For one night the NHL gets it right...

 

It’s tough being a hockey fan. The League does everything in its power to screw thing up with strikes or lockouts every 8 to 10 years. For the longest time you couldn't find it on TV, some channel in the 600's I think. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman makes Bud Selig look like Kennesaw Mountain Landis. And it's impossible to be a hockey fan in Atlanta since we lost our team twice in 30 years. The most recent dimwit owners The Atlanta Spirit LLC couldn't tell the difference between a Zamboni and a salami. And for those wondering where this blog is coming from since we really don't give a puck on our show anymore since the Thrashers departure, I just had to write about last night's game 7 in Boston. With apologies to Gwinnett Gladiators fans, I'm sure it's an entertaining product but I'm not schlepping up I-85 to watch minor league hockey, let alone talk about it on the radio. Every time I mention hockey on the air I sense the sound of radios clicking off all over our fair city. I'm passionate about rugby and Formula One but I'm not going to waste 790 listener’s time with that either...

 

But...last night two of the Original Six hooked up in an epic game 7. The Bruins came back from being down 3 goals with less than 15 minutes left in the 3rd period. Nobody does that, literally! According to the nerds at the Elias Sports Bureau the Bruins are the first team to win a game 7 after trailing by 3 goals in the 3rd period in NHL history. Not to mention Boston scored 2 goals in the last minute and a half with Patrice Bergeron tying the game with just :51 left. Bergeron who had been MIA for much of the series scored the game winner in OT. The TD Garden went bananas while in Toronto thousand of fans who had gathered in Maple Leaf Square to watch the game on giant screens stood there in stunned silence. Nice job by NBC Sports Network to cut to the crowd reaction shots. No riots, no burning police cars. The Maple Leaf fans shuffled into the night like blue and white clad zombies. They hadn't been to the playoffs since 2004, and after being up by 3 goals the celebration had begun in Toronto and why wouldn't it...just to be punched in the gut by the Bruins improbable comeback.

 

Meanwhile The Rangers exorcised some bad team history by winning a game 7 on the road for the first time ever. Before last night's win over the Caps in DC the Broadway Blues were 0-5 in game sevens outside Madison Square Garden. The star Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist, with back to back shutouts for the Rangers who made their own improbable comeback after being down 3 games to 2. This game had none of the drama of the Bruin-Maples Leafs game. The Rangers were in control from the opening face off while Russian super star Alex Ovechkin and his Cap teammates seemed to be disinterested. When the Rangers Ryan Callahan lit the lamp just 13 seconds into the 3rd to make it 4-0 the Caps were finished.

 

So we get another match up of Hockey's first 6 teams this time with the Rangers and the Bruins who haven't faced each other in The Stanley Cup Playoffs since Nixon was in The White House. Just what the NHL needed, after a shortened season driven by brain dead management and union leadership we are finally getting a fantastic payoff. NBC is killing it with their coverage. Doc Emrik is as good as it gets with the play by play. I know hockey is an acquired taste in these parts, but this Boston-New York battle will be worth watching. And let’s be honest, with the exception of The Golden State-Spurs series, the NBA product has been hot garbage this post season. And with Baseball entrenched in its meaningless endless season, the NHL has got some juice. Hockey has a chance to step out from the shadows. Let’s hope they don't blow it.

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