From Bucky Gleason, writing in today’s Buffalo News:
How long has it been since the NHL enjoyed a season like this one? The NHL hasn’t been this appealing — this right — since the early 1990s, when Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins and Wayne Gretzky was resurrecting the Kings.
It seemed the only dent in this season was the one suffered on the Cup itself after Lord Stanley’s trophy was dropped last week in Chris Chelios’ restaurant in downtown
. No problem. It was smoothed out and sent on its merry way. It’s how the season played out, a series of minor bumps and immediate repair. Detroit
Here are five reasons you should have enjoyed the NHL in 2007-08:
• The right team won it all.
became the first team since the 2001-02 Red Wings to win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup. If it happened every year, it would become tiresome. But every now and again, it’s nice to see the best team in the league confirm as much in the playoffs. The Red Wings for years have had the best organization. Their players earned the Cup in the end. Detroit
• Sid the Kid. The NHL couldn’t have asked for much more than Sidney Crosby and the Penguins reaching the finals.
Crosby is the face of the new NHL, and he was brilliant in the postseason while showcasing the league. The Pens play an exciting up-tempo style that the NHL has been trying to push since rewriting the rule book following the lockout. Sid sells the game to kids.
And there are three more reasons in the linked article, all good. I can’t vouch for the regular season, being as how P-Ville is the very definition of “hockey wasteland.” I think I saw six games…at the very most… until the playoffs began. And, not to be redundant or anything, the 2008 playoffs were literally the best I’ve seen in years. That’s not only because The Beloved Wings won it all this year (which was THE icing on the cake, Gentle Reader), but because of the very high quality of the games… from the first round knock-down, drag out battles between Calgary and San Jose, Anaheim and Dallas, and the Habs – Bruins… all the way to the Final. And it only got better. And better yet, as we moved through the second and third rounds on our way to what was acknowledged by all the hockey pundits as the very best Final in years.
Yep… 2007 – 2008 was a banner year for hockey; let's hope the sport picked up a few new fans. The NHL deserves that, at the very least, after this brilliant season. Let’s also hope next year is just as good, and there’s simply no reason to think it won’t be…