This contribution to journalism doesn't have anything to do with high school sports. But I'm a sports fan--all sports--and I have said for years that there isn't anything more exciting that the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And they are more exciting this year than ever before.
Yes, the Stanley Cup playoffs are more exciting that the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA finals, World Cup, Final Four, Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, Daytona 500, Wimbledon and the Masters.
Call me delusional but unless you have watched a Stanley Cup, you aren't in a position to make an objective comparison.
Chances are you haven't been watching the Stanley Cup. Maybe you haven't even been watching the Blackhawks. But before you measure me for a rubber suit, before you dismiss ice hockey as something that only Canadians care about, spend an evening watching Chicago/San Jose or Montreal vs. Boston or Philadelphia.
If you watched Montreal/Washington, Montreal/Pittsburgh, Detroit/Vancouver, Boston/Philadelphia, Chicago/Nashville or Chicago/Vancouver, you know what I mean. If you didn't, watch the semifinals and the Stanley Cup final. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
The Stanley Cup is unlike any other sporting event--no TV timeouts, end-to-end and continuous action, no letup, no fights, great skating, great teamwork, lots of physical play, no stalling, great goal-tending, Pat Foley, Doc Emerick, Eddie Olcyzk. You may not know the names but you will appreciate the intense competition.
I was bitten by the hockey bug in the 1960s when I worked at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The St. Louis Blues were building a strong team behind veteran goalie Glenn Hall and they challenged the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. Montreal won but Hall was the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the finals.
Those were the Canadiens of legend, the Flying Frenchmen, the team that has won more world championships than any other professional franchise with the exception of the New York Yankees, the team of the Richard brothers, Plante, Dryden, Roy, Belliveau, Moore, Geoffrion, LeFleur, Cornouyer, Gainey, Robinson, Mahovlich.
Now the franchise is full of fresh faces. But the tradition goes on and on. They don't play in the old Forum any longer. But the ghosts of the legendary players of the past are giving the latest generation a push in the right direction--into the net.
In the wake of the Bears' less-than-thrilling season and the so-so Bulls, with the Cubs and White Sox struggling, it lifts the spirit to see the young and exciting Blackhawks advancing toward hockey's Holy Grail, Lord Stanley's Cup.