Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekly Topic 1: One Round Later

As the playoffs approached I was giddy with anticipation. Like most hockey fans I love playoff hockey. One of the best parts about playoff hockey is the opportunity to watch teams that I rarely or never saw play during the regular season. Because of the time change, lack of Center Ice or the NHL Network, and the NHL schedule, I was most excited to watch the Eastern Conference playoff match ups. There wasn't one team I was most excited to watch and follow, but three players: Crosby, my favorite d-bag Avery and, of course, everyone's favorite Russian. But with one round down and three to go, I now find myself following several different players and, to my surprise, an unlikely team.

Last year I eagerly anticipated the moment when Crosby would take over the entire Senators squad. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that moment never came and I felt cheated in all the hype surrounding young Sidbits. I knew it was only his first playoff appearance and that his fellow cast was relatively young and inexperienced, but I still wanted to see more. This year I was fairly confident that I would be treated to quite a show. The only problem so far has been that unlike last season, when VS and NBC seemed to televise every single Pens/Sens game, I've only seen one game, the first game of the series. Maybe I would have seen more if the Sens had actually won a game, but I won't blame them because at least they made the post season unlike a certain team that likes to make a habit of ending the hockey season early. In the only game I was able to watch, I was slightly disappointed with Crosby's production. He was still noticeably good, but Evgeni Malkin stole the show that game and I instantly became a fan of another Russian. I've heard that Crosby played particularly well in a couple other games and I'm secretly (well, not anymore) hoping that the TV guys will crawl back up Crosby's butt because I can't wait to see Crosby and Malkin tear it up in the second round.

I think my brother and I are the only Sean Avery fans left in the hockey world outside of NYC, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop liking him just because everyone else can't stand him. I laugh and smile whenever I see him annoy opponents and every time he scores or assists on a goal, I sigh and wish the Kings would bring him back. He may be childish, but he gets the job done. He may annoy the living crap out of opponents (and possibly his teammates), but he gets the job done. With NY now pitted against Pitt, I wonder how Marc-Andre Fleury will deal with his new best friend and whether Laraque and Avery will come together in a heated exchange. I can only hope that VS will capture every single word those two spit at each other because I bet they could outdo Mara and Ruff.

I didn't catch too many VS games this past season which meant I saw Ovechkin play maybe one or two times this year. I didn't think the Caps had a shot at making the post season but once they clinched a spot I couldn't wait for the Philly/Wash showdown because I knew those games would be televised. But after watching several games I found myself not only anticipating every time Ovechkin touched the puck, but also squeeing whenever Briere and Lupul were on the ice. Even though I predicted, before the playoffs began, that Washington would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals (and I wanted them to make it to the Cup Finals), by the time Game 7 rolled around I honestly couldn't decide which team I wanted to see advance. Suddenly I found the Philly squad endearing and wanted to see them win just as much as I wanted Ovie and his boys to win. It was a bittersweet moment when Dreamy-Eyes-Lupul potted the game winner in OT because I was excited to see Philly win but sad to see the Caps go home and even sadder when the camera zoomed in on a somber looking Ted Leonsis and a defeated, yet appreciative, Ovechkin.

What a difference a round makes. I'm still following Avery but Ovie is off the list, Crosby is on the fence and now I've got Malkin and the entire Philly squad on my mind. I can't believe I'm saying this, but 'Go Philly Go'!

(side note: I finally changed my blogging name from 'kms2' to 'k.m.stiles'. Feel free to use either name.)


Shan said...

Stupid Flyers.
Stupid Lupul.

Ellie said...

All that Crosby/Malkin love and you end with "Go Philly Go"?!?! Girl you need to pick a side of PA to root for and stick with it!!! : )