Watching The Hockey

Last night was game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.  Pittsburgh held a 3-2 lead in the series, so with the season possibly about to be over, I decided to tune in.  I’ve always wanted to get into hockey, but never really got around to it, so I figured watching a finals game would be the perfect way to start.  Before last night I had never watched a full NHL game.  I’ve watched some college games in person, but other than that, nothing.  Instead of just writing about the game from memory, I decided to take notes on the game as it happened and then work off of those.  To make it easier, I also broke it down by period, too.  And a quick disclaimer, I do not know much about hockey.  My only knowledge comes from playing the 2002 edition of Backyard Hockey and a bit of NHL 14.  You know now that I think of it, maybe I am expert.  Anyways, let’s not waste any more time and begin!NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

 

Pregame: So I turn over to NBC at 8 o’clock sharp and at this point, I’m pretty excited.  They show the huge crowds outside the arena and throughout the streets of Nashville.  I never expected such big crowds for this game.  At first I just assumed the power was out in the city, but then I saw all the Nashville jerseys and I realized that they meant to be out there.  Crazy kids.  Two men came out onto a stage outside the arena.  The one guy doesn’t matter, because I was focused on the fact that Dierks Bentley was the other guy. Has Dierks Bentley even been to a hockey game before?  What’s he doing there?  And that also got me thinking; Nashville is known for their Country Music.  But does Country and Hockey really mix?  I would find out the answer to that question by the end of the night.

Nashville seemed to really want it.  I haven’t seen a fan base this passionate in a long time.  They were literally smashing a Penguins-themed car…Now that’s passion.  Makes me wish I lived in a hockey town.  Is Nashville a hockey town?  I doubt it, but you get the point that it would be a lot of fun.  After seeing this, I thought that It’d be a shame if Nashville lost.  Their fans would be more devastated than an Atlanta Falcons fan.bigphotofornashville

Oh, there’s a commercial.  My dad’s flipping through channels.  The Simpsons and Tigers vs. Red Sox is on.  Any other night I would watch that.  But last night was special.  Okay so I watched the baseball game during commercials.  What else am I supposed to do?  

The game came back on.  Time for festivities.  They showed Sidney Crosby, man what a horrible playoff beard.  Looks like pubes.  I bet he wishes he could shave that off.   Also he’s the only player I’ve heard of in this game, and one of the only players I’ve heard of in the league.  On the subject of this Penguins team, I take it they’ve won before.  The way everyone’s acting, including the Penguins themselves, make me feel like they have.  Upon further research, it seems they’ve won four before coming into last night.  Including last year, so they’re going for that back-to-back title.  That sounded like a decent amount, but turns out the Canadiens have won it 24 times…Looks like I found the Yankees of the league.  

So Nashville is the last seed in this playoffs?  That’s awesome.  Plus they’re making their first finals appearance?  Man, I should’ve been watching this series from the beginning. Matter of fact, I should’ve been watching since the beginning of the playoffs.  That sounds like a lot of fun, unlike the NBA.  This NHL playoff actually sounds exciting and unpredictable, instead of the NBA’s where everyone knew who was going to be in the finals since before preseason began.  I should really watch the NHL.

Faith Hill emerged to perform the National Anthem.  Her hair looked amazing and she killed it.  I was trying to remember who she’s married to, but then he came out anyways. Hi Tim McGraw.  After the National Anthem, my dad made a pun, saying he had “Faith” she would do well.  Classic.faith-hill-predators-national-anthem

Period 1: Wow that game started off fast.  I don’t get how anyone can follow this game. And there’s so many substitutes.  How do people know who’s out there or where their favorite player is.

Would you call what they’re wearing shorts?  I think I would.

I know a Colin Wilson. That’s neat.

Someone threw a catfish onto the ice.  What was up with that?  And then the announcers said that this type of stuff has happened with other teams and with different animals? What kind of league is this?

Cody McLeod sounds familiar.  Where would I know him from?

I also forgot until about halfway through the first period that the United States was playing Mexico in soccer.  Boy yesterday was a big day in sports.  Stanley Cup game 6, U.S. vs. Mexico, Max Scherzer got his 2,000 strikeout, and Aaron Judge hit a 496 ft. home run.

Those hockey jerseys look comfy.  I should get me one of those.  I wonder how much they cost…I just searched them up, kind of expensive.  Eh, maybe someday.

I feel like I didn’t see Sidney Crosby all period.  Or maybe I did.  I don’t know, I can hardly tell who or what I’m watching.

Pittsburgh had that 2 on 1 and that guy missed that pass.  They probably would’ve scored if he caught that pass.  But he mucked it.  And then Nashville had a breakaway and their guy mucked it.  He probably felt bad for the Penguins player who missed the pass and wanted to make him feel better.  What a nice guy.  And god damn, I don’t get how these goalies block some of these shots or even see the shots for that matter.  The puck is coming at them so fast and the puck is so small, plus they have that mask with hardly any peripherals.  It’s honestly incredible that they can block shots.  Some of the shots practically just disappear.  I feel like the goalie just puts his glove up and hopes for the best.

I feel like if you’re a hockey player, you have to have long hair.  Example A, one of the only other players I know, Jaromir Jagr.  Also I’ve never seen so much red hair in one game before.  Or in one place for that matter.jagrmullet

There’s just so much going on.  And so many broken and lost sticks.  Does that happen a lot or is this game an anomaly?  Also I wonder if it’s illegal to purposefully break someone else’s stick.  I would imagine that it is.  That only makes sense.  On the same sort of subject, I don’t get how some of these hits are legal.  They look absolutely painful.  I’m surprised some of these guys are still alive.  Or at least don’t all have permanent brain damage.  I wonder what the average number of concussions is per game.

Why do some guys try those long-range slapshot.  How often do those even go in?  Or is it to send a message I wonder.

The Nashville goalie’s mask is dope.giphy

 

Period 2: Jeez only a minute in and they already got a shot on goal and then managed to knock it in.  Turns out it didn’t count though because the ref blew the whistle.  That’s bull, play shouldn’t have stopped and that should’ve been a goal.  What bullshit.  If the ref was in a better place, then maybe they would’ve gotten the call right.  He was more out of place than me at a Luke Bryan Concert.  Nashville had another chance a bit later on, but mucked the pass again.  Shame.  

Was that the first guy in the penalty box?  I think it was.  Clean game, I guess.  I wonder if those NHL workers in the box talk to the players.  If they do, I wonder what they talk about.  Dinner plans?  Hobbies?

Who’s the Steph Curry of the NHL?

These defenders have been insane all game.  Very tenacious.

Do the announcers work as auctioneers in the offseason?  If not, it’s a waste of their voice.

I bet team dentists make a fortune.

This game is absolute madness.  I can’t follow a damn thing.  And I think that one Pittsburgh player just leapfrogged that Nashville player in front of the bench.  I guess that’s one way to get around a defender.

High stick was called.  At what point does a stick become high?

I would kill to have the NBA tonight crew announce this game.

That was a great save by the Pittsburgh goalie.  Or was it?  Did Nashville just muck it up again?  Who knows?  Not me that’s for sure.

This is only the Penguins’ coach second year coaching this team?  That’s pretty impressive.  I wonder what happened to their previous coach.  Research time! Apparently the coach prior to their current coach, Mike Sullivan, was a man named Mike Johnston.  Guess they like Mike.  Anyways, Johnston coached the Penguins for a little more than one season before being fired.  Not sure why he was fired.  Oh wait it says it was because the team “Underachieved” according to the GM.  Interesting.

The splits these goalies are doing are incredible.  Especially the Pittsburgh goalie.  I wish I was that flexible.

Hockey might be the perfect sport to release any pent-up anger or frustration you have. You can just channel it into decking an opponent into the ground.

When a defender blocks a shot for the goalie it reminds me of the scenes in action movies when a guy jumps in front of a bullet for his friend.

That guy just faked a shot from center ice.  I was hoping he’d pull up and shoot like Paul George. pg2

Damn that coach was calling a timeout even after it was granted to him.  Was that the Pittsburgh coach?  I think it was.

Damn you could hear that last shot hit the post.

That period was insane.

 

Period 3: Wait Cage The Elephant is here?  What?  Why?  How?  They didn’t even show them play, either.  That blows.  I was kinda looking forward to that.  

From what I am hearing Nashville should have been winning at this point.  I guess there have been a lot of missed calls.  Besides that goal call, I haven’t really seen anything, but what do I know?

It’s hot in my house and that ice looked so refreshing.

Matt Murray is not human (look at me learning a player’s name).  He had 56 consecutive saves since what was it? The third period of game four?  Holy shit.  

I wonder how much it costs to have your ad on the boards.  I would love to be rich enough where I could just buy a space and put my face there.

The name Wilson has been said so much this game I feel like I’m watching Castaway.

That was a fresh backhand spinning shot.  Too bad he missed it.  Would’ve been great to put in your career highlight reel.

How was Trevor Daley (learned another name) not dead after that play?  Last time I did the math, Head + Ice=Bad.

What is happening.

Nashville goalie with another dope save.  I wonder what his name is.  They said it at the beginning of the broadcast, but I forgot…Just searched it up, his name is Pekka Rinne.  That’s a great name.  I like him.  He’s cool.

Some of these trips look like falls.  The one Maatta’s in the box for wasn’t, but I’m just saying in general.  But then they slow it down and it looks so obvious.  This game is magical.

They showed a replay and some Nashville player was getting absolutely punished and berated by a Pittsburgh defender.  The guy just kept pushing him in the back and then knocked him into the boards.  This game is brutal.

That 5 on 3 sequence was insane.  Great defense by the Penguins.  I thought for sure the Predators were going to score.  Probably should’ve.

What even is offside?

They said that there’s 2300 names on that trophy?  How is that even possible?  And what if they run out of room?  What happens then?1200px-stanleycupavs2000-01engraved

Fuck the post.  I thought that goal was in.  That’s happened a couple of times now.

Will anyone score?

If the puck goes into the stand and a fan catches it, do they get to keep it?

There’s some beautiful moves in hockey.  Not as nice as some in the NBA, but nice nonetheless.  They’re just so smooth and elegant.  It’s like watching a ballet.

Are these teams known for their defense?  Especially the Penguins, because these teams aren’t letting anything in.

Oops, spoke too soon.  What even happened on that goal?  It just barely squeaked in.  That was a nice reverse by 72 on Pittsburgh, though.  Props to him.  There’s nothing the goalie could do about that.  That’s just a great move and bad timing.  He shouldn’t beat himself up too much about that.

I did not know there were challenges in this sport.  Not sure why.  It only makes sense. Every other sport has reviews, so why not hockey.  Goal counts anyways, so didn’t really matter.  I didn’t think it was goalie interference, either.  It looked like he was just going for the puck.  But then again I don’t know what goalie interference is, so who am I to say anything?

Pulling the goalie always seemed risky to me.  Especially now in this case because the Predators didn’t do well during their power plays.  Don’t see how another guy is gonna help them against this Pittsburgh defense.

Open net goal.  That’s game.  I knew it was a bad idea.  I would never pull my goalie.  But I don’t think I’ll be coaching a hockey team any time soon to put my philosophy into place, so what does it matter.

Pittsburgh seems like the Warriors of the NHL.

 

Postgame: That was an amazing game.  Probably one of the best game in any sport I’ve watched all year.  Definitely better than any NBA playoff game this year.  Charles Barkley was right, the NHL playoffs are more exciting.

I feel bad for the Predators.  They seemed like they really wanted it.  Not only the players, but the fans as well.  Good for the Penguins though.  Winning back-to-back Stanley Cups is quite the feat.

And was Sidney Crosby nonexistent or did I just miss him?

Also it’s quite a feat what the announcer did.  Being able to talk quickly for nearly two hours straight and to also be able to follow what players are on the ice and what was happening when.  I know I could never do something like that, so props to them.

I don’t understand why more Americans don’t like this sport.  It seems like something Americans would really love.  It’s right up their alley.  It’s got action, suspense, and fighting.  What American doesn’t love some good haymakers?century-miracle-ice

 

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10.  Definitely would watch again and look forward to watching more games next season.  I will also be looking into a team to follow next season to help me get into the sport.  I’m not going to bandwagon any team.  I want to pick a team I love and can relate to.  Research is going to be done to find what team is right for me, but I am confident I will find a team I can love.

Oh, and to answer my question earlier…Yes.  Country and Hockey do mix.

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