Tuesday, May 01, 2007

YouTubesday: Stanley Cup Playoff Time

Judging by the lack of posting that is going on here you might be under the impression that we're on hiatus again, and you would not be far from wrong. My excuses this time range from still dealing with getting settled in the new casa to being seduced by the siren's song of Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors plus it is Stanley Cup Playoff time and this year; this year I have cable.

Now to help you cretins get in the proper head-space for the Stanley Cup Playoffs I offer this week's installment of YouTubesday, an octet of videos from or about the playoffs.

Lets get things started with the final game of the regular season for the New York Islanders. Playing at New Jersey they had to win the final game to make it into the playoffs. With the game tied at 2 all after regulation and the overtime period, it went to the shoot-out:

That was an awesome poke-check from Wade Dubielewicz and the most dramatic entry in to the Stanley Cup Playoffs I have seen in some time. Of course it does not really matter since the Islanders were put out of the playoffs in five games by the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are a popular pick to go all the way this year after winning the President's Trophy for the most wins during the regular season; quite the change from having declared bankruptcy less than a decade ago. Here is the 2007 playoff intro video for the Sabres:

This is perhaps one of the best intro videos I have ever seen. It sure beats the pants off of the Aeros intro videos from the last five seasons or so. The song is from the Goo Goo Dolls who are Buffalo natives. Now are you ready for the playoffs?

I know I am.

Now all of this brings me back to the first year I watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This was back in the days when the divisions were Adams, Patrick, Smythe, and Norris and the conferences were the Prince of Wales, more commonly called the Wales Conference, and the Clarence Campbell, or just Campbell, Conference. The year was 1993 and the defending champion Pittsburg Penguins were coming off a dominating performance during the regular season. At the time I knew pretty much nothing about hockey but since a friend had given me a Canadiens puck (which I still have floating around) I was rooting for the Montreal Canadiens. Here is a six minute video summing up their performance in the playoffs:

In a word? Awesome. Every game they played was beautiful and they, more than anything else, cemented my love of the game.

As much as I love the Montreal Canadiens, and wish they would get better, for me the most emotional cup win since I have been watching hockey was the Colorado Avalanche win in 2001. The Devils, another one of my favorite teams and the defending champs, stretched the finals to a seven game series. In sports there is nothing better than a game seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, particularly when you know that one of the greatest guys to ever play the game has a chance to win his first Cup after a 22-season career, 21 of them with the same team. Of course I am talking about the legendary Ray Bourque. Here is a four-minute video of the highlights from game seven of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals played in Colorado:

To this day I still tear up when I see Ray Bourque lift the cup. He is the sort of athlete that we rarely see any more in this age of whiney superstars; a real class-act who showed us fans the meaning of sportsmanship and endurance.

Enough of this emotional stuff, lets find the funny in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

While not strictly Stanley Cup Playoff related, the next two commercials from Nike crack me up every time I see them.

"You got a sakate sharpener I can borrow there?" Comedy gold.

This one is only relevant because Rod Brind'Amor won the Cup last year with the Carolina Hurricanes. (You can see the full version of the commercial here.) Of course these are not the best commercials I have seen, but since I could nto find any of the ESPN National Hockey Night commercials, which are classics that I would pay money for if I could get them on DVD, we will have to do with these.

For the final Stanley Cup Playoffs video I would like to offer the following:

If anyone can figure out why I put this here, please let the rest of the class know by leaving a comment.

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