Yay! The Canes Win...score one for a state that could give two shits about hockey!!!
I know that this sounds like bitching about the state of hockey, but the fact is that this would be very easy to swallow if the Canes were still the Whalers and were above the Mason-Dixon Line.
Seriously, I dont want this to sound like a Teddy Montgomery statement of the obvious, but the fact remains, there are more people interested in the amount of sweat that comes off of JJ Reddick's testicles, during a Carolina-Duke game than accomplishing a feat of winning the oldest trophy in sports in the state of North Tobacco.
I feel for the Oiler fans. They are great fans. Knowledgable. Passionate. Somewhat crazy. Know how to throw a post-game party. Really the whole city and province of Alberta cares about hockey. Even Calgary or Vancouver fans, though they would never admit it on record, were probably pulling for the Oil to come through in game 7. Why? To bring that Cup back to Canada. Some silly Canadians think that is where it belongs. However, what these Canadians dont realize that there are cities in the US that are worthy of Cup-sitting for a year. There are the obvious cities like Detroit, Boston, Hartford (oops!), Chicago (No worries as long Billy is the owner), and even St. Louis (Hey Keith! Stop trying to eat small babies for lunch and in between periods..See Mickelson Reference on A2Y). However, there are some cities that are making strives in fandom and true appreciation for the great sport that we all love..or should love unless they are unfortunate to have some chemical imbalance that makes them crave sports that require timing of pit stops and left-turns of all varieties. You know who you are....
I wonder if they'll show the Duke game on the big screen tonight?
Case in point, I currently am employed by a company that is based in High Point, NC (Right outside of Greensboro, NC). I think out of the 300 people that work in the corporate office, only about 4-5 people could name more than 3 players from the Hurricanes. This is not exactly a Gallup Poll or anything, but I should be able to find more than 2 people that realize Rod Brinda'mour is a heckuva hockey player (This is karma taking another shot at Bobby Clarke for the whole 72 Summit Series thingy dingy. Dont worry Bob the hockey gods arent done with you yet.)
The Columbus Union Soldier References
Next year we're playing outside...and bringing back Deron Quint (God help us all!!)
Up and coming hockey cities, obviously I am biased, but the Columbus loves its team and cares about its success. There are still a large number of Red Wing and Penguins fans in the central Ohio area, but the number seems to dwindling with each passing year. Having previously been a season ticket holder for the CBJ, I have been witness to the transition. I can remember the first regular season game against the Red Wings at Nationwide arena. The local Red Wing fans came into our flashy new arena, which was quite an experience for them as the JLA, despite its history, is a bit of a craphole. They basically took it over, which was understandable. A franchise with a great deal of history and recent success over the last 10 years and a lineage of great players that have defined the NHL including Howe, Sawchuck, Lindsay, Able, Yzerman, and dare I say Peter Klima. That franchise's history and rabid fans dominated the Red Wing to CBJ proportion in the arena. What was once a 70/30 split for Detroit in Columbus' home arena in the year 2000 is now 80/20 in 2006 in favor of Columbus. The local children's and adult hockey leagues have also grown by leaps and bounds. This transition has finally grown to another level of maturity within the city as the CBJ have successfully acquired a USHL team to play in Columbus. This city will be a hockey power within the next 10-15 years, as the infrastrucutre has been put in place similar to that of Illitch's and Karmanos' commitment to Detroit's youth hockey program. Look for the first player to come out of the Columbus youth hockey program in the relatively near future. For the haters out there that dont think its possible, look at every other major sport (sans Baseball) at the high school level. Ohio produces top-notch Football and Basketball talent each year. As soon as the interest in hockey increases, which it will with likes of the Fritsche brothers (Parma) and hopefully a consistent OSU Hockey Program, Columbus will turn into hockey hotbed just like Detroit.
Other teams worth mentioning:
The Nashville Biting Tootoos
As much as I hate to say it, you can throw Nashville into this category as well. Rabid fanbase with very recent success giving the Wings all they could handle in the 2004 playoffs. Can country music personas and hockey mix?
"We have the facts and we're voting Yes."
The Minnesota NorthWild
Minnesota is a given for a successful franchise. But I have a serious question. Why did NorthStars leave the Twin Cities in the first place?
I'm going on record. Modano's appearance in this movie was the catalyst that brought hockey to Dallas. FU Eisner.
All in all it was a good season and like I have said a few times in previous posts, it was too bad that this playoff season was not as accessible as previous years, while on OLN. It was a great playoff and seriously...congrats to the Carolina Hurricanes the 2006 Stanley Cup Champions.
Labels: My NHL