Saturday, May 29, 2010

Who should I root for in the Stanley Cup Finals?

I admit I am a casual hockey fan. When I was a single man, I followed hockey much more closely, but I adhere to the theory that when you become a married man with kids you have to make a choice:

1. Follow every sport casually.
2. Follow one sport REALLY closely and check in on the other ones from time to time.

Obviously not only did I pick #2 but I also picked baseball as my sport of choice.

Now I am a San Jose Sharks fan since they were formed I 1991 and drafted Pat Faloon to be the first star of the team. And I’ve cheered for Irbe, Sellane, Ricci, Damphoose and now Marleau, Nabakov and Thornton. I am by no means as crazy as some of my Shark fan friends, like the great comics Kurtis Matthews and Karen Smyth, but I do want them to win the cup.

When it comes to hockey, I am like Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction was to hamburgers. He didn’t have them that often but he does love a good burger.

And I do love a good hockey game.

So today the Stanley Cup Finals begin. My dream match up of a Sharks/Bruins final didn’t come true… and we are stuck with the Blackhawks and the Flyers.

Who should I root for? I have no emotion or loyalty to either team nor really to either city. I like Chicago and I like Philadelphia. I know a lot of people from both cities and I have performed in both cities.

Now I could cop out and say “I just want a 7 game series and each game to go into overtime.” Which is true… I do want that. But what if Game 7 goes into OT? By definition I would have my wish and would want one team to win.

I need to figure this out and I need to do so before the puck drops. And as usual, I will figure it out by writing lists.

5 Reasons to Root for the Blackhawks

1. They are an Original Six team and having the more traditional teams win is good for the game. Plus they get to show black and white clips of old Blackhawk teams and dust off Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita

2. The Blackhawks have the current longest Stanley Cup drought at 49 years. Their fans have suffered enough.

3. They've got a bunch of young stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook who are all solid. Good young players are good for the league.

4. Neither the Cubs nor the White Sox look like they are going to win anything this year... and Chicago needs a nice title to start the decade off right.

5. The Blackhawks have been the forgotten team in Chicago. Even Cameron Frye didn't wear a Blackhawks jersey in Ferris Beuller's Day Off. It would be cool to see them as the #1 team in the Second City.

5 Reasons to root against the Blackhawks

1. Enough with the Original Six snobbery. I root for an expansion team that plays in California. All the teams get their players from the same pool of Fins, Russians, Czechs, Canadians and dudes from New England and Minnesota.

2. If the Blackhawks win, man it will make the Cubs 102 year drought even lonelier. Then the next longest title drought would be the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears... which wasn't THAT long ago! Cubs fans have gone through enough.

3. Young whipper snappers win the Cup while veterans like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have to twiddle their thumbs and wait for another year? Sick.

4. Yeah, Chicago fans will be happy... for about an hour. Don't you think most Chicago fans would trade a Blackhawks Stanley Cup for 2 Bears regular season wins against Brett Favre?

5. Is it Black Hawks or Blackhawks? Make up your mind!

5 Reasons to root for the Flyers

1. They are the underdog! A #7 seed makes it all the way to the Finals? Who can't love a Cinderella story?

2. After blowing the 3-0 lead to the Flyers, it might sit better with my Bruin fan friends to see the Flyers win the Cup. That way they can say "Hey, we lost to a team of destiny!"

3. It's good to see Philadelphia become a city of titles after so many years of futility.

4. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was a career minor league who only played a handful of games in the NHL. He took over the team mid season and got them to the Cup Final. A lifelong hockey man like that deserves his name on the Cup!

5. Veteran Ian Laperriere is a 16 year veteran making his first Stanley Cup Finals appearance. He too has earned it.

5 Reasons to root against the Flyers

1. Yeah, they are the Cinderella Story, but the Canadiens did most of the heavy lifting for them! It was the Habs, not the Flyers, who knocked off mighty Washington and Pittsburgh.

2. I know a lot of Bruins fans and I have a feeling they don't want to hear Flyer taunts all off season backed up with knowing those fans got a Cup winner out of it.

3. A Flyers win will basically confirm the regular season is totally meaningless... and the NHL doesn't need more reasons to lose viewers.

4. Did the Flyers push the Phantoms out of town? Sure looks like it to me!

5. Matthew Clemmens, the Philles fan who threw up on that girl, is probably a Flyers fan. He doesn't deserve happiness.

It's a tough call... but the tipping factor is personal loyalty.

George Roy, the director of Curse of the Bambino among others, recently made the wonderful documentary Broad Street Bullies about the 1974 and 1975 Philadelphia Flyers.

A Flyers Cup Title would undoubtedly peak interest in the film and make it a stocking stuffer this Christmas season.

So... I am officially going to be rooting for The Philadelphia Flyers in that Game 7 Overtime.

Sorry Bruins fans.

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