I woke up this morning looking forward to two things in sports. One is the basketball game tonight in Boston. The other is the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It couldn't matter less to me at this point who wins, although I suppose it's possible that the inevitability of a Kings win plays some part in my apathy.
I wrote about this subject a couple of weeks ago and don't intend a thorough rehash here. I remain open to the possibility that there are many factors that have resulted in my boredom with the hockey playoffs this year. The least of which is almost certainly not the bad taste left in my mouth from a disappointing season by the Sabres..
But you know what? Enough of the excuses. I'm guilty of over thinking a lot of this stuff too often. The hockey sucks right now. That, more than any of the other factors is the biggest problem. When it can be regularly pointed out that one team or the other has gone 10 minutes or more without a shot on goal, you have a problem. Few who cover hockey want to dump all over it's marquee event, but it might as well be 1999 all over agiain.
I reference the last time the Sabres were there because while it was going on we were completely wrapped up in how great it was. That's what happens when it's your team. You don't see the game for what it is, which is a boring series where the highlights are how many shots Craig Ludwig can block with his giant shin-pads the size of snow plows and who can get away with the most interference. Seriously, have you ever watched any of those games back? I have. Removed from the drama of having a chance to win the Cup, the games are hideous.
I realize you can't entirely remove the drama and maybe that's getting it done for you while the Devils and Kings bear-hug each other all over the ice. Recently, Flyers/Blackhawks and Red Wings/Penguins twice provided much more in the way of good, entertaining hockey and I didn't really give a lick who won those series. Too bad they didnt make it. Maybe the Penguins need to teach Malkin and Crosby how to block more shots and interfere more effectively.
Furthermore, the Sabres would have, to varying degrees, been a pretty big disappointment each of those years as well. So the disillusion because my team sucks explanation doesn't really hold up either.
If you're enjoying this, I'm glad for you. Really I am. I hate it and can't wait until its over.
The basketball on the other hand has totally got me. Tuesday night I could not turn off Celtics/ Heat. Not that I turn off the hockey games. They usually do just put me to sleep, literally. Ok, not exactly. Confession time. The hockey has so bored me at times that when the games are going to overtime I say to myself, "well, there's only going to be one more goal" and hit the DVR. Think about that. You might think I'm just being lazy, or old, or tired. I was all of those things watching Celtics/Heat and despite knowing the final 2-minutes would take 20-minutes to play, I was wide awake.
With the Celtics and the Heat I've got aging champions with an incredible younger talent in Rondo against the delusional dream team from Miami. Maybe delusional is pushing it, but they are on the ropes here in year two of what was supposed to be an annual parade to, well, a parade. Rooting against Lebron James feels as good as rooting for a great player to fail possibly can. That alone would have probably drawn me in. Adding Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo to the party gets it done in a big way.
Stars, baby. I know those guys. Last year, when the Heat were losing to Dallas, I knew who Dirk Nowitzki was and the idea of his finally showing off his incredible talent was an easy point of entry into the NBA Finals despite not really fiollowing the game all season. Anze Kopitar doesn't do the same thing for me even though I am a much bigger hockey fan than I am a basketball fan.