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You Thought Dallas Was Hot?
by Howard Fienberg, Correspondent
Even the usual pundits are having trouble getting worked up over this Stanley Cup Final. The series has about as much sizzle as a Rob Reiner film and is four to seven times as long.
Reunion at the Arena
Think of the great reunions of former teammates and enemies in this series. Brian Skrudland and Stu Barnes were lock-stock-and-barrel for the Panthers three years ago in the Stanley Cup Finals. Derek Plante and his old Buff buddies will have a chance to get reacquainted. The best we can do here is Hasek - Belfour. Yeah, they're both good. Yeah, they're both wacky characters. And they both got smoked by the Penguins in their last trip to the Finals in 1992. But neither one's name translates from French as "king" so why should I care?
On paper, we have a bad mismatch. Buffalo looks likely to be thrashed like a heretic at the Spanish Inquisition. However, life is not decided on paper. If it was, we could all rewrite our own life narratives, polish the spelling and grammar. And I might achieve greatness just for writing for LCS.
Don't get me wrong though. Dallas will win. Precisely because I wish they wouldn't. Though what I really want is the Cup Finals cancelled - aside from Dallas and Buffalo, who else would notice?
The Heat in Big D
The ice is slush. I have addressed this problem before, as a prime culprit in most modern-day hockey injuries. And much modern-day on-ice boredom. And what does ESPN recommend? Something highly intelligent, as usual.
Change the puck, they say. Modernize it. There's nothing wrong with the ice, it is that silly rubber puck. We need to figure out a way to fix the puck.
Thanks ESPN. Like maybe we should stick some circuitry in it so that every time it is shot at over 60 miles per hour it shoots into the stands and kills a play-by-play analyst with a clever red streak.
And why is the ice slush? Well, the temperature does come to mind, eh? I grew up used to school closing announcements dominating the local news - in the winter. Last week was the first time I had ever experienced them in the summer. Seems that schools in DC aren't air conditioned too well, and we are afraid our kids might pass out. Send 'em over to my place, we'll straighten that right out. I can fry french toast on my breakfast table and do the bacon on the kitchen counter.
But back to hockey. It is too late in the year to be up for this game. Granted, if I cared a rat's ass about the two teams playing now, I would be thinking differently. But let's face it, when you are impinging on the World Cup of Cricket and the middle of baseball season, something is wrong. Summer is for rec league hockey.
Since we cannot simply cut the absolute number of games played (that would decrease team's revenue, and God forbid that should happen), I have decided we should eliminate half the league. Top of the list to go: Islanders, Penguins, and Lightning. Then we could draw straws among the American franchises to see who stays. The players get divvied up in an intra-league draft, the rest are relegated to oblivion. This would cut the number of games played every year in half, and make the season end much sooner. Plus it might actually make the NHL consistently entertaining. And when was the last time we could say that?
A couple years of writing columns for LCS, and when do I get mail? When I write my weakest, most half-assed attempt. "Ranting and Ravings" - abridged from "Ranting and ravings of a lunatic from Planet 10" - brought me a total of 15 vicious emails. That doesn't even count the running gun battles I had with a few people. Seems the only time people actually read this rag is if you insult them or their team. Well I want everyone to know that I will never stoop that low again. Until my next dry spell. Or I need some quick cash. Or next week.
All comments and complaints should be sent via my mother. She should not have cut off my allowance the way she did.
Saying Goodbye to LCS
As this appears to be the next to last issue of LCS, I guess I will have to go out and get a life now. I've been reading since the spring of 1996, writing since the fall of 1997, and drinking myself to pickleness since 4am this morning. But while the alcohol will still be there in the morning, LCS will not. So I bid everyone adieu, and thanks for watching...