Monday, May 18, 2009

Kiss the Cup?

Every year around this time I find myself doing something that does not come naturally: watching professional hockey. The NHL regular season is just about the most boring thing in professional sports; conversely, the NHL playoffs are just about the most exciting thing in professional sports.

What's cool about this year's playoffs is that there are three former Badgers still alive. Two are relatively well-known and play for Detroit: former Waupaca softballer Brian Rafalski, and 89-year-old Chris Chelios. These guys have enjoyed long, successful careers and already have their names on the Stanley Cup.

That's why I'm pulling for Adam Burish and the Chicago Blackhawks. Burish, you may remember, is the Madison native who captained Mike Eaves' 2006 national championship team. He just seemed like one of those ultimate team guys who, while not the most talented player, did all the right things to keep the locker room together and get the win.

Several weeks ago, while I was on vacation, Burish did something that I meant to blog about but couldn't find a computer. The Blackhawks were playing Calgary in the second round, near the end of a game Burish cross-checked former Badger teammate Rene Bourque in the face. Bourque threw up his arms in a "What the hell?" manner, then chased after Burish, who broke his stick on his former teammate's face.

Hockey is hockey, but still, can you think of another situation where former college teammates have gone after each other like this?

This would be like Michael Finley slamming Devin Harris to the floor with a flagrant foul, or Jim Leonhard spearing Lee Evans' knees. Players probably aren't thinking about alma maters in the heat of the battle, but still, the Burish-Bourque thing seems somewhat unprecedented.

Here's to Burish and Chicago playing a bunch of multiple-overtime thrillers that end with his name etched on the Cup.


Matt said...

I also believe Dave Steckel (a WB native, if I'm not mistaken) also scored a game winner in the Caps-Pens series.

Albeit it is not a Badger connection, but a Wisconsin connection. I think he actually had the gall to play for the Buckeyes.

I actually find the NHL regular season much more entertaining than the NBA. Agreed that the season is too long, but still some entertainment there. Maybe it's just because I live in a market now with a team.

I do think the Stanley Cup playoffs are the best professional postseason, a cut above baseball.

Anonymous said...

You say, "The NHL regular season is just about the most boring thing in professional sports."

I can only assume you're not counting NASCAR as a sport then, right? Austy

Millie said...

I'll agree that the regular season gets a bit tedious, but I will still contend that an overtime game in the playoffs (especially a game 7) is virtually unmatched when it comes to excitement in sports.

Will said...

The NBA playoffs are pretty good as well. Not sure how many people on this board are watching those, but I have been entertained.