Posted: June 25, 2013

The Chicago Blackhawks are your Stanley Cup champions. And they did it in highly dramatic fashion scoring 17 seconds apart very late in the third period to pry victory and a Game 7 away from the Bruins. Bickell tied it with 1:16 left and Bolland won it with 0:59 left. This created a situation where both teams pulled their goalie, which does not happen often.

Bickell’s goal did not surprise me. Teams do score on occasion with the goalie pulled and I just got the sense watching the game that Chicago was going to make a run and tie it up. It was destined for overtime. But Boston felt that way too, so once Chicago tied it, Boston did not play it out, which allowed Chicago to get the Cup winner in regulation.

Zdeno Chara picked a bad time to, in my opinion, play an awful game. It was one of the worst games that I have seen him play in awhile. All the credit goes to Chicago, as they made it happen. Tuukka Rask’s body language was not good after the tying goal, as it should not have been, but goalies need to shake it off and regroup. But much like my previous posts where I gave credit to the Boston defense, it was that defense that let Boston down in the end. Many times last night, they did not cover their area like they have done throughout the playoffs. Win as a team, lose as one.

Boston now knows how Toronto felt in their Game 7 just a few weeks back when Boston seized that game from sure defeat.

Switching gears… are any athletes tougher than hockey players? We all laughed when Claude Julien told everyone that Patrice Bergeron had a body injury and would not even narrow down to upper or lower. Turns out, he was spot on as Bergeron played Game 6 with a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles, and a separated shoulder. Body injury indeed! These injuries would keep a baseball player on the DL for the year. The list of Chicago injuries was extensive, but they are easier to take when lifting the 35 pounds of silver known as Lord Stanley’s Cup.

And is their a greater trophy in sport? I think not. Championships mean a lot in all sports, but no trophy means more than the Cup. I love the fact that players who have not earned the Cup through winning 16 games in the playoffs will not even touch it. Touching the Cup is something you earn. What a tradition!

A speaking of tradition, it cannot go without saying, that I love the handshake line. After beating the living crap out of each other, you shake hands and congratulate the victors. Sure it sucks waiting around and watching the other team celebrate, but you do it, congratulate them, and shake hands. Like men and not spoiled children.

And I will close by saying that I truly enjoyed this hockey season, despite its rough start. Oddly enough, I liked the shortened season playing against only your conference. I would not want it to be a permanent thing, but I did like it.

It was also nice that my Islanders made the playoffs. Maybe that’s why I liked the season. It could also be that we are a hockey family. My son plays ice hockey and it is the one sport that we go to and enjoy as a family, wife included. I cannot say that about any other sport. My college football obsession is mine alone. Not so with hockey.

So now we enter the void. The void is when hockey season ends and before football starts. Late August cannot get here soon enough. First stop, Gainesville, Florida. We land on September 20 and I cannot wait.

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