Believe… before you achieve
Mikael Granlund, a 19 year old hockey player from Finland drafted 9th overall last year by the Minnesota Wild, just scored what may well be the play of the year on Friday the 13th of May, 2011!
On the IIHF World Championship semi-final stage against the Russians, at full speed stealing the puck in the corner, then walking around a player, then having that player chase him behind the net, Mikael scoops up the puck and puts it up and under the crossbar. He scored “lacrosse style”, as some like to say, to give Finland a 1-0 lead. But never mind my description. Have a look for yourself because words don’t do this goal justice!
I still have Olympics fever and I just had a thought today on the hockey seen there, but also at international events like the IHHF World Championships.
In the NHL, you see a lot of fights in the games. It’s part of the game, although it’s so much a part of the game it’s routine now. People just fight because without it, somehow a lot of the fans feel it wasn’t that exciting a game. Thing is they don’t even have a good reason to fight any more. They just do for entertainment.
In the heated rivalry of international hockey (above juniors), it’s quite the opposite. So much is at stake and the teams are so good no team wants to put itself down a player for the sake of getting an instigator penalty. But given the electric atmosphere and fierce rivalries among countries with so much national and some personal pride on the line, when is a better time to fight for something? What more reason do you need to lay a couple of knuckles on someone? That’s when they should have some fights!
Imagine what a little brouhaha would have done towards the end of that Canada-Russia quarter-finals game of the Olympics. With a big lead and the Russians frustrated, we Canadians could have incited a Russian player into a fight. They had nothing to lose, and neither did we, frankly, given that score towards the end of the game. I’m sure one of them would have loved to have taken out their frustration if given the chance. We could have settled a score with Volchenkov for a dirty hit, the American way in a fight, instead of the Canadian way in Getzlaf putting a clean cruncher on Volchenkov.
What do you think the crowd reaction would have been if someone like Pronger or Getzlaf dropped the gloves with Volchenkov? Or if Crosby just got it on with Ovechkin, as they’ve been tempted to before?
The crowd would have gone nutsier than they already were!
Or if the Russians had played the Americans, they could have gotten in a fight and thrown one for Plushenko. Hahaha!
Now, in a close game that often happens like with the Americans in the finals, fighting wouldn’t be wise. But if two guys could just agree to fight, honestly and without an instigator, we could have fights where no one would be disadvantaged on player numbers. Which player to choose would be another matter, but let’s leave that aside. Forget the instigator penalty if they drop the gloves quickly enough within the first one doing it. It’s not like you’re going to have a goon show with that slight time window to negate the instigator penalty. Let the players work it out themselves to fight cause they’ve got something to get off their chests, so it’s not fake. Then have some fun, entertain the crowd and take out some frustrations all at the same time.
How electrifying would have have been to have seen a US player fight a Canadian player in the Olympics finals?
That goes just as much for the women! 😉
p.s. You don’t need to stock your teams with goons for this. Lots of skilled guys can also fight, and even the ones that don’t, to see them out of character in fighting would be fun! What if Sidney had taken out his frustrations of not scoring and gotten in a fight, only to lose it and respond on the scoreboard with that goal in OT? Wouldn’t that have made a better story than the legendary one he had already created?
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3