Posted on: March 1, 2008 12:32 pm
ast night at the Bank Atlantic Office Depot National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Fla., I was treated to a rare occasion. The Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild were in town for a date against the Florida Panthers. The Wild came in with five straight wins against the Panthers and were 5-1-1 all-time in the series.
Anyway, it was rather surprising to me to see all of the Wild sweaters bouncing around the building. I thought for sure that they would be rather scant, with perhaps occasional North Stars colors popping up here or there. Sure enough, Minnesota fans were rocking their colors and I saw quite a bit of the sweater which is starting to grow on me.
I like the brand of hockey that the Wild employ. In addition, it was nice to see knowledgeable fans who sit and actually watch the action, not needing endless other diversionary antics to keep them into the game. Plus, they have some skillful players too, from Marian Gaborik to Pavol Demitra to Niklas, don't spell my name Nicklas, Backstrom. He is a quality backstop. Unfortunately, Derek Boogaard was out with a back injury. He is one of my favorite players in the league. The teams also got to see Olli Jokinen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard skate against each other, two names bandied about at the trade deadline who might have been wearing the opposing sweater.
All in all, it was an enjoyable night. It was my second straight Panthers game and a similar fate - a one-goal loss. It seems that the Panthers have been just a little short, as they try to avoid missing the playoffs for the 12th time in the past 15 years. Meanwhile, the Wild picked up their 77th point to get to the top of the Northwest Division.
I wish that the unbalanced schedule would be done away with so I can see the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, etc. on a more regular basis. Hell, I even went to see the Los Angeles Kings last time they were in town.
Don't penalize me because I live in Florida. Trust me, no offense to the Atlanta Thrashers or Carolina Hurricanes, but it gets boring seeing those teams come in all the time.
Posted on: February 24, 2008 3:54 pm
Well, I have been a Toronto Maple Leafs fan since I was little. There is just something about the city and the team. When I visited Toronto, I fell in love. I grew up in Cleveland and we lost our hockey team in the late 1970's, so I was basically a free agent. I cheered for the Edmonton Oilers initially, as anyone growing up and watching Wayne Gretzky was really in for a treat. However, I remember being 15 and having two teams...I was on vacation in Seattle with my parents and the Los Angeles Kings acquired Gretzky in a mammoth trade and the days of my Oilers cheering was over. I was then a Maple Leafs fan through and through, 20 years ago this year. How time flies...
Anyway, I've been a big fan of captain Mats Sundin, No. 13. He has been a fantastic player since his acquisition from the Quebec Nordiques back on June 28, 1994. People forget, we got Sundin AND Todd Warriner and Garth Butcher - lol. However, the price tag was simply Wendel Clark, who returned later, Sylvain Lefebvre and Landon Wilson. There was also a swap of first-round picks. In any event, not a bad deal for 14 years of devoted service from Captain Clutch.
Sundin has more goals than any other Maple Leafs player, passing Darryl Sittler for the franchise lead in just the second game this season. On Nov. 27, he potted his 400th goal with the Leafs, a record that might never be broken again.
The Big Swede has managed 548 goals and 1,305 points in 1,294 NHL games in 17 seasons, 13 with the Leafs. Now, it appears as the floundering Maple Leafs are in the basement of the Northeast Division and getting older by the minute, Mats Sundin has played his final game in the mighty blue and white.
It looks like No. 13 is going to be moved to a team out west, perhaps the Anaheim Ducks or San Jose Sharks. I've heard rumors of Bobby Ryan, a huge prospect, being included in the deal. The Leafs really do need to get younger. However, when I am not watching the Leafs in the playoffs, as there is virtually no chance they can qualify, I will still be cheering. Cheering for Sundin, hoping he can finally find that elusive Stanley Cup, even if it is in another NHL city.
Posted on: February 22, 2008 2:42 am
I forget what rap song I've stolen that from...if anyone knows, clue me in. Anyway, enough about rap. That music is like kryptonite to the hockey fan and I guess that's what I am tonight. I recently grabbed superstar status from my favorite sports site, CBSSports.com, which I used to visit a lot more frequently in the past.
I glogged portions of the second period of the St. Louis-Los Angeles game tonight, mainly to prove a point. I haven't watched hockey since Oct. 26, although I did go to one game in person thanks to a former co-worker who will remain nameless. He couldn't use two tickets he had acquired, so I gladly accepted and watched a Buffalo-Florida game which was very entertaining.
However, I've been a big NBA fan lately. I've been to games in New Orleans and Miami and plan to visit the American Airlines Arena on March 7 when B-Diddy, Baron Davis for people who are not street like me, and the Golden State Warriors pay a visit.
Also in the cards, I am going to the Sweet 16/Elite 8 matchups at Ford Field in Detroit and Darlington in May. You can take certain things away from me, but I'll find a way. Some people understand what that means, some might not. However, it is great being a sports fan again and enjoying life. I forget how much I missed it after taking some time off.
I am thankful I am a superstar, too - lol. Hopefully there is more to come.