Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Crosby Classic in the Clutch

With the amount of hype and media coverage that converged on this "classic" style game, the top goal for this would have to be delivering to the new fans in high hopes that it revives the TV ratings. The NHL needs to make a comeback. So, the league decided that it should get back to it's roots and sell itself as "old school".

I watched the game from the comforts of the Rivertowne Pub & Grille disappointed that I could not be in Buffalo to make the trip in person. I wouldn't know my way around on my own anyway. I was also wearing my own throwback jersey a #87 Crosby jersey circa 1991. At first, I didn't like the idea of the Penguins going that far back to their powder blue days. Pittsburgh is always black and gold to me. But as the game started, I found myself liking the powder blue Penguins jerseys and put them on a mental note to try and get one of those for my collection someday soon. The Sabres were no big surprise, as I have seen those in action when I was a little kid. With both teams blue, could have the Penguins settle for black and gold to provide a contrast?

Now on to the game and it's presentation on NBC. Finally, a major network presents the game how it should be done. I am going to credit NBC for sticking with a real game plan of highlighting players and introducing them to the audience. They also did a great job covering the weather and explaining why the snow was affecting the game play, how the players had to adjust, and saluted the ground crew for their yeoman-like work.

This is how hockey should be presented from now on! The WWE-styled pyrotechnics as the teams came onto the ice gave it a context that these teams were going to battle. Then we were treated to another moving rendition of O' Canada, proving once again that they have the better national anthem. Then in a plot-twist, the singer performing the American pre-game salute chose to spotlight his monologue instead of getting right to the anthem. Leftist secularists everywhere I predicted, at that moment, threw a collective hissy-fit at the mention of "God Bless America".

In the first minute, the game showed hopes of a high scoring affair as the Penguins were quick to score first. Crosby assisted on the first goal as I am sure he was feeling a little more pressure to shine when he knows a whole continent is watching him. New fans expect to be wowed by plenty of goals, but this game provided eye candy to the hardcore hockey fan as a well defenced game provided chances for goalies Ryan Miller and Ty Conklin to shine. Who better to have in the net

The game went into overtime and I went to the edge of my seat. The Penguins could ill-afford a loss and a win shoves a little more confidence in their direction. I could just sense that if Conklin could come up big, the Penguins shootout specialists would come through in the clutch. Christiansen, who is usually golden, misfired in the first round. Letang, who I was very supportive of in training camp, got another goal leading to Crosby's drama. When Crosby found an opening and sealed the win, I was elated that the one kid that had been hyped the whole game was able to prove just how good he was. On a similar note, Ryan Miller proved in this game why he is on the rise to becoming a premier elite goaltender in the upcoming generation of players.

I recently bought the Penguins 10 greatest games DVD box set and now I wish they waited another year so that this would be added into the legacy of the Penguins franchise. It has to be one of the best games I will always remember watching.

Lets do this every year! But maybe they should just make it an exhibition when too much rides on winning and losing points. Would an All-Star game work in this outdoor format? Some of the things they could have done better for a next time: Dump Costas- he loves himself too much. Reschedule event when nothing else is going on to steal media attention away.
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