to know it was that close and to take care of the business that was left unfinished.
The only other player even close to as underrated in Lightning history is probably Jassen Cullimore, in my humble opinion.
The Calgary Flames today decided to remove the "Acting" tag from former Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster's title, naming him the team's full-time General Manager. BoltProspects has been very fortunate over the years to have the support and cooperation of many wonderful people in the sport of hockey, but none was as important or as generous in the early years of the website as Jay Feaster. He truly is one of the nicest and most honest people in professional sports today, and we wish him all the luck in the world in Calgary, with the obvious caveats when the Flames play the Lightning.
Nevermind the fact the Lightning beat the Bruins in attendance 5 out of the last 8 seasons. Nevermind the fact the attendance spread was less than 300 per game between the two teams this year (yes, yes, we know the Bruins play their games in a shoebox that doesn't seat nearly as many people as the Forum). Nevermind the fact tickets for Game 3, Game 4, and Game 6 in Tampa sold out in minutes today. Congratulations to the Bruins marketing department for racing head long into the gutter by playing the elitist Northern hockey fan card, thereby reducing a proud Original Six franchise to the level of a third rate sports radio lunkhead trying to drum up ratings by appealing to the lowest common denominator.
It's on, now.
I realize the NHL has spent a lot of time and money in marketing Alexander Ovechkin as the Russian Magic Johnson to Sidney Crosby's Larry Bird. I also realize that Ovechkin is one of the 2 or 3 purest goal scorers in the NHL today, right along side the likes of the Lightning's own Steven Stamkos and the enigmatic Ilya Kovalchuk of the Devils. However, what I hope the Lightning's sweep of the Capitals proves to the hockey world, and whatever Madison Avenue agency is driving the NHL's marketing strategy, is that you cannot build one half of a league's marketing strategy around a player who simply does not play the game the right way and therefore cannot lead his team anywhere near a championship.
There's a lot that's been said about Ovechkin's "passion" for hockey and his "passion" for scoring goals. Is it a "passion" for hockey? Or is it a "passion" for drawing attention to Alexander Ovechkin? Is it a "passion" for scoring goals that causes this young man to disrespectfully show up his opponents every time he scores? Remember the hot stick? First off, let me say, I savor the fact that some of our guys like Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone were able to issue a check for payback, in full, for that disgusting act from just a little over 2 years ago. But let me also say, how asinine is it that a league builds half of its entire marketing strategy around a player who cares more about individual scoring accolades in the regular season, as shown by that stupid, choreographed routine in 2009, than he does about winning a championship?