Monday, May 05, 2008

Compelling drama = NHL playoffs

The NHL strike and its serial mismanagement over the last 15-20 years is tragic. The Monk remembers when he was small and radios on street corners everywhere in New York tuned in to the Islanders-Rangers playoffs in 1979 and 1981-84. The NHL's fall, which is a tragedy separate from the horrendous mismanagement of the Isles from 1994-present, came from overexpansion, failure to enhance the TV telecast experience, and meteoric salary increases.

But the NHL still has the single most dramatic product of all major sports -- its playoffs. And especially, overtime playoff games.

Indeed The Monk was riveted to his sofa for the last two periods AND the first three OTs of the Stars-Sharks game last night, and ruefully pulled himself away from the game because he needed sleep and a sick Monkling threatened the availability thereof. Back in my college days, I'd have continued watching deep into the night -- my jaw dropped so hard I pulled facial muscles when Evgeny Nabokov made a glove save against Brad Richards in the first OT by spinning and flinging his arm out to stop a shot destined for a wide-open net.

Too bad, the NHL did so much to shoot itself in the collective foot. It still has a fine product come playoff time.

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