(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Way back in April, when the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, I made a prediction on Facebook that the Penguins would win the Stanley Cup by completing four consecutive four game sweeps of their Playoffs series. As a part of this prediction, I made no secret of the fact that I only really become interested in the NHL when the Playoffs begin, and only as long as the Penguins are still competing in them, and attached the hashtag of #bandwagonjumper.
Obviously, my prediction of four straight sweeps was tongue-in-cheek, and my prediction of a Cup win was at best a semi-informed one, but, hey, it's looking pretty good right now, isn't it?
I have been watching these Pens' playoff series, and I am once again impressed with what an unbelievably grueling grind it is to win the Stanley Cup. Any team that does it, regardless of whatever their regular season record may have been, truly DESERVES that Championship.
A couple of observations from a #bandwagonjumper who has been watching now for a couple of weeks....
- Doc Emerick is simply the best play-by-play announcer alive right now....any sport, any network.
- Hockey can be a wonderful game to watch, but, frankly, the goonery that pervades the NHL turns me off of it. Several times during these Playoffs - particularly in the Pens-Caps series - I have heard coaches (including Mike Sullivan) and announcers (Barry Melrose) say, when referring to dirty hits and cheap shots, words to the effect "these are the kinds of plays that we don't want in hockey". Sorry, but I am not buying it. If the NHL really wanted to get rid of that kind of play in hockey, they could and they would, but they don't, so goonery and thuggery continues to rule the day in the NHL. It's too bad, because you see how free flowing and skillful the game can be every four years in the Olympics
Okay, I will leave the discussion of the X's and O's of the game to the truly knowledgeable fans out there. As for this #bandwagonjumper, I shall be watching a cheering for a return of the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh.