Did You Watch the Game Last Night?

June 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This was the question I knew I would be hearing all day long today, as the Chicago Blackhawks played in the final for the Stanley Cup last evening.

Up until last night, I had never really watched a hockey game.  I know it’s been a big deal in and around the city though, what with the Hawks being in the playoffs and all.  After my regular stint at the food pantry last night, I decided to stop in a nearby bar for a brew and a view of the game, if for no other reason than to try to see what the hype was all about.  I was not disappointed.

I watched part of the second period at the bar and realized I was actually getting into it, which surprised me just a tad.  I like to watch sports, don’t get me wrong, but I had never really thought hockey would do much for me.  When I realized I actually wanted to watch the rest of the game, I decided to book it out of the bar and power walk to the comfort of my own home (and my own free drinks).  I walked almost two miles in just over 20 minutes, so you know I was haulin’ ass.  I flipped on the game as soon as I walked in the door and caught almost the entire third period.  For those of you who didn’t watch (or simply don’t care), Philadelphia and Chicago were tied at the end of the game and so into overtime it went.  That was fine by me, because by this point I was enthralled.

I knew hockey was violent but I had no idea just how much brutality was allowed on the ice.  I must admit, I loved it.  It was hard to keep track of the puck all the time but I did my best.  While watching, I realized that I know pretty much nothing about the rules and regulations of hockey, so I also did a little light reading on Wikipedia.  Does the fact that I taught myself all about power plays make me more of a nerd?  Do I care?  Exactly.  And in case you’re wondering – a power play is when one team gets a penalty and has to send a player off the ice for a specific amount of time, while playing one short until the player gets out of the box (at least, that’s how I understood it).  My new knowledge only enhanced my game watching experience.

A few minutes into overtime, the Blackhawks scored.  The alarm failed to go off though and it seemed that only a few people on the ice were convinced there was a goal, so they replayed the shot a few times until everyone was satisfied.  Now, in my limited knowledge of hockey, I did not realize that overtime meant the game would automatically end upon the first score.  I simply thought they made a goal and would continue playing until the time ran out, so you can imagine my surprise when the announcer congratulated Chicago on bringing home the Stanley Cup.  That’s when it clicked, and I was able to properly cheer (and you can be sure I’ll never make that mistake regarding overtime again).

Chicago immediately went bat shit insane.  I was about two miles west of Wrigley Field and the news showed a huge mass of people celebrating in the streets of Wrigleyville.  Even from where I was, there were cars honking, people yelling and fireworks going off non-stop for at least an hour and a half after the game ended (could’ve been longer but, like an old lady, I had to go to bed).  Since Chicago hasn’t had the Stanley Cup since 1961, it’s apparently a big deal.  I saw more than one grown man on the news crying, which I found touching though just a tad bit awkward.  Other things I noticed:  the captain of the Hawks is what, like 22?  That’s nuts.  He must be some sort of reincarnated hockey god.  Also, one player (maybe next season I’ll start learning names) lost something like seven teeth during the playoffs.  Like I said, brutal.  But incredibly, incredibly entertaining.

I’m already looking forward to next season.  Congratulations Chicago Blackhawks, you earned it!


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