NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NHL won't win fans with this dreck

Observers crushed by sheer boredom

  • Print

The Twitter-verse was fairly exploding over the fireworks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

Shortly after New Jersey Devils' Anton Volchenkov was credited with a goal that bounced in off the chest of Los Angeles Kings defenceman Slava Voynov, and narrowly missed the head of Patrik Elias, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette penned: "The Devils surge late in the second cements this game's place as the best in the series so far."

This was after the Devs peppered Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with three shots in the middle frame.

When the game headed into overtime, Dave Shoalts of the Globe and Mail posted: "Oh boy. More of this in overtime. Both teams will really let it all hang out then."

Here was our contribution: "Geez, hope they don't go into a defensive shell in OT."

This was after the Kings outshot -- if that's the right term -- the Devils 22-15 in regulation.

And, when it was all over, Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe offered this: "Love hockey. Just didn't find much entertainment in Game 1."

Maybe that wasn't as funny as some of the other tweets, but it summed up the evening perfectly.

Game 1 is now in the books and the hockey world is left to wonder what its marquee event will produce. Opening night was an eyesore.

There was no offence, no creativity and no flow. True, there was some dramatic tension because of the score and the table stakes, but even the most ardent fan would struggle to invest 3 1/2 hours of his life in that tractor pull.

And one other thing. It's about the quality of the ice.

"It was like playing with a tennis ball, quite honestly," said Kings captain Dustin Brown.

Come to think of it, that might improve things. Most who care for this game have been waiting, hoping, for these playoffs to produce something, anything to catch our attention, but since the first round it's been one crashing disappointment after another.

OK, the Kings and Phoenix Coyotes have provided nice storylines, and the Devils have had their moments, but as far as the game on the ice, there's been precious little to draw fans to the NHL's product.

Maybe, as some suggested, Game 1 was a feeling-out process and this series will produce something worth watching.

But, in getting to the final, the league has used up its allotment of goodwill. As was the case with Game 1, this series is in danger of turning into the punchline for a joke and that's not a healthy situation.

Now, that's bad enough. But travel down the dial and you see what the NHL is up against in the NBA playoffs.

If you haven't been watching the San Antonio Spurs, you've been missing something special. The Spurs were 10-0 in the playoffs before Thursday night's Game 3 in Oklahoma City and had won 20 straight games going back to the regular season.

But that still doesn't tell the whole story. The Spurs play a game that's so skilful, so unselfish and, in the end, so pleasing, it reminds you of why we watch team sports. They have great stars in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They have a Hall-of-Fame coach in Gregg Popovich. But it is the sum of the parts that is the real story with the Texans.

In a stunning display to open the third quarter of Game 2, the Spurs hit on nine of their first 11 shots, including five-of-five from the three-point line. But it's the way they were scoring which was so thrilling.

The ball seldom hit the court. The players were constantly moving and cutting. Open shots were passed up for better open shots and that was true of Duncan and Ginobili just as it was true of Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard.

By the end of the third the Spurs had reduced the Thunder to hacking the immortal Tiago Splitter in an effort to get the ball back. This is the Thunder, the team of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, maybe the most explosive team in the Association. And they couldn't play the game at the Spurs' level.

The point, of course, is hockey offers those elements when its played at its highest purpose. There is speed and skill, teamwork and individuality, and it's all set against a backdrop of violence which enhances the show.

That, at least, is when the game's played at its best. You just hope you get to see that before this season ends.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2012 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Glenn January won't blame offensive line for first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google