LCS: Guide to Hockey

Rantings and ravings

by Howard Fienberg, Correspondent
Issue 121, May 19, 1999

If the Detroit Red Wings get whacked Tuesday night in Game Six, I will weep hot tears of joy and spin cartwheels across busy intersections. I heartily believe you cannot buy the Stanley Cup. I also believe that Bob Marley is alive and well, orchestrating a worldwide conspiracy to keep the price of oil too high from deep within a secret compound in the Chihuahua province of Mexico.

The Rangers bought the Cup in 1994, and Steely Dan has tried it this year. With pepperoni and sausage a-blazing, Detroit acquired Ulfie, Chelly, Billy, Clark Bar and Sleepy. Sleepy has not helped much, but the others have done wonders for a team that has played dispassionate and dull hockey all season. They turned Detroit all gritty and tough.

But the passion still is not there. If Detroit cannot get fired up for a series with the dreaded falling rocks than there is no reason for them to hang around any longer. If they can just kick-start their interest level, they might be able to hang on until at least the next round.

And let us remember that the Blueshirts did not march to the Cup without working their tails to the limit, and grinding through two seven game series with El Diablo and El Stinko Canucko.

Speaking of those Canucks, we must serve notice to Pat Quinn and Roger Neilson: If you have a complaint, take it to the owners. They’re the scum that control the league and have it within their power to change the rules and officiating. Ranting to the press only makes the league, the sport, you, and your team look stupid. So sit down and shut up. Save it for your next management internal meeting and maybe you will actually facilitate some positive change. The press is a tool to be used to keep your team for tanking, to taunt the opposition ... to cheer yourself up with a good Doonesbury comic strip.

And it should be noted that a few weird ref calls did not stop the Leafs from wiping away the last of Pittsburgh hockey.


Well, the best I can say is “The Pens are Dead, Long Live the Leafs.” My two favorite teams went in, only one came out. The hockey world mourns. And the final game was smashing. It was just unfortunate that minor-leaguer Gary Valk had to end the party in overtime. I did not bat an eyelash when Craig Patrick cast him overboard last year because he is a goof. And goofs belong in the circus or Disney on Ice, not the NHL, and certainly not the talented, excruciatingly painful Pittsburgh Penguins. Let it be said, if not for Curtis Joseph, there would have been a Game Seven for the ages – because the Penguins were opening up the gates of hell and letting loose on the Leafs with every Satanic tool in their arsenal in the first period. But then the second period came along...

I am finally starting to worry. Without playoff games in Pittsburgh to distract me, I am now forced to face the crushing realities of sporting life. The franchise is about as clean and tidy as the home of a dung beetle who has given up his profession and really let himself go. Despair and bad credit are stalking the land like ... two big stalky things. God help me, and thank you for letting me see my Penguins play their most exciting and frustrating season as a parting gift.

So long birdies, we’re gonna miss ya! And no, Jagr, I will not cheer for you in Ranger blue.

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