At Long Last – Hockey!
Finally, the night I’ve been counting down to for about 72 days has arrived! A lot has happened in the post-season, both good and bad (unfortunately, mostly bad) but the hockey world is tough, as are its fans. What I’m really looking forward to seeing is Markov back on the ice. If anything, to put to rest all those ridiculous rumours that he won’t be returning this season. Swelling in the knee is normal, especially after 2 surgeries. Let’s take Price’s famous words of last year’s exhibition game “chill out” and apply them directly to Markov’s situation. Wait and see if he’s back on the ice before feeding the rumour mill. Wait for the season, forget the pre-season. Hey, we’ve done great with or without him. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a great addition to the lineup but we can’t expect great things from him so soon, after such a long hiatus. Besides honing their strengths and working on their weaknesses, the team also needs to find the chemistry between players for teamwork to translate to success. In his absence, the team loses a great defenseman with scoring ability and agility. Only a handful of players in history could match his talents. Hopefully, the injuries are over for him and he gets to retire from simply being too old to play anymore and not ending his career due to injury.
I understand that exhibition games are practice games that don’t count toward anything, and that it’s for players, coaches, and the organization to test where a team is at on all levels, playing against other teams. Why allow fans to watch these games, knowing full well what they expect from the teams? Simply put – we want to see them perform at their best, period. Exhibition or playoff. If I did a half-assed job just because it didn’t count towards “employee of the year”, what would that say about my work ethic? From October to April (and possibly longer), they play for status and the Stanley Cup. In the 8 or so games in the pre-season, we’re expected to treat it as though it’s just a practice game? Hell no! If the game is televised and 22,000 ticketholders are filling the Bell Center, I think I speak for a lot of those fans when I say “we want to see them perform”! Price, as one of my favorite Habs, often says things that I laugh and agree with (he’s quite entertaining), though it’s hard for me to understand the mindset that goes along with what he said in his defense last year “”Relax, chill out. We’ve got lots of time. We’re not winning the Stanley Cup in the first exhibition game.”. Of course you’re not but there’s a difference between a practice game and an exhibition game. Fans watch exhibition games. We’re paying hefty ticket prices and buying over-inflated prices for jerseys and merchandise. Sometimes, I get it. So many back-to-back games, they can afford to take certain teams lightly. Never the Bruins though! Our historic arch-rivals! Price, dude, it was against the Bruins! Need I remind you of how much we hate (no, despise) the Bruins?
I will always see the game from a fan’s perspective, I expect nothing less than 100%. Always.