Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday morning homily V

Now that the puck has dropped on the 2008-09 NHL season, bringing a collective and contented smile to hockey fans from Florida to Finland, please allow me to share my three wishes for the days ahead:

~ Here's to hoping that every player, from your favorite team's stars to the career minor-leaguer enjoying his cup of NHL coffee, stays healthy and remember that our favorite sport is still a game. Sure, hockey is a rough-and-tumble sport, and injuries are part of the process. While bumps and bruises are expected on the ice, I certainly wouldn't mind a season free from serious injuries.

~ That civility reigns supreme in the stands and outside visiting team hotels. From the loudmouth woman in Section 126 at the St. Pete Times Forum who shrieks at each and every opportunity (yes, Alicia, I'm talking about you) to the overzealous dealers who mob every player, regardless of their stature or experience, the lack of manners being shown by these folks only reinforces the mistaken belief that you won't be held accountable for your actions.

~ As Colin takes the first few strides in his fledgling recreational hockey career, that each game we attend provides a valuable teaching moment on the right way to play the game. Though hard hits and fisticuffs are a part of hockey's fabric, so are end-to-end rushes, tape-to-tape passes and mind-boggling glove saves. In our house, skill defines the game.

Same old, same old

As much as a year can make a difference, it's certainly disappointing that so little has changed within the play of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Having had the "pleasure" of watching the Bolts' home opener last night, in which the Lightning gave up four unanswered goals, including the game-winner in overtime, I grew increasingly frustrated as the Lightning, rather than playing to win, stumbled through the third period as though they'd be happy with a tie.

I'm sorry, but from where I sit, if you don't play to win, you lose. And if the Lightning keeps playing as poorly as they did last night, it's going to be another long, and woeful, season.

5 Big Sigs

With both the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild coming to town this week, it'll be easier to spread the wealth, so to speak:

~ Islanders rookie Kyle Okposo on an Isles' puck;
~ Islanders forward Doug Weight on Isles, Hurricanes and Blues pucks;
~ Minnesota's Marian Gaborik on a Wild puck;
~ Minnesota's Nicklas Backstrom on a Wild puck; and
~ Minnesota's Brent Burns on a Wild puck.

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