It seems as if the Stanley Cup is a sacred piece of silver that gets carried around the ice once a year by the National Hockey League winning team.
The cup is 120 years old this season, having been first awarded in 1893 by someone named Lord Stanley. The passions of the players and their fans seem to be almost off the cliff.
I almost feel compelled to pay attention to the Stanley Cup final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
I’ve tried. But I’ve got to tell you that I can’t stand watching hockey. There is so much more about the game to dislike than there is to like.
Let’s get the stuff I like out of the way first. I like guys who can skate fast both forward and backward. I like good looking hockey cheerleaders. And that’s about it.
The first thing I don’t like about hockey is that you can’t see a score. Even with all the advances in the world of television, I still can’t see it when the puck goes into a goal. If it weren’t for a light and players skating around with their sticks in the air, I’d never know a goal was scored.
Many years ago I covered an NCAA hockey tournament. I saw six games in two days. There was a total of 26 goals scored. I actually saw only one of them, and that was because there was no goalie in the game at the time.
The object of the game, of course, is to score goals. I think it’s awful when fans can’t see the scoring plays. It’s almost like you get cheated.
The second thing I don’t like about hockey is the unbridled violence. Oh, hockey people can talk all they want about how they are trying to control violence in the game. But you could be fooling me.
I watched the game Saturday night. A Chicago player named Jonathan Toews had the puck on the right side of the ice and headed to the middle in front of the goal, obviously working to get a shot.
Along comes Johnny Boychuk, forearm raised, and he absolutely levels Toews. It was an unbelievably murderous play. (Look at YouTube and you’ll find dozens of these memorable hits by Boychuk).
No penalty was called. No suspension was leveled. Listen to the hit in French and you can hear the incredible level of excitement in the voices of the announcers (starting at the 31 second mark in the clip below).
To think that you have a sport where this kind of thing is not only legal but admired and applauded reminds me of another scourge on the landscape of sports.
Mixed Martial Arts is unbridled brutality with men in short shorts. Hockey is the same thing, only faster and with much more padding.
There’s an old joke that goes: "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."
I’ve never thought that joke was particularly funny. But I do think it has the ring of truth. Not only should Boychuk be suspended, I’d suggest that if hockey really wants to gain broader acceptance, players like that should be kept off the ice.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.