Tag Archives: Stanley Cup

St. Louis Blues could make history in unusual fashion

I need to stipulate that I am not a hockey fan. I don’t watch hockey matches often. I don’t know most of the teams in the National Hockey League, nor am I even aware of most of the NHL’s top players.

But … I know a little about league history, which brings me to this point: The St. Louis Blues lead the Boston Bruins three games to two in the Stanley Cup finals series and are poised to win the Cup. If they win, they will make history in a most unusual fashion. I now will explain.

The Blues came into the NHL in 1967 when the league expanded from six teams to 12. The NHL then had the horrible sense to put all the new teams into one division and all the original hockey teams into the other.

The newbies then would play their season, along with the oldies. The newbies all had losing regular-season records. The Blues were the best of a bad bunch of teams in that initial 1967-68 season.

They qualified for the Stanley Cup finals in 1968, 1969 and 1970.

The Montreal Canadiens swept the Blues in four straight games in the first two Cup finals; the Bruins scored a 4-0 sweep in 1970, which the latest time the Blues made the finals. That was 49 years ago, man! Three Cup finals and the Blues were zero-for-12 in all of ’em.

The NHL finally woke up to the travesty it created with its goofy alignment after expansion, moving the Chicago Black Hawks into the newbie division for the 1970-71 season. Well, over time the new franchises got up to speed and have been quite competitive.

However, if the Blues win the Stanley Cup over the Bruins they will have erased a 49-year blot on the franchise’s record.

For that reason alone, I am pulling for the Blues to bring home the Stanley Cup and swill the beer that will fill it.

Happy Trails, Part 21

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Our retirement journey has taken us to the Country Music Capital of the Known Universe.

That would be Nashville, home of the Grand Ol’ Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, The Hermitage and hordes of people having a good time.

Our campsite was in a ‘burb about 10 miles or so north of the big city. It’s crowded, but the folks on all sides of us are wonderfully nice, accommodating and, in some cases, willing to accept our help when they pull in. We’ve had to move our big ol’ pickup a couple of times to make room.

One of the RV campsite owners ventured by to ask if there’s anything she could do. I said no. We were fine. But I asked: “Do the folks over there, right next to the railroad tracks, get a break because of the train noise?” Her answer: “What train?” which was her way of saying, “Nope, they don’t get a break on the price.”

That’s really all right. We were camped about 200 feet from the tracks and to be candid, by the second night we managed to tune out the roar of the locomotives barreling through on the high-speed tracks.

I’m glad to be shoving off on our way to Washington, D.C., where more adventures await as we visit a couple of family members. Why? This weekend figures to be utter bedlam in Music City, where Nashville is playing host to two huge events: the Country Music Awards festival downtown and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoff between the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We ventured down there with friends we met here on a weekday afternoon, with people still at work. I’m trying to fathom the chaos that will ensue on Friday night — and then the next night when they play that hockey game at the arena downtown.

I’m going to pray for them all.

Meanwhile, our adventure continues — elsewhere.

What to call college football's big game?

I might be breaking some new ground here, but a thought occurs to me regarding the Big Game set for Monday night to determine the best college football team in the country.

The game doesn’t have a catchy name. You know, like the Super Bowl?

My Oregon Ducks are going to play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first-ever college football playoff championship game. It needs something catchy.

Let’s flash back for a moment to the first Super Bowl, played in 1967. It wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. It carried the clunky name of “AFL-NFL Championship Game.” The American Football League champs that year were the Kansas City Chiefs; representing the National Football League were the Green Bay Packers.

The Pack won 35-10 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, which was about two-thirds full for the biggest game in pro football history.

The AFL and the NFL played three more interleague championship games before the leagues merged in 1970. But someone came up with the name “Super Bowl” in time for the 1968 game between the Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

I’m open for suggestions on what to call the college football equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Heck, college basketball has its March Madness and its Final Four; Major League Baseball has its World Series; college baseball has its College World Series; hockey fans know the title series of their sport simply as the Stanley Cup.

The NCAA has come up with a marketing winner with this college football playoff. It figures to smash TV-viewing records Monday night.

So … let’s give college football’s big game a name to make it — and us — all proud.

Oh, before I forget: Go Ducks!


Handshake line gets bruised

Over many years I’ve grown tired of all the fighting in professional hockey.

Therefore, I’ve lost interest in the game. I always have liked, though, the tradition that is unique to that sport: the handshake line.

It’s when opposing players line up to shake each other’s hands and, presumably, wish them well with a “Good game, eh?”

Then something else happened this week after a Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins game. Boston player Milan Lucic decided he hadn’t expressed his hard feelings sufficiently at the opposing team, so he took it out on them during the handshake at the end of the game.


Several of the Canadiens, who had eliminated the Bruins from the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 win, reported that Lucic threatened at least one of the players.

What a disgrace.

We’ve lost civility on so many levels in contemporary society: so many of our various art forms have become coarse and crass; certainly our politics has become far less congenial; professional sports is known for its show-offs, showboats, its trash-talkers and its violence (e.g., professional hockey).

Isn’t the time-honored pro hockey handshake line immune from this kind of behavior?

Obviously not.