No this is not about Sidney Crosby's little love tap to Kirk Maltby at the end of Game 1 but I bet you were thinking that. This is actually about getting caught watching the Calder Cup Finals over the Stanley Cup Finals. That's right! I wound up watching and listening to the minors over the NHL. Here is why.
As many know...I have voiced my disdain over the matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals. It is not a secret. I do not particularly care for either team and last night kind of reinforced that theory. The announcers at times could not wait to go deep throat on their favorite players. Sorry for the porntastic term there for the parents out there. I apologize.
I did join in on the Puck Daddy Live Chat yesterday evening and found myself gradually drifting over to the Manitoba-Hershey game as if by habit. I had done this before during the Eastern Conference Finals between Pittsburgh and Carolina. At that point, I was watching the Memorial Cup action as well. Congrats to the Windsor Spitfires once again for providing me great television action. One of the best Memorial Cups I have seen in awhile and this time the trophy stayed together! Let us all be thankful for that.
But as the first period of the Wings-Pens game drifted in and out of my consciousness. I was online watching more and more of the Manitoba-Hershey game. There was just something about it that the big boys were lacking. Surely hits were fierce in the SCF after one period (17-15) and yet the passion felt missing for me. But the Moose and Bears were going strong and the best was yet to come in their Game 1. Even though Manitoba is the favorite in this Calder Cup Final....Hershey has experience in this position. Michael Neuwirth kept Hershey in it...even as Manitoba was up by what seemed a safe margin in the third period. Then lightning struck err crashes. Sorry that Live song is stuck in my head.
Up 3-1 in the third...Manitoba gave up three goals in succession. Then got the fortune of more power plays than you could ever ask for. Manitoba took advantage on the 5 on 3 and tied the game at 4 with just 76 seconds to play when Maxime Fortunus (great name for this) got a lucky bounce and cashed in! The overtime was back and forth and the refs were not afraid to call penalties unlike their NHL counterparts. These were fair calls for the most part and had to be made. Finally 13:33 into OT, Alexandre Giroux who already had 2 goals on the night...poked in a chance from point blank and the Hershey team went bonkers. A joyous energy from them amidst a stunned silence at the MTS. 15.005 fans went dead quiet in an instant. Hershey took game 1 5-4 in OT and took home advantage away just like that!
Hershey wins stunner....
Back to the big boys for a second...meanwhile Detroit had scored two goals off Fleury and a heads up play by Justin Abdelkader where he grabbed the puck out of mid air while Pens players were standing around like zombies and shot the biscuit in the basket to make it 3-1. Quirky goals were the highlight of the night and bad rebound control. Not exactly the cleanest start to a Stanley Cup Finals you could ask for but maybe it is because the are back at it tonight. Who knows!
One thing is certain....I got caught red handed watching the Calder Cup Finals because even though it is mostly filled with guys who were once in the NHL and guys that likely will not make it mixed with some prospects...it had one thing the Stanley Cup Finals did not and that is excitement!!!!
Prove me wrong Stanley Cup Finals.....prove me wrong I dare you!!!!!