Another National Hockey League season is in the can. Here are a couple of random thoughts.
It’s always nice when the veterans who win the Cup for the first time, get the hand off from the Captain.
Last night it was 40-year-old Kimmo Timonen. The D-man played seven shifts for just over three and a half minutes in game six. Not much ice time, and he joked before the game he just wanted to make sure the water bottles were full. But after 17 years of chasing the dream, and up 2-0 late in third he started to tear up on the bench, knowing he would touch the trophy.
The Hawks also welcomed the wife and four children of former assistant equipment manager Clint Reif on the ice for the celebration. The 34-year-old had been with the team for nine years, before committing suicide right before Christmas.
It would have been better for the game had Tampa won the title. The Hawks and Kings have won five of the last six. It’s time for some fresh blood. The speedy Bolts were felled by injuries and some veteran savvy. They’ll be tough to topple if healthy.
Finally, the hockey season is too long. The playoffs are a marathon and it feels like it if you are a fan. The opening two weeks have 16 teams full of optimism. I wish you could bottle the opening round because it is wonderful. But ultimately to win the Cup, it is war attrition. It’s a grind to follow the tournament, let alone play in it.
If the NHL wants to add playoff teams and finish by the end of May, perhaps it is time to start in September and make the opening two rounds a best-of-five series. Further examination of that to come.