Win or Lose It’s All About Passion
March 24, 2009 by Big Tony
One of the greatest things about sports generally is the passion every person associated with any sporting event brings to the table. Whether it’s the fans, players, front office, media, etc. there is something intangible about the passion brought out in people via sports. That being said, that passion is one thing that has made this NHL season one of the best I have ever seen. A lot of that has to be contributed to the tight playoff races in both conferences. It seems like every game is of the utmost importance toward determining who will be where at night’s end as every point makes a WORLD of difference. But going beyond the teams vying for playoff spots there are a number of teams who have been virtually eliminated for quite some time but are still putting up an incredible fight night in and night out. For example, the New York Islanders have been out of having a legitimate shot at a playoff spot for quite some time. The Isles have traded some of their better players away (namely Bill Guerin) and have played most all of the season without their star goaltender Rick DiPietro. They have every reason in the world to pack it in, simply show up every night to take their spanking then move on. Instead the Isles are playing some of their best hockey right now which includes wins against teams in the playoff race including a 7-3 trouncing of the New Jersey Devils. This is great not only for the fans in attendance but for the future of the Islanders on Long Island. They are continuing to fight for a new arena with city officials and that has put their future in doubt; but by winning they are showing their frustrated but passionate fans that there can be brighter days and that the team is worth fighting for.
In a similar manner the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers in the east along with the Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes in the west are competing hard every single night. Those teams aren’t all playing their best hockey right now but they are giving it their all every night and a few have stolen more than a couple games from teams who are very much in the thick of things. To see these teams work so hard is very reassuring. To know that teams who are not Stanley Cup playoffs bound still battle hard along the boards, get into scuffles to protect star players and goalies, and they still get so frustrated when the take penalties. There is still incredible joy when they score goals and win games along with equally intense feelings when they do the opposite. To see guys still playing hard for each other and their fans and to see the fans still getting just as into some of the games now as when the playoffs were still a possibility is so reassuring. There’s something special about moments like those and it only makes me enjoy each game that much more.