Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hockey: My thoughts of it and the National Hockey League (NHL) Playoffs for 2011

By Evan Troxel
Here’s something cool to think about as the weather starts to get warmer for the summer…Ice Cream.  Okay, I’m not going to be talking about food for this article.  Something cool (in Celsius or Temperature terms) to think about though is the sport of hockey.  Is it a “cool” sport or not?  Think about it.
I’m going to start this article off by typing about the National Hockey League playoffs for the 2010-2011 season.  Then I will conclude the article by typing about my thoughts hockey.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The National Hockey League Playoffs are here for 2011 and this is how everything has gone so far.
In the Eastern Conference, the #1 seeded Washington Capitals defeated the #8 New York Rangers 4 games to 1.  The Rangers won the third game of the series.  The Capitals won game one 2-1 in overtime and game four 4-3 in double overtime.  The #2 Philadelphia Flyers and the #7 Buffalo Sabres are knotted at 3 games apiece.  The Sabres won games 1, 4, and 5 and the Flyers have won games 2, 3, and 6.  In games 5 and 6 in which both games went into overtime, the Sabres won 4-3 in game 5 and the Flyers won 5-4 in game 6.
The #3 Boston Bruins lead the #6 Montreal Canadiens 3 games to 2.  Montreal won the first two games and Boston since then has won three straight.  The Bruins won games 4 and 5 respectively in overtime, 5-4 and 2-1.  The #4 Pittsburgh Penguins and the #5 Tampa Bay Lightning are knotted at 3 games apiece.  The Penguins won games 1, 3, and 4 and the Lightning won games 2, 5, and 6.  In Game 4, the Penguins won 3-2 in double overtime.
In the Western Conference, the #3 seeded Detroit Red Wings swept the #6 Phoenix Coyotes in 4 games.  The Red Wings scored at least 4 goals in every game of the series and they gave up at least 2 goals in every game of the series.  Game 2 was the closest and the Red Wings won 4-3.  The #1 Vancouver Canucks and the #8 Chicago Blackhawks are both have three wins.  The Canucks took the first three games of the series and the Blackhawks have won three straight since to even things up.  The Blackhawks won Game 6 4-3 in overtime.
The #2 San Jose Sharks defeated the #7 Los Angeles Kings 4 games to 2.  The Sharks won 3 of their 4 games in the series in overtime.  Those games were games 1, 3, and 6.  In Game 6, the Sharks won 4-3.  The Sharks also won game 4 of the series.  The #4 Anaheim Ducks lost to the #5 Nashville Predators 4 games to 2.  Nashville won games 1, 3, 5, and 6 and in game 5 Nashville won 4-3 in overtime. 
Thursday, April 28, 2011
In the Eastern Conference, the #2 Philadelphia Flyers defeated the #7 Buffalo Sabres 5-2 in Game 7 to advance to the second round of the playoffs.  The #6 Montreal Canadiens took Game 6 vs. the #3 Boston Bruins 2-1.  However, in Game 7 the Bruins prevailed in overtime 4-3 to take the series.  In Game 7, between the #4 Pittsburgh Penguins and the #5 Tampa Bay Lightning the Lightning won 1-0.
In the Western Conference, in Game 7 between the Canucks and Blackhawks the Canucks won 2-1 in overtime.
So I will now set the stage for the second round of the NHL playoffs.  In the Eastern Conference, the #1 seeded Washington Capitals will go up against the #5 Tampa Bay Lightning.  I hope the Capitals win this series.  Anyway, the #2 Philadelphia Flyers will go up against the #3 Boston Bruins and I like the Bruins in this matchup.
In the Western Conference, the #1 seeded Vancouver Canucks will vs. the #5 Nashville Predators.  I think I’ll cheer for Nashville (the team from the U.S.A.) in this matchup.  The #2 San Jose Sharks will vs. the #3 Detroit Red Wings.  I think the Red Wings look like a bunch of communists with their red home uniforms.  I like the Sharks to win this series because I like their uniform colors better (and it’s not because of the communism factor)!
Friday, April 29, 2011
I have never myself actually played hockey on ice before or used ice skates to play it.  I played hockey in P.E. class in middle school in a basketball gymnasium in which we used hockey sticks and a plastic puck.  When I play hockey I usually wear regular tennis shoes. 
One time I wore roller blades instead of tennis shoes and a baseball glove to use to imitate a goalie’s catching glove.  When I’ve played hockey with my brother we play on this concrete slab or something at home in the backyard.  The goalie box and the red and blues lines are marked by using chalk on the concrete slab.   We also have used a tennis ball instead of a puck and plastic baseball bats to imitate hockey sticks.
So, is hockey a “cool” sport?  I think it’s a warm sport if you are playing the game or watching it at home on television.  Hockey spectators are the real losers when they decide to actually watch a game live in person (unless they are constantly going to the concessions stand or the bathroom to stay warm or they were smart enough and brought cold-weather clothing).
I think it’s funny how hockey players (when they do) play outdoors on a rink that is on top of a football or baseball field.  Whatever happened to playing on a frozen lake or pond?
Playing on a rink (indoors) takes away the natural element of letting the ice temperature to change when playing outdoors.  I like the boundaries of the boards and glass on an indoor hockey rink but I don’t like the fact that the playing area is so small with how many players are always on the ice at one time.  I wish the playing area was slightly wider, maybe longer, and yet the rink keeps it oval shape with the number of players that are always on the ice at one time in a typical hockey game today.  If it’s hard to make an indoor rink any bigger then I think there should be less players on each team always playing on the ice at any one time. 
The only explanation for why any goals are scored in a hockey game anyway is because goalies aren’t allowed to “lay down” their stick to stop the puck from sliding across the ice.  Goalies are only allowed to use the shorter end of their stick to stop the puck when they have to hold onto the longer end.  I guess another explanation for why goals are scored in a hockey game is because the goalie holds onto his stick in one hand and has his glove on the other hand so it’s hard to use the glove and the stick at the same time.
The beautiful thing of hockey is the unpredictability of where the puck is going to go.  I don’t think the indoor hockey rink has an area big enough because hockey players know where the puck is going to go most of the time.  I like the fact of playing outdoors with “obstacles” or maybe just a stick or rock laying on the playing surface or a frozen plant’s top sticking out from underneath the ice vs. playing on a typical indoor rink.  Playing outdoors (as I just explained in the previous sentence) is good because hockey players don’t know where the puck is likely to go, the game pace is slowed down a little bit, and players are less aggressive.  Playing indoors quickens the pace of a game because there aren’t things on the playing surface to “suddenly” change a puck’s direction.
I think there are too many players on the ice at one time because the puck is always getting kicked with skates (when it’s not supposed to be kicked) and caught in mid-air by hockey players (not the goalies and with a gloved hand) in which they can place the puck down almost anywhere they want to on the ice.
I don’t really think hockey was intended for the violence hockey spectators typically see in a game.  For example, one hockey player “checks” another player on the opposing team by using his body and forcing the opponent up against the boards and the glass.  I think most of the time “checking” is unnecessary unless it’s to get the puck away from the opponent in the area of the puck.
I think hockey is definitely more exciting and worth playing than actually watching.  Someone who watches a hockey game on television constantly wants to know where a tiny black thing called a puck is at because it’s so hard to see.  I think watching hockey is like watching paint dry.  I have been to two Tri-City Storm hockey games before and I’d say it’s definitely worth more watching a hockey game in person than on television. 
Finally, to conclude this article, I would love to hear feedback and/or any questions, comments, or thoughts about any of my articles from the 2010-2011 school year.  If you are serious about expressing your opinion to me you can submit anything for publication consideration at npccwebzine@mpcc.edu  If your opinionated content is considered okay with “The Yard Rake” editors it will get publicized and be on this website.

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